Sustainable Homes for Modern Living

Our Approach: Sustainable, Creative, Flexible and Functional

Passive Solar Design

Our homes work with your climate, not against it.

Our award winning sustainable designs adopt passive solar principals which take advantage of the climate to maintain a comfortable temperature range in the home year round. Each home is designed and orientated to collect, store and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in winter and reject solar heat in the summer.

Passive design reduces or eliminates the need to add expensive additional technology onto a poorly performing home. A passive solar designed home requires little or no heating or cooling, which accounts for about 40% of energy use in the average Australian home. Our aim is to reduce each homes energy usage to zero through sound climate responsive design.

Optimal passive solar design is achieved by considering the following elements:

1. Orientation

Orientation is the positioning of a building in relation to seasonal variations in the sun’s path as well as prevailing wind patterns. Good orientation can increase the energy efficiency of your home, making it more comfortable to live in and cheaper to run. In the southern hemisphere a northern orientation is ideal where passive heating uses the sun as a source of free home heating by letting winter sun in and keeping unwanted summer sun out.

2. Shading

By using effective shading a building and its outdoor spaces we can reduce summer temperatures, improve comfort and save energy. A variety of shading techniques can help, from fixed or adjustable shades to trees and vegetation, depending on the building’s orientation as well as climate and latitude.

3. Insulation

Insulation acts as a barrier to heat flow and is essential for keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer. A well-insulated and well-designed home provides year-round comfort, cutting cooling and heating bills and therefore reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Climatic conditions influence the appropriate level and type of insulation and must be specified to cater for seasonal as well as daily variations in temperature

4. Glazing

Windows facilitate light penetration and air circulation within the home and can be positioned to capture views that connect interior living spaces with the outdoors. However, windows can be a major source of unwanted heat gain in summer and significant heat loss in winter and contribute to the need for artificial heating and cooling which effects our greenhouse gas emissions and effect on the environment. Energy efficient windows make your home more comfortable, dramatically reduce your energy costs and help to create a brighter, cleaner and healthier environment.

5. Sealing your home

Sealing your home against air leakage is one of the simplest upgrades you can undertake to increase your comfort while reducing your energy bills and carbon emissions by up to 25%.
Tight sealing and increased insulation levels, however, can also create problems with condensation and indoor air quality. Understanding how condensation works and in which climates it is more likely to occur helps you limit its impact.

Ecoliv Sustainable Building Goals

Each Ecoliv Building has been designed to achieve a minimum 7 star energy rating. Our HIA GreenSmart Accredited display home won the 2010 HIA GreenSmart National Home of the year demonstrating Ecoliv's ability to reduce impact on human health and the natural environment by achieving six environmental goals:

01. Siting and Design Efficiency

Design Efficiency

The objective of Ecoliv Buildings is to to design a minimalist contemporary aesthetic with an environmental conscience that achieves flexibility through the modular concept. The compact nature of each module minimises wasted space, resources and money. Ecoliv has been designed to incorporate 900mm building material increments which aim to reduce construction wastage. Our lightweight footing system is removable and recyclable which allows site adaptability and minimal excavation.

Siting Efficiency

Our highly qualified and experienced professionals will assess each individual site and make recommendations to harness the maximum siting potential. Ecoliv Buildings are designed around passive solar principles to take advantage of natural lighting and to reduce the reliance on artificial heating and cooling. A 900mm eave overhang, optional shade battens and double glazing minimises solar absorption. Site specific strategically placed windows allow cross ventilation and potential for natural temperature control.

02. Energy Efficiency

Solar Hot Water System

Heating Water is the single largest source of emissions in homes, equating to around 25% of energy use. A solar hot water system can provide a home with up to 90% of its hot water needs from a free and renewable energy source. Savings can be approximately $500-$700 per year on electricity bills. As much as 60% of the average hot water bill can be attributed to heat loss from pipes. To minimise this, Ecoliv Building designs group rooms that frequently use hot water as shorter water pipes minimise heat loss. The most energy efficient system will be selected for each individual project based on usage requirements.

Solar Electricity

In just 60 minutes, enough sunlight hits the earth to power us for an entire year. To harness this, a grid connect solar power system acts as a mini power station for your home, supplying power and sending surplus power back to the electricity grid. When surplus power is fed back to the grid, your energy retailer credits your account - with the potential to substantially reduce or eliminate your power bill.

Energy Efficient Light Globes

Ecoliv Buildings use low energy Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) globes which can save around $45 in energy costs over the lifespan of the globe. CFLs produce a third less greenhouse gas emissions than regular light globes.

03. Water Efficiency

Water Tank Configuration

The average Australian family uses about 1,300 litres of water around the home every day. Installation of water tanks for harvesting for domestic usage and practising water conservation measures around the home can save money and future water resources. A 10,000 litre water tank configuration is a standard inclusion for each Ecoliv Building to eliminate the need for mains water.

Water Saving Plumbing Fittings

Ecoliv Buildings incorporates 6 stars WELS rated plumbing fittings which restrict the flow of water saving about 14,500 litres of water per year. Toilets fitted to Ecoliv Buildings feature a 4 stars WELS rating and save water by offering a half flush, resulting in a saving of up to 8 litres per flush.

Water Saving Appliances

Around 10% of the average home's water usage occurs in the kitchen and much of this is attributed to use of the dishwasher. Standard Ecoliv Buildings include appliances with the maximum energy rating & WELS rating.

04. Materials Efficiency

Timber Framing and Trusses

Plantation timber from sustainable sources and recycled timber is utilised where possible. Timber is natural and renewable making it one of the most sustainable resources. Forest & Wood Products Australia research found 25 tonnes of carbon per Australian home could be saved by choosing wood where possible.

External Cladding

Ecoliv Buildings offers a range of sustainably sourced and manufactured cladding products such as Shadowclad, Weathertex, Colourbond Steel and Radial sawn timber battens. All are specified for their durability, lightweight and low maintenance qualities.


Environmentally friendly plasterboard that utilises recycled manufacturing techniques feature in Ecoliv Buildings interiors. The certified low VOC content plasterboard promotes internal air quality.

Insulation Batts

Ecoliv Buildings include high level roof, wall and floor insulation which can save up to 50% on heating and cooling costs. Our glass wool insulation batts are manufactured using recycled glass bottles and sand which are nonirritant, fully recyclable and thermally and acoustically efficient.

Double Glazed Windows

Ecoliv Buildings feature double glazed windows achieving WERS (Window Energy Rating System) of 5 stars. Our windows and sliding door systems aim to obtain the best energy rating, acoustics, reduce energy consumption and provide ultimate comfort for the home owner.


Ecoliv Buildings joinery is made to strict Australian/New Zealand quality standards using wood fibre from sustainable forests. Our range is manufactured in factories that meet environmental and social regulations and has been independently certified by Good Environmental Choice Australia.

Our range of reconstituted stone benchtops utilise reclaimed material content. The product is stain, crack, scratch and heat resistant, being the perfect choice for a sustainable maintenance free surface.

05. Indoor Evironment Quality

Low VOC Paints

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are released into the air while paint dries and are one of the causes of paint odour, which also contributes to air pollution. Ecoliv utilise the highest quality Low or no VOC outgassing paint for internal and internal surfaces.

Low VOC Timber products

Ecoliv Buildings minimise the use of plywood, MDF and particleboard due to their formaldehyde content. To reduce VOCs all manufactured timber products have a formaldehyde content of less than 1mg/litre. Ecoliv Buildings incorporates passive and active internal air circulation systems through strategically placed louvre windows to allow for cross ventilation therefore improving air quality.

06. Waste Reduction

Our green living concepts are followed through into the construction process of each Ecoliv Building. The design and layout of Ecoliv Buildings maximises the use of standard building sizes and lengths in common building materials to minimise material wastage. Prefabrication of frames and trusses reduces wastage by up to 52% and where possible any excess building materials are recycled. Our factory built Ecoliv Buildings generate less waste overall, which is important when you consider that building and renovation waste makes up to 40% of what goes into landfill. Ecoliv Buildings constructed 'on site' must also adhere to strict guidelines to minimise site waste and disturbance. The widespan joist and bearer footing system ensures minimal site impact with its lightweight and site adaptable properties. Efficient material allocation and usage result in minimal stockpiles and recycle skips collect any excess wastage. Garden beds and water tanks are installed early to reduce and divert stormwater runoff. Noise pollution is kept to a minimum via the offsite prefabrication of most components of each Ecoliv module.

The standard inclusions in Ecoliv Buildings are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout the building's life-cycle. This winning combination of passive solar design, waste reduction, systems integration and optimal operational performance will reduce energy usage by up to 40%. Composting toilets, grey and black water recycling systems and wind power systems can be adapted to any Ecoliv building for total self-sufficiency. Each design can alternatively be connected to existing services which also significantly contributes to reducing environmental impact for the long and short term.

Sustainable Design & Exceptional Value

It was previously thought that the embodied energy content of a building was insignificant compared to the energy used in operating the building over its life, but CSIRO research indicates otherwise. The average household contains about 1,000 GJ of energy embodied in the materials used in its construction – equivalent to about 15 years of normal operational energy use.

Incorporating sustainable design components has immediate and long lasting lifestyle and health benefits and can even boost the value of properties. A recent Australian study found that, on average a one star improvement in energy ratings translates to a 3% rise in market value. An agreed contract price incorporating the available options ensures there are no hidden costs or unexpected extras. Ecoliv Buildings are delivered complete as ordered, ready to either connect to existing services or be totally self-sufficient.