The 2014 GreenSmart Award winners have been announced, with Forest Lodge ECO Home by Designer Construction Group named this year’s Home of the Year.

The project, which also won the 2014 HIA GreenSmart Custom Built Home Award, combines ground-breaking technology with age-old eco design principles to harness the benefits of nature. Despite the limits of a small block, it features a garden and green roof which, along with various other design aspects, contribute to an energy smart dwelling.

“Recycled materials were used wherever possible in the US and Europe, and I wanted to bring this idea back home. I was also impressed by the use of green roofs and vertical gardens overseas and how they are used to naturally insulate the home,” said Designer Construction Group’s owner, Chris Knierim.

The entire house is automated, allowing for complete monitoring of energy consumption and providing an instantaneous overview of the current power use. In a first for the Australian building industry, Knierim created a heat storage cell one metre below the ground that acts as a natural heat chamber, and which is heated by the hot water pipes – water heated via the roof solar tubes flows via a pipe system from the roof down to this heat chamber.

Located in Glebe, ECO Home has already been honoured with no less than 13 national and international design and construction awards in 2014, including the BPN Sustainability Award – Single Dwelling (New) and the BDA’s Design Excellence Award for Australia’s best Building Design and Designer .

Other winners of the program include MyStyle Homes, which clinched the HIA GreenSmart Display Home prize for their North Queensland, 8.5 star energy rated project that relies on-site power generation to be off the grid.

MAG Constructions, DNA Architects and Karin McNamara Design took out the Energy Efficiency Award with the rotating house in Act/Southern NSW (pictured left). As its name suggests, the home rotates around to achieve the best solar orientation and provide constant comfort for occupants.

The HIA GreenSmart Awards recognises HIA members who build or design environmentally friendly homes, provide solutions to make homes more efficient or create new products for the building industry.

The 2014 program is the first to be held online. Check out this video for all the finalists and winners: