Josh Byrne's Home

Design brief: Prove that resource efficient homes could be built at a comparable cost and timeframe to regular houses.

highbury homes sustainable house josh byrne kitchen

The houses are based on well-established solar passive design principles to ensure maximum thermal comfort year round, with no air-conditioning or artificial heating requirement. Energy and water efficient fixtures and appliances, combined with onsite power generation, rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling all contribute to the environmental performance of the homes.

We value the planet

Josh Byrne (popular ABC TV Gardening Australia presenter and environmental scientist) undertook the design and construction of his own sustainable home in Hilton, Western Australia. This home was built by Highbury Homes.

The home achieved a 10 Star NatHERS energy efficiency rating.  This rating means that Josh’s home is thermally comfortable year round, without the need for air conditioning or additional heating. It generates more electricity than it uses, and the property harvests and recycles water. In addition to private garden areas, a productive garden supplies the home with fresh food.

See more about the project at

highbury homes sustainable house josh byrne family home
We value sustainable design

Eat, Play, Shade

Josh’s house maximises effective garden area around the homes to allow for natural shading, home food production and children’s play spaces.

highbury homes sustainable house josh byrne living area to outside
  • A combination of reverse brick veneer and double brick walling has been used in order to increase internal thermal mass where it was needed. Where this wasn’t required, timber framed walling is used because the materials have a lower embodied energy value and therefore a lower carbon footprint.
  • The northern living areas feature a decorative concrete slab finish to soak up and store the heat from the winter sunlight and to help stabilise internal temperature during summer.
  • Internal walls are generally plastered single leaf brickwork with some double brick walls used to add additional thermal mass to the main living areas, as well as sound insulation to selected rooms.
  • Cabinetry, paint & floor finishes are low VOC (volatile organic compounds) for improved indoor air quality and the house is protected from termite attack with physical termite barriers, as opposed to chemical treatment systems.

We value energy efficiency

The floor plan is a typical 3 bedroom  two bathroom house, with an open plan kitchen, dining and living room area, plus an activities room. But there are a few key elements to note.

  • The orientation of the house, window location and internal layout was designed to maximise the solar passive performance.
  • Consideration was given to universal access, with slightly wider doorways (870mm) with flush thresholds to all external doors, hobless showers and sticking to one level.
  • Low-e type glazing has been used throughout to regulate heat flow, with only one window on each dwelling requiring double glazing to achieve the 10 star NatHERS rating.
  • The roof is a conventional timber construction with light coloured reflective roof sheeting with insulated foil underneath. The ceiling is lined with bulk insulation to achieve an R4.0 insulation value.
highbury homes sustainable house josh byrne dining lounge room
We value helping you

A Design You Can Adapt

Importantly, Josh’s home was built using conventional building materials and construction methods, so it could be easily replicated. View the house plans here.

highbury homes sustainable house josh byrne garden natural materialss

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