Truebolt’s Earth Kids Childcare project was the recipient of the Small Commercial Category prize at the 2015 Sustainability Awards.

The project was chosen by the expert judges as a standout from the category’s field of five finalists and a record number of entries. Scroll to the bottom to see jury comments on this ground breaking project.

The Earth Kids Childcare was undertaken specifically as a sustainable initiative within the early education sector.

Guided by the principles of the Earth Charter, a UNESCO sustainability initiative, the aim of Truebolt was to minimise the ecological footprint of the building both during construction and in its operation as a child care centre.

Critical to achieving this aim was the consideration of the life cycle impacts of the materials used. Truebolt’s design focused on selecting building products with a low embodied energy using recycled and renewable materials where possible.

Equally important was the passive solar aspect of the building's design to minimise the energy required to heat, cool and illuminate the indoor space. Energy and water efficiency considerations were paramount.

80 per cent of the electrical energy requirements are produced onsite by an 8 kW solar PV system and at least 50 per cent of the water consumed is harvested onsite and stored in a 100,000L tank.


  • Refurbish and reuse 80 per cent of an existing building including a 100,000L rainwater tank, structural steel and timbers
  • A flagship of sustainability for the community to educate children and their families about sustainable initiatives and the importance of living within the earths carrying capacity
  • Affordable and attainable
  • The creation of a natural space for children's learning and development where they can engage with the natural environment and living systems through play based experiences.
  • Passive solar design creating an energy efficient building
  • 8kW solar PV system which provides 80% of the Centre's energy requirements
  • Energy efficient appliances
  • Water efficient tap ware and appliances
  • Self-supporting insulated recyclable roof structure
  • Thermal mass provided by recycled concrete block walls and recycled slab contributes to consistent temperature in the building.
  • Low embodied energy materials used throughout including recycled concrete for the entire slab and car park; recycled concrete block for the walls; seconds bricks; cork flooring; straw acoustic panels;  partially recycled and low VOC plasterboard, LED lighting, FSC timber doors and windows, energy efficient fans, recycled wharf timbers, 8 K/W solar system, recycled hard wood fencing and sustainably harvested chemical free timber decking, reconstituted glass tiles.
  • Toxicity of products selected was assessed to minimise children's exposure to harmful chemicals: low & no VOC paints; formaldehyde free cabinetry and shelving using sustainably harvested birch ply with soy based glue; chemical free timbers

Jury Citation

“There are so many great sustainability features wrapped into this project. The passive design principles, low-energy under floor heating and heavy focus on natural, low VOC materials and finishes is good to see, as is the recycled content in steel, concrete and reconstituted glass bench tops, and the 100kL rainwater tank and 8kW solar array.

“The designers have created a fantastic environment for children and demonstrated a very considered approach to selection of building products and materials.

“Kids benefit so much from play spaces that are both natural and human, and obviously without toxicity risks. Earth Kids does that, and looks fun and inviting at the same time.” 

cedar_finalists-1.pngThe award for Small Commercial was proudly sponsored by Cedar Sales