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Building a house? Here’s where you should go for inspo

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When you’re designing a house, inspo is king.

If you’re in the throes of it, you’ve probably got Pinterest boards galore, every interiors mag you can get your hands on, plus piles of brochures and material samples spilling across every surface.

But there’s another place you should add to your inspo quest, particularly if you’re keen on building a sustainable home. And the best news is it’s right here in Canberra.

Nestled in the growing suburb of Whitlam, you’ll find the Suburban Land Agency (SLA) Display Village and Innovation Precinct. It’s a place to go for ideas and inspiration on design and building, with a range of new homes and townhouses from some of Canberra’s leading builders to explore. But in particular, it’s the place to go to learn how to build your home in a way that is also kind to the environment.

There are over 15 homes to explore, and all of them are built to meet high sustainability standards, incorporating features like solar panels, great insulation, car charging stations, plus water and energy-efficient appliances.

Bec Kaye, Director of Sustainability and Innovation at Suburban Land Agency’, says they also worked closely with an architect to design and build four homes that take sustainability up another notch, incorporating elements like a smaller footprint, with less embodied carbon.

“We also decided to use, where we could, materials that included a recycled product, or recycled products themselves. So in some of the homes, we have some beautiful Canberra red bricks, and in another, we have zero carbon bricks, which are bricks that have no overall embodied carbon in them,” she says.

“Otherwise, we’ve used really durable materials, which you don’t have to replace over the lifetime of your home, so hopefully are less likely to end up in landfill. So we’ve taken a real holistic approach to building a beautiful, sustainable home.”

The Suburban Land Agency Display Village and Innovation Precinct

Bec says it’s a great opportunity to see how building a sustainable home doesn’t mean going without.

“The homes are sustainable, but they’re also beautiful. Hopefully, they give people that sense that you can do two things: have a sustainable home, but also, it can be a really gorgeous space for me and my family,” she says.

“And building a sustainable home is a great way to save you and your family money because if you use energy-efficient appliances, and you have solar panels on your roof, you can basically run your electricity for free during a sunny day. And if you have a battery as well, you can store that energy and use it at night. So it might cost you a little bit more money up front, but the ongoing cost to you and the family will be cheaper month by month.”

The Suburban Land Agency Display Village and Innovation Precinct.

While you’re at the Display Village, you can also get inspiration for your landscaping in the Climate Wise Garden.

“Our beautiful garden has a whole bunch of climate resilient plants, so people can have a wander through and see what species would go well in their gardens here in the Canberra climate,” Bec says.

The SLA Display Village is open Thursday to Sunday every week from 10 am until 4 pm. The Suburban Land Agency’ssales team is on hand if you’re interested in buying land—they currently have blocks for sale in Whitlam and Jacka—and you can also chat face-to-face with some of the local builders.

“The point of the SLA Display Village is to come and see some examples of beautiful architecturally designed, well-made homes and hopefully get inspired to make a more sustainable choice when you’re renovating or building your home,” Bec says.

The Display Village is also a hub for events, and most weekends there’s something special on. Coming up on Sunday 21 April is national Sustainable House Day, and the Display Village will play host to a big day of celebrations. Celebrity gardener Jamie Durie will be the special guest, leading demonstrations and panel discussions, plus there will be guided tours of the display homes, live music, food, coffee and plenty for the kids to do.

Jamie Durie.

“And Mal Hanslow, who is the head chef of Pilot and Such and Such, is going to be doing induction cooking demonstrations. Induction cooking in an all-electric home is a really sustainable way of cooking, and it’s also really safe. We know that not everyone’s cooked on an induction stove before so we thought we’d bring along Mal to show off how you can cook some really beautiful but also accessible food at home on an induction cooktop,” says Bec.

The SLA Display Village also hosts monthly events, like workshops on how to grow food, and the Cultures of Canberra series celebrating the diverse communities that make up the capital. To see what’s coming up, visit the SLA Events page.


What: Suburban Land Agency (SLA) Display Village and Innovation Precinct.
Where: Corner of Sculthorpe Ave and Klaus Moje St, Whitlam
When: Open 10 am to 4 pm, Thursday to Sunday.
Website: For more information, click here. Or to find out more about upcoming events, click here.

Feature image: Jamie Durie. Supplied.

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