Eco Dreamers Seminar

Exciting Networking Event:

Eco Dreamers: Cape Paterson Ecovillage Visit. 

Meet Brendan Condon, Project Director of “The Cape” (formerly the Cape Paterson Ecovillage) in Victoria, when he talks at the Narara Ecovillage (Visitor Centre) on Saturday 12 May 2018, from 3 to 5 pm.


Brendan is visiting the Narara Ecovillage to build networks with like-minded projects. “Unless we work together, we will never get anything changed!”, he said.

The timing is right for this visit: Narara Ecovillage is now planning the second stage of its  development, and is once again scanning planet for the latest best idea and practice.

Brendan will talk about:

  • The Cape: a 220 home, zero-carbon eco-development
  • Designing and building homes with 9 and 10 star energy rating
  • Why the architectural plans for their high energy rated homes are free
  • The value of offering pre-approved and costed house designs
  • The planning challenges of being an eco-developer
  • The Community Garden that captures up to 3 million litres of rainwater and will provide $140,000 of produce per annum.
  • The business partnerships that make the Cape’s development possible, including Small Giants (,Sociable Weaver ( and ArchibloxModular Homes (
  • The ecological restoration company, with consulting, landscape, maintenance and fire services divisions, and its nursery and extensive seed bank, that had produced its 30 millionth plant by 2013
  • Biofilta stormwater management systems
  • And more!


To ensure your place, book now at:

Admission costs $30, or $15 for members of the Narara Eco Living Network (you can join online anytime at:

For further information, contact Joan on 0478 636 033 or Richard at:



3 p.m. Brendan Condon, Project Director of “The Cape” (formerly the Cape Paterson Ecovillage) in Victoria, will present the story of The Cape’s 10 year development’

4 p.m. following a short tea break, the drivers of the Narara Ecovillage project respond with a (short version of) its own story. And join with Andy Marlow (Envirotecture) and Mark Tyrrell (Tyrrell Studio Urban Design) to consider what has to happen to more sustainable development possible.

As Brendan says: “It’s not enough for an ecovillage to go it alone. We won’t make a difference unless we work together.”

More information about the Narara Ecovillage.

Narara Ecovillage

Find more info about Brendan and The Cape at:

The Cape project.

Real Estate Perspective 2017.

Sydney Morning Herald 2009.

Fifth Estate. 2011.

CSIRO Evaluation and review of Cape Patterson and ecovillages general .

Gardening Australia (ABC TV) story about Brendan:—brendan-condon/9441056.

NOTES from Brendan’s presentation.

The Cape Ecovillage: Brendan Condon’s presentation at the Narara Ecovillage.

 May 12 2018.

 Building a better designed, smarter, healthier, more sustainable future.

Please see The Cape web site for more information and pictures.

Press release after Brendan’s visit.

Building Homes for the society and climate of the 21st. century: seminar.

On Saturday 75 people came to the Narara Ecovillage to hear Brendan Condon, Project Director, talk about the Cape Paterson Ecovillage In Victoria and their new 9 and 10 star homes. This was followed by a panel discussion with the Narara Ecovillage. They key topic was the challenge of creating climate-proof, zero energy cost, sustainable homes and subdivisions, in a nation still dominated by the volume-building of homes and planning for endless suburbia. 

These mass-produced homes in poorly planned suburbs can  condemn their new owners to high energy bills for decades to come and force governments to building unnecessary new power stations. These homes can become death traps in heat waves and power cuts in areas like western Sydney or northwest Melbourne.

Also participating  in the discussion were Architect Andy Marlowe from Envirotecture, Mark Tyrrell from Tyrrell Design Studios, and Lyndall Parris, John Talbott and Stuart King from the Narara Ecovillage.

The panel concluded that projects like the Narara Ecovillage and The Cape at Cape Paterson are invaluable in helping governments and the building industry to transition to the zero-energy and climate safe homes of the 21st century.  

Notes from presentation.

The Cape

Cape summary

  • Victoria’s first zero emissions neighbourhood of scale
  • Averaging over 8 star energy efficient across the estate
  • Homes comfortable with minimum heating and cooling
  • Resilient in extreme weather events
  • Homes generate more energy than they use
  • Efficient appliances such as heat pumps replace use of fossil fuels
  • Electric vehicle enabled
  • Community has eliminated the use of gas, coal fired electricity and petrol for those interested
  • Now building zero energy bill homes
  • NBN for e-change lifestyle
  • Community farm
  • Active lifestyle

Next steps

  • Building on this framework of 230 energy efficient homes
  • Continue best practice design and energy efficiency using a peer reference group of experts
  • Expanding urban food –orchard, beekeeping, poultry
  • Co-working space, café and conference centre
  • Community energy solutions
  • Long distance Evs, EV car share scheme and eventually long range autonomous EV car share scheme (resident driven research)
  • Savings of $500k in energy bills and $500k in petrol bills across the community = $1 million per annum compared to conventional community
  • Enhanced sustainable “E-Change” experience
  • People moving to new “lifestyle towns” within 150 km or 2 hours drive of capital cities, seeking high speed NBN, affordable property prices, views, space, reduced commuting, healthier environment, lower cost of living, access to health services, slower pace of life and housing affordability
  • “I predict a cultural shift  or ‘e- change movement’ which could see the rise of new silicon suburbs or beaches in regional hubs as universal access to fast broadband drives a culture of entrepreneurialism and innovation outside our capital cities.” Bernard Salt.


  • Melbourne median property price now over $900k –
  • Cape zero bill house and land –starting at $430k, family homes on larger lots $550 – $650k, eliminating energy, water, food bills
  • Enhanced E-Change opportunity
  • Share work spaces connected by NBN –growing very strongly in capital cities -
  • Expanded urban farming
  • Shared electric vehicle infrastructure including long range electric vehicle car share schemes and investigation of long range autonomouselectric vehicle car share schemes
  • Shared energy infrastructure –further reduce costs
  • Driven by our residents

The Cape Victoria’s first SuperHub a model for sustainable decentralisation from Melbourne

  • Melbourne set to hit almost 8 million by mid century –
  • SUPERHub is an acronym that is an amalgum of Sustainable affordable living, Urban connectivity, People centred, Employment and environment, Regional and renewable energy, and is a Hub that incorporates all of these. A SUPERHub is a regional sustainable hub or precinct that allows for sustainable decentralisation away from major cities into precincts that incorporates the following elements:
  • Sustainable, affordable, carbon neutral living – through new generation, all electric, energy efficient, energy positive housing that operates on solar energy, utilises new storage systems and is designed to operate without the use of fossil fuels such as gas, coal fired energy or petrol. These homes have super low running costs, and feature excellent passive solar design, shading and glazing to ensure they are adapted to climate change, are comfortable in all conditions and are able to cope with future climate extremes such as hotter conditions and heat waves. Homes use newly available energy efficient home operating systems such as heat pump heating and cooling and hot water, as well as electric vehicle charge points, to reduce energy use, emissions and running costs.
  • Urban connectivity and employment – these hubs are part of the “E-change movement” – staying connected to urban centres via high speed broadband to allow residents to establish viable and high functioning regional co-working workspaces that are located in regional centres while maintaining connectivity with city businesses and commerce. SUPERHubs take this concept further, combining NBN with high quality video conferencing, emerging VR platforms rapidly improving long range electric vehicles, electric vehicle car sharing schemes, EV charging infrastructure and in coming years, autonomous EVs, to allow SUPERHub residents to virtually and physically visit and return from cities as required for work or recreation using zero emission transport.
  • Best practice Water Sensitive Urban Design – including retaining stormwater in landscapes to use stormwater as a resource to build landscape resilience in the face of climate change, use of swales, bioretention systems, wetlands that filter water and promote biodiversity outcomes, and stormwater harvesting.
  • Regional employment and collaboration through high quality co-working spaces featuring NBN, videoconferencing, office and computer facilities and IT support, 3D printers and other shared tools of trade that allow sustainable innovative businesses to thrive in regional locations.
  • Lower house and land costs allow city dwellers to sell high value homes to access affordable, sustainable housing at lower cost, and allows first home buyers and younger buyers who are priced out of city housing to enter the market, with a variety of accommodation and housing types and price points.
  • Local food production – SUPERHubs include innovative urban farming systems to allow local closed loop urban farming, to improve food security, divert organic waste streams into closed loop farming systems, capture and filter local rooftop rainwater into food production, reduce waste and greenwaste to landfill, and reduce the emissions associated with the transport of food. Additional benefits include better nutrition, health, exercise and social contact.
  • The Cape Sustainable Housing Project at Cape Paterson is Victoria’s first potential small scale SUPERHub. The Cape is currently delivering many of the features outlined above, and is planning the development of a conferencing space and co-working space with the remaining initiatives. The ethical investment group and some of the residents behind the project are exploring the economics and viability of other elements of a small scale SUPERHub at The Cape.


A collaboration between

  • Australian Ecosystems
  • Small Giants
  • TS Constructions
  • Martin Builders
  • Sociable Weaver
  • ArchiBlox

Current Australian housing estates

  • Housing stocks are oversized
  • Poorly insulated
  • Older stocks –1 –4 star
  • “6 star?” = 4.5 star
  • Energy intensive
  • High running costs
  • Poorly adapted to climate change


The Cape

  • Sustainable housing project
  • Sustainable energy efficient architecture
  • Onsite clean energy
  • Urban food production
  • Sustainable transport – walking, cycling, electric vehicles
  • Active lifestyle
  • Water conservation
  • Habitat restoration
  • Community

The Cape

  • Sustainable housing project
  • Sustainable energy efficient architecture
  • Onsite clean energy
  • Urban food production
  • Sustainable transport – walking, cycling, electric vehicles
  • Active lifestyle
  • Water conservation
  • Habitat restoration


  • No front fences
  • Raised front verandahs – public/private
  • Traffic calmed roads
  • Hierarchy of movement – pedestrians, bikes, mobility scooters, cars and public transport
  • Micro-parks and pocket parks
  • View sharing

Sustainable energy efficient architecture

  • Onsite clean energy
  • Urban food production
  • Sustainable transport – walking, cycling, electric vehicles
  • Active lifestyle
  • Water conservation
  • Habitat restoration

Sustainable housing

  • Lots laid out by sustainable architect
  • 7.5 star minimum rating
  • Good insulation and
  • ventilation
  • Thermal mass
  • Double glazing
  • Efficient appliances
  • 2.5 kilowatts PV systems (minimum)
  • 10,000 litres of rainwater storage


  • Averaging over 8 star energy efficient across the estate
  • Comfortable without heating and cooling
  • Resilient in extreme weather events
  • Generates more energy than the uses
  • Electric vehicle enabled
  • Efficient appliances such as heat pumps replace use of fossil fuels – gas, coal fired electricity and petrol
  • Now building zero energy bill homes

Controversial calls

  • No cats
  • Dogs allowed but must be on leash in public areas
  • No wood stoves
  • Fencing
  • No gas


  • Body Corporate
  • Future collectives –
  •  community garden
  • Social groups
  • EV car share scheme