An illustration from the iDesign entry, winners of the 2021 Sustainable Homes Challenge

Sustainable Homes Challenge winners announced

Sustainable Homes Challenge winners announced

High quality entries despite a challenging first year

The winners of the University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Homes Challenge have been announced.

The Sustainable Homes Challenge involves students from across Australia working in multi- disciplinary teams to design a sustainable, affordable and liveable home from waste-derived building products.

A total of 25 students both at undergraduate and master’s degree level and from six universities, including UOW, completed the challenge.

Participants were placed into teams and challenged, over five months, to create a design proposal for the construction of a home that included innovative components made from available waste-derived materials.

The winning team was iDesign with the Lego House which can be seen here.

Team members were Georgia O'Neill, Nicole Ellingburg, Evie Parrish-Gibbons and Parimal Salunkhe.

At the end of the challenge the teams were brought together virtually for a special finale week.

2021 Sustainable Homes Challenge winners 'iDesign': Parimal Salunkhe, Georgia O’Neill, Evie Parrish-Gibbons and Nicole Ellingburg.

2021 Sustainable Homes Challenge winners 'iDesign': Parimal Salunkhe, Georgia O’Neill, Evie Parrish-Gibbons and Nicole Ellingburg.

Project manager Dr Leela Kempton said humans were expected to generate an estimated 2.2 billion tonnes of waste annually by 2025.

This year’s challenge was focused on the world’s waste problem, in particular, using waste to build sustainable and liveable homes.

“One of the biggest things has been seeing students come from so many academic backgrounds. Many have never thought about constructing houses,” Dr Kempton said.

“They have learned about the circular economy but also the need for sustainable housing. 

“Solving problems such as waste, affordable housing and climate change are complex problems. We need to approach them from many different angles.” 

“This is the first year we have run the challenge – after it was postponed from last year – and the students have overcome a challenging year to deliver entries of high quality.”

Michele Adair, from the Housing Trust, which sponsored the challenge, said she hoped the students would continue to challenge the industry. 

“They’ve already done that in many and varied ways,” she said.

“We hope to share some of these innovations with our industry partners in planning, design and construction to inform future projects. A forum early in the new year would be an excellent start".

The Sustainable Homes Challenge is powered by UOW’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre and funded by McKinnon Walker Trust.