Enhance Your Property’s Value with an Eco-Friendly Home Retrofit

Retrofitting your home is not just a trend; it’s a smart investment that can yield significant returns in various aspects of your life. By embracing Sustainable’s Retrofit solutions, you can effectively improve your property’s net worth, enhance your family’s lifestyle, and introduce relevant sustainable design to an existing building.

Transform your home with Sustainable’s complete Design & Construct Retrofitting solutions for your entire existing property!

At Sustainable, our approach to Retrofitting goes beyond the conventional. We refrain from simply ‘renovating’ by slapping on additions like decks or rooms without first assessing your needs and existing home.

Our aim is to ensure that your entire property is optimised for sustainability and longevity. That’s why we prefer the term ‘Retrofit’, emphasising our commitment to providing holistic, sustainable solutions for your home and family lifestyle.

The primary focus of Sustainable Retrofits is to view the property on a complete scale and craft a sustainable solution with a sensibly designed outcome. This not only gives comfort to future net worth, but also minimises your piecemeal spending on reactive renovations.

“Retrofit your eco-friendly space”

A Sustainable Landscape Retrofit: Project Exemplar

In 2009, Sustainable transformed this outdoor space at a family home at The Gap (Brisbane), which was once occupied with an unwanted pool, and retrofitted into a 45,000L water tank completed with a beautifully, eco-friendly landscaped backyard.

By undertaking a complete client and property audit Sustainable established key project goals and outcomes, and for this eco-conscious Client, drought proofing the property was a requirement.

Sustainable transformed the family pool into a water trap, designed specifically to save water on the property by simply re-directing it to feed the gardens. This 45,000L pool-turned-water tank ensures enough water to supply all the productive landscaping and eventually allowed the Clients to pump the water into the house.

But practicality was not the Team’s only goal for this project.

The brilliant architectural design of this Landscape Retrofit was disguising it as an outdoor living space on a floating deck. Not only were the Clients thrilled with the new look, but Sustainable empathised with the family’s wishes, creating a space that inspires and complements their desired lifestyle.

It is a place where you can be comfortable entertaining, lounging, gardening, or just hiding from the world. We have spent more time in the new space in the past couple of months than in the previous eight years.

The Sunday Mail: Dream Homes 2009 Article

Jump into the archives! The Gap Retrofit project featured in the The Sunday Mail Dream Homes 2009 article. Read the full NEWS story here.

More Information

Sustainable can transform your existing home with a design-led, environmentally conscious, and sensory-orientated Retrofit and/or Landscaping solution to suit your individual needs and circumstances. Submit a Retrofit Enquiry to our in-house experts today to start Retrofitting your eco-friendly space!

Happy Holidays!

It is already that time of the year where we take the time to catch our breath, reflect and celebrate our successes and challenges from the year that has passed.

We want to thank you, our valued Clients, Suppliers, Partners, Staff and Families for all your support in delivering our outstanding 2023 Design & Construction Projects through such continued difficult times.

We greatly appreciate and value the strong relationships we have developed and nurtured with you over the 30 years in our operations. Thank you for continuing to support us and may you all have a wonderful and safe Holiday season.

The Sustainable Team look forward to the New Year ahead and are excited to carry through and share in all of our valued Clients’ spectacular projects. Let us hope for a brighter and less stressful 2024.

Sustainable continues to remain committed as Major Partner to Warwick Horse Trials and share in their mission to become the International Multi-Discipline Equestrian Precinct of Excellence in south-east Queensland and bordering.

In 2024 we will continue to push boundaries and share in the Warwick Horse Trials’ expertise and vision, focusing on long-term Sustainable® Master Planning that delivers a world-class equestrian facility to support our current and emerging QLD athletes.

Sustainable Office Temporarily Closed

Please note, the Sustainable Office will be temporarily closed from Friday 22 December 2023 to Monday 15 January 2024 for the Holiday Season.

We apologise in advance for any inconvenience. If necessary, please contact our Head Office (07) 3201 1177, leave a detailed message and we will get back to you on our return. In the meantime, please peruse our website, submit one of our Expression of Interest Forms or send an email to reception@sustainabledc.au.

Take care. Stay safe.

Warm Regards,

The Sustainable Team.

Local environments inspire eco-friendly home designs

local environments inspire eco-friendly home designs

Sustainable’s breathtaking eco-friendly home designs simply embrace their local environments.

This stunning family Custom Home located in a vibrant rural town west of Brisbane, features innovative sustainable architecture and true individualism. With its rich agricultural heritage and strong community spirit, the local environment boasts picturesque countryside settings and stunning mountain views.

In fact, this spectacular site is the inspiration behind this striking designer home. Sustainable naturally found creativity in the local landscape, colours and culture, delivering a stylish sustainable home standing in harmony with its natural surroundings.

The key to all eco-friendly home designs is to not only enhance natural environs, but also capture the Client’s quintessence and maximise passive site performance.

This timeless outdoor entertainment space is completely tailored to the Client’s needs and lifestyle. And, the site’s passive cooling and heating elements were carefully considered to establish optimal orientation, roof articulation and material use.

Sensitive design such as this is imperative to eco-friendly homes and to the occupant’s overall living experience. Hence, this inspirational outside space effortlessly inspires creativity and social connection, and allows the family to enjoy and occupy the space all-year-round.

The unique Sustainable® Design & Construction package promotes social, environmental, economic and cultural sustainability, placing Client’s and their site at the forefront of design inspiration. It is the Sustainable Team’s passion and ability to work with local environments to create sensational eco-friendly home designs.

More Information

NEWS Story: Eco-friendly Home Designs

Trusting Clients Inspire Good Architecture! A 2018 Sustainable Custom Home effortlessly flaunts how the power of good architecture creates truly uplifting, inspirational and timeless spaces. Read the full NEWS story here.

CEO Statement

Sustainable Domain Transfer

Dear Clients, Suppliers, Partners, Staff & Families,

Due to recent changes to the Australian Domain Administrator’s (auDA) .au domain policy, the Sustainable Team has chosen to transition from our previous domain – sustainable.id.au – to sustainabledc.au. The Sustainable IT and Website Teams registered this domain last week and are currently conducting a seamless transfer of the website, emails, and related business items. At present, the new domain – sustainabledc.au – is active and operational across both the website and business emails, whilst our old domain is acting as an alias.

Please note, after Sunday 4th June 2023, the old Sustainable website and email domain will no longer be in service and will not redirect to the new domain. As a result, we do ask to please be mindful that the new Sustainable website domain (URL) is: www.sustainabledc.au. In addition, please take note that all Sustainable business emails have been updated accordingly: accounts@sustainabledc.au, reception@sustainabledc.au, marketing@sustainabledc.au, design@sustainabledc.au and brett@sustainabledc.au.

The Sustainable Team believes it important to keep our valued Clients, Suppliers, Partners, Staff & Families up to date with critical business changes. Therefore, Sustainable apologises for the late notice and any inconvenience this change may cause now and in the future. The Sustainable Team is working diligently to ensure this business change is as seamless as possible, providing essential support where necessary. For future reference, if you are having issues contacting the Sustainable Team, please ring the Head Office on (07) 3201 1177 to seek direct assistance.

Sustainable thanks you in advance for your understanding and support through this process. If you have any questions regarding the information enclosed in this statement, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Sustainable Team via phone (07) 3201 1177 or email reception@sustainabledc.au

Sustainable is dedicated to our valued Clients, Suppliers, Partners, Staff & Families by remaining authentic in our business operations and committed to creating and delivering cutting-edge sustainable homes beyond Client expectations. Owing to your ongoing support, Sustainable has been recognised by our Industry peers since 1994 with over 70 high-level awards. Sustainable thanks you for allowing our Team to deliver truly design-led sustainable living and sensible city infill communities of the future that are always committed to our belief – “By creating better buildings, we create better people.”


Brett McKenzie

CEO Sustainable Pty Ltd. | Remote Locations Pty Ltd.

Queensland Science’s Sustainability & Science Showcase: CEO Brett McKenzie as Guest Speaker

Date:Sunday 19th June 2022
Forum 1:Contributing to a sustainable city, starting with your home and backyard

Sustainable CEO Brett McKenzie was invited by Brisbane Sustainability Agency to attend the Queensland Science’s Sustainability & Science Showcase and contribute to a Forum containing 4 other sustainability industry experts.

The event generated a considerable amount of community engagement, and the discussions created particularly stand as a stepping stone for community sustainability and collectively tackling climate change.

For the forum, Brett was asked to discuss ‘creating sustainable homes and retrofitting current homes for sustainable communities.’ The Sustainable Team have broken down the key aspects of Brett’s speech below, and have outlined ‘waste within the construction industry’ as an important aspect in contributing to sustainable homes and futures.


The construction industry delivers approximately 60% of all its waste to landfill

  • Designing Sustainable Homes starts by reducing waste
    • The Sustainable Team recycles 98% of all waste on-site
      • E.g., Sustainable is currently two-thirds of the way through their Toowoomba build. The Sustainable Team have only taken 5x cubic bags of waste off the site (containing mainly packaging) to landfill. Whereas, most sites will have 5 or 6 skip bins of waste taken off site to landfill int eh same time period.
    • Waste is not only material things, it is also in resources
      • Housing stock is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions
      • A lot of homes are on life support (i.e., need mechanical ventilation, lighting, etc.)

Creating Sustainable Homes

  • When designing sustainable homes:
    • It has to start organically, from it’s location and the history of the area, and by looking at the built-form around it and respecting that
    • Apply 25-Year Lifecycle Modelling around its Occupants
      • Have Adaptable Space
        • Create an environment to zone the house off (e.g., A nursery becomes a media room later on)
      • This:
        • Reduces monoculture in our communities
        • Creates longevity of occupancy

Retrofitting Current Homes

  • Generally, society is quite limited in our approach to retrofitting current stock
  • It is important to:
    • Think laterally of the current space
    • Reflect on the initial design & intent of the home (which is generally quite different to the intent of our lifestyle today)
    • Think about how to make a passive difference to the space by asking the difficult questions (e.g., Is the kitchen in the right location?)
  • In approaching Retrofits, the key aspects are:
    • Bringing it back to basics
    • Implementing a volume (cubic metre) model (i.e., more volume in a room = better passive performance)
    • Looking for the opportunities

Sustainable Communities

  • It is all about embracing and going back to village life
    • Bringing it back more local & delivering locally produced products
    • Maximising current spaces
      • Introduce community gardens (in backyards for example)
        • Communities become more engaged & a lot safer
        • Less greenfield development

More Information

Sustainability & Science Showcase

Event Host:Hannah Turner
Specialist — Marketing & Community Engagement
Brisbane Sustainability Agency
MC:Dr Karen Hussey
Deputy Director General
Queensland Department of Environment and Science
Renae McBrienTarragindi Community Garden Founder & Resource Recovery Advocate
A/ Professor Carol RichardsSocial, Food & Agricultural Scientist at QUT (specialising in Sustainable Food Systems)
Les BarklaRedcliffe Repair Café Founder
Brett McKenzieFounder & CEO Sustainable Pty Ltd.

PROTECT Podcast x Sustainable

The PROTECT Podcast is an ‘environmental podcast’ created and hosted by Melbourne-based journalist, Angela Fedele. Angela’s podcast explores relevant social topics relating to sustainability and protecting animal welfare and the environment.

CEO Brett McKenzie and the Sustainable Team established a valued partnership with Angela in early 2021. On two occasions, Brett has been invited to present as a guest speaker on the PROTECT Podcast to share his extensive knowledge and experience in the building industry and sustainability spaces. The Sustainable Team thanks Angela for providing a platform to discuss these very timely and crucial community topics.

PROTECT Podcast can be reached on a variety of platforms, including: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, etc. Learn more.

S5, Ep. 3 — “Building For Climate Resilience: Australia’s 2022 Flood Disaster”

May 18, 2022

PROTECT Podcast, Episode 3, S5 – “Building For Climate Resilience: Australia’s 2022 Flood Disaster” | Host: Angela Fedele; Guest Speaker: Brett McKenzie (Sustainable CEO)

The ‘Building For Climate Resilience’ podcast episode provides an insightful look at resilience building, concentrating on Southern QLD and Northern NSW flood history. Sustainable’s philosophy works with local environments through a 25-year Lifecycle Modelling process. Throughout this episode, Brett refers to the 2022 Fingal Head (Northern NSW) Sustainable Custom Design, ‘The Hidden Gem’, as a testament to resilience building. ‘Standing as an example of what is possible, Brett delves into opportunities to restructure local governments, incentives to rebuild for the future and ideas for redesigning and moving entire communities from disaster prone areas.’ YES, it is certainly possible!

S2, Ep. 6 — “Building Sustainable Communities”

March 19, 2021

PROTECT Podcast, Episode 6, S2 – “Building Sustainable Communities” | Host: Angela Fedele; Guest Speaker: Brett McKenzie (Sustainable CEO)

‘Building Sustainable Communities’ briefly explains the importance of engaging sustainable principles within residential design processes. Angela and Brett’s discussion lightly touches an understanding of sustainable building and it’s benefits from a design, performance and community point of view. This podcast episode outlines the relevance of sustainability within the Australian building industry, focusing on creating future developments that reflect truly sustainable communities. As such, this sustainable community conversation encapsulates the important understanding of applying basic sustainable principles and long-term thinking to ensure truly sustainable living.

TREND Windows & Doors: Case Story

“Brett McKenzie On The Positives of Passive Design”

In November 2021, the team from TREND Windows & Doors, a long-standing partner with Sustainable, invited Sustainable CEO Brett McKenzie to showcase his 35+ year sustainable Design & Construct expertise for their Passive Design article running in April 2022. (Please see the article link below.)

Brett and the Sustainable Team take pride in our longstanding 25-year partnership with TREND, and thank their team for showcasing our award-winning experience in the field of passive design.

Sourced from TREND — ‘The Positives of Passive Design’ article.

“As sustainability becomes synonymous with beautiful architecture, passive design is no longer an afterthought. This design approach leans on surrounding climate and building elements to naturally heat or cool your home. And in turn, it works to reduce your energy bills and environmental impact. It’s true that passive design is a positive force in more than one way. One person who leads the way in the passive design space is Brett McKenzie, CEO of Sustainable. Brett is a long-time champion of passive design principles. With over 35 years of experience in construction and building design and over 25 years of partnership with Trend, Brett has seen how …”
[Click here to read the full article on the TREND website]

“Passive design is about creating buildings, spaces and habitats that are much more meaningful and healthy for the individual.” — CEO Brett McKenzie

Trusting Clients Inspire Good Architecture!

It is often our most trusting clients who bring out the most creative scope in our in-house experts. 

A 2018 Sustainable Custom Home effortlessly flaunts how the power of good architecture creates truly uplifting, inspirational and timeless spaces.

Before Sustainable’s valued clients approached the Team in 2017, they were well-aware and following the build process of the 2017 Sustainable Recipe House, The Kingfisher. Impressed with the company’s philosophies, the professional couple connected with Sustainable and were quickly underway to build their dream sustainable home. 

Trust Plants the Seed for Creative Freedom

When our clients approached Brett McKenzie and the Sustainable Team, they had never built a home before. Their life was in Singapore and predictably, they wanted to embrace the “Aussie dream” — a patch of land, their own home and the Hills Hoist!

Having lived in extremely compacted spaces and repressive living, our clients were looking for something different and placed a high focus on sustainability and minimalistic construction. This was one, exciting, but also quite frightening for them because they were used to very small footprints with no back yards.

Sustainable CEO Brett McKenzie said,

It was very important for me in the design process to be able to respect our client’s journey, but always adding the inspiration or introducing them to new possibilities of not only creative, uplifting and ambiance of space, but security of place.

Trusting since day one, our clients gave Brett and his Team a lot of creative freedom for a site that required a lot of creative thinking.

As always, there were certain wish lists regarding preferences of spaces to cater for personal needs, but these clients gave Sustainable a very open and refreshingly free scope of what they wanted. This is always Sustainable’s clean canvas to express and share our incredible experience and passion to drive outstanding homes.

The Clients let me have an enormous scope in the sense of Design, so I really cut loose a little bit!” This was unexpected, but also quite refreshing for a couple that were understandably anxious and vulnerable to the experience.

Brett McKenzie | Sustainable CEO

Untamed Sites are the Most Powerful

Our clients had bought a block in Upper Kedron and were told by project builders to buy a flattened block with retaining. For most residential developments, flat blocks are necessary, but for Sustainable we believe that flattened sites kill the character, atmosphere and natural power and energy of the site. (It also increases costs!)

Brett McKenzie describes how his Sustainable Team approach flat sites:

When they flatten a site like this one was, it takes the natural power away from the site. We actually recreated contours within the site to embrace it’s power again.

I wanted to get the flow back into the site and almost recreate the contour with the design.

The home is empowered by the recreated contour coming up off the road, flowing up into an upper level and flowing back down to the back level of the home. In doing so, Sustainable created an undercroft, which is a shaded and sheltered area above where the pool and courtyard now sit.

The Beauty of Floating Architecture

The home also boasts a strong connecting blade [wall] that goes through the middle of the house, creating floating architecture.

I had a strong connective blade running through the middle of the home, getting the architectural features of the house to feel as though they hovered off of it.

As you move through the house you walk underneath the blade like an arc, moving from one side of the blade to the next as you move from the front of the home to the back.

The beauty of it is that you don’t even realise that you’ve moved from one side of the house to the other. It’s a bit surprising when you do realise.

Brett McKenzie | Sustainable CEO

Pushing Boundaries in Passive Design

As Sustainable leads in sustainable Design & Construction, Brett shares how his Team is continually exploring new ways in which to push the boundaries of passive design with this 2018 Custom Home.

The challenge for us was that the block had the retainer wall, so it was restrictive on how far, or as much of the block we could go back on and explore.

For the project market, the challenge is the contour. And, the clients wanted a pool so we had to think where do we put the pool and how do we make that the really passive and powerful region of the home?

By putting the pool in the middle of the house makes it extremely passive, because amazing breezes come off that pool, go through the breezeway and into the living room and bedrooms.

The Key to Good Architecture

Of all the spectacular and passive spaces within this Custom Home, Brett noted that the most inspirational space is the living room. He describes it as being embracing, yet very open and continually uplifting. 

“It’s just so uplifting. It captures and protects. It gives them privacy and ambiance, but a vulnerability because it is so open.”

I believe that is what good architecture does — it is simple, it responds to the land whether it is restrictive or inspired, and good architecture must provide an ambiance and vulnerability that is timeless in form and spirit.

I believe the key in being able to continually create these spaces for our clients is to respect where the clients have come from [usually quite restricted and secure], and create spaces that are not too open, too vulnerable, or too overwhelming, but just enough to reflect the introduction to all of these experiences subtly and unsusceptible.

This magnificent home definitely provides that security and opportunity of space with an uplifting but creative embrace. Every time you walk into that space it’s definitely spiritual.

Incredible outcomes in advanced sustainable living requires an enormous level of trust from our clients, which was certainly received with this 2018 Sustainable Custom Home.

“It is profound that our most awarded homes are always those where our client’s had strong, relaxed trust in our experience and creative strengths to create amazing homes of timeless space.”

I’m not sure if the client’s strong trust in me was because they had never built a home before and did not have the confidence to specifically outline what they wanted, or, and what I truly believe is that they had a high level connection with me. They were very empathetic people, and so their connection was genuine with me. Our connection was in honesty and that built trust very quickly.

Brett McKenzie | Sustainable CEO

It was wonderful working with our clients to build such a creative and beautiful space, and it is fantastic that we have established such a strong relationship that the Sustainable Team are now currently well underway with future projects with them in 2022/23.

Congratulations! The Sustainable Team thank you for your trust.

Sustainable are the leaders in sustainable Design & Construct and remain committed to our belief — “By creating better buildings, we create better people.”

ATTENTION Clients, Partners & Suppliers

Sustainable’s Head Office is currently closed due to the current circumstances occurring across SEQ & Northern NSW. 

Due to extensive flooding, no staff are able to access our Brisbane Head Office at this stage. 

Our Team located in the Northern Rivers of NSW are currently isolated. 

We are doing our best with limited internet access and we thank you for your patience with us during this time. 

Our thoughts go out to those who have been severely impacted. We hope you all stay safe.

The Sustainable Team 

Navigating COVID-19 in 2022 | HIA Industry Insights

Many of us were prepared to embrace the future, seize a new industry routine and relieve ourselves from the crippling border closures and lockdowns.

Although promised by government leaders with the rise of vaccination rates, 2022, at least for the Construction Industry, has not mitigated industry pressures and has certainly not alleviated the COVID fog — for at least 12 months. 

Sustainable, with the strong leadership and guidance of CEO Brett McKenzie, has been preparing for the worst of 2022 since the last quarter of 2021.

As complex issues and challenges continually emanates from the seemingly never ending pandemic, taking its form with lockdowns, border closures and isolations, the Sustainable Team have learnt to adapt and embrace the new “normal”. 

We knew that it was going to get worse before getting better.

In our professional opinion, we believe that the Industry targets are forecasting a slight stabilise around Easter [2022].

We know that multiple COVID-19 Cases are only further fragmenting our supply. We are seeing material supply slowly stabilising, but human resources are reduced by up to 20 or 30 per cent.

Therefore, securing materials is currently extremely critical to project schedules and in minimising client risk.

Sustainable CEO Brett McKenzie

Sustainable is working hard in keeping up-to-date with industry insights and navigating the significant pandemic impacts to successfully accommodate long-term futures, manage industry demands and play to the current market trends.

HIA Industry Insights — What You Need To Know

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) interviewed 5 of the industry’s experts to identify the economic outcomes, technology trends, and how businesses will continue to navigate the impact of COVID-19.

In combination with our in-house experts, Sustainable have provided you with the following details, outlining the important information about how and what residential building will look like in Australia over the next year and in the future.

  • The Industry is expecting continued 12-month global supply chain challenges. 
  • Due to state and international border closures and increased lockdowns, Australia is suffering from significant supply, material and labour shortages, which is consequently causing the industry to face major price increases. As a by product, there is an increased lack of skilled labourers, especially in the wet trades, such as tilers, brick layers and concreters 
  • There is a significant undersupply to “property market segments, from land to new builds and established property market” (HIA, 2022)
  • It is reported that there are “delays with land developers getting land to market”, causing houses to take longer to build (HIA, 2022)
  • The future of the industry is highly dependant on immigration, as many Australian’s are deciding to relocate away from dense city populations. This is mainly due to the increased use of technology within both personal and business settings — you can now work from anywhere. 
  • It is becoming increasingly popular for people to invest in houses, rather than apartments, which is further increasing the housing demand.
  • “Managing the impact of current lockdowns, labour and material shortages, and rapidly increasing costs of materials will be our greatest challenge” (HIA, 2022).
Brett McKenzie and the Sustainable Team are always committed to rising above Client expectations and delivering sustainable housing of the future. 

Phone: (07) 3201 1177