The Paddock, one of Victoria’s premium sustainable housing projects, is all set to release the final stage of the ecovillage development with 12 more homes boasting a suite of liveability and resilience features to adapt to current and future climate change challenges.

Set on a picturesque 1.4ha site in Castlemaine, The Paddock is designed to the Living Building Challenge (LBC) environmental framework – a comprehensive, holistic design standard consisting of seven performance areas including place, water, energy, health, happiness, materials, equity and beauty. The ecovillage combines energy efficient homes designed for low-impact living with native gardens, a strong connect to nature and a holistic community environment.

Distributed across four stages of development, The Paddock’s Stage One was completed in late 2019, Stages Two and Three will be completed this year, and the 12 houses in Stage Four will commence construction late in 2021 for completion in 2022. Leading local architect, Geoff Crosby of CROSBY Architects is designing the homes in Stage Four.

On completion, The Paddock Eco Village will have a total of 27 houses designed for highly sustainable living as well as a community centre, surrounded by food growing and recreation areas.

Several energy efficiency initiatives have been implemented in all the houses to reduce energy costs without compromising comfort levels. All homes at The Paddock average over 8-star energy efficiency, through a combination of good orientation, excellent insulation of floors, walls and ceilings, high thermal mass, double glazing and strategic shading.

All the homes are solar powered and feature an all-electric fitout with heat pump heating, cooling and hot water systems, and induction cooktops replacing expensive gas. The homes are effortlessly warm in winter and cool in summer while using around 80 per cent less input energy than typical, new Victorian homes built in 2020.

Thanks to the surplus solar generation in the eight occupied houses, the residents have achieved approximately 15 tonnes of emissions reduction over a 12-month period; this is expected to increase to approximately 50 tonnes per annum when the project is completed next year.

Jan Elder, a resident of The Paddock since Christmas 2019, says living in the ecovillage provides so much more than good housing.

“One of the great benefits of living here is being part of a friendly, supportive community of people of various ages and different backgrounds. Though the community provides a convivial social environment for a single person, I also have as much privacy as I want. I am also secure in the knowledge that my choice to live here is reducing my carbon footprint as well as power bills. I also have the pleasure of being able to grow fruit and vegetables in our wicking beds and participate in developing the gardens that are designed to enhance the local ecology – regenerating local plants and providing habitat for birds, insects and other local fauna.”

Neil and Heather Barrett, founders of The Paddock, believe they are setting a benchmark in how a sustainable community can be lived and celebrated. “The unique design elements of The Paddock simply make it a great place to live. Comfortable and stunning homes, which are highly energy efficient, complemented with native gardens in a masterfully planned community, makes The Paddock a unique and highly sought after place to live.”

Photos by SJ Royle