Sustainable living

Local inspirationSustainable living events

Speaking 4 the Planet 2024

Trees: the guardians of Life - Speaking 4 the Planet competition(PDF, 3MB)

The National arts-based environmental education program, Speaking 4 the Planet is back in 2024, with the theme Trees: the guardians of life.

Young people aged 12-18 are once again invited to submit their creative entries in one of the 4 categories:

  • public speaking
  • performance poetry
  • writing
  • visual arts.

Council is sponsoring participation for youth in the Tweed, so we’re encouraging high schools and young people to express their voices.

Entries close: 26 July 2024 (National Tree Day for schools)

Winners announced:  31 August 2024

Monetary prizes are on offer for the national winners and runners up in each category. We would also like to offer you the opportunity to showcase your works at a public event.


Make sure you refer to the entry package.

The entry package contains guidelines for entry, as well as background information on the topic. Entrants need to show research and understanding about the importance of trees to Australia’s natural and urban environments.

The following Council resources may also help add local flavour to your entry:

This topic is linked to Sustainable Development Goal 15 – Life on Land.

You can submit your entries directly through the Speaking 4 The Planet national portal:

Enter now

Council's sustainability team would also like to hear if you or your school is participating this year. We can help you with promoting this event in your schools. Get in touch with Education Officer – Sustainability, Jane Moad.

Local inspiration

Local inspiration for environmentally-friendly homes and lifestyles.

Award winners

Community champions going above and beyond for sustainability.

Sustainability Awards


Local experts share their tips for sustainable homes and living.

YouTube playlist

Virtual marketplace

Local suppliers, community groups and not for profit organisations.

Find out more(PDF, 566KB)

Recommended online sustainability resources(PDF, 126KB).

Past sustainable living events

Tweed Eco Festival 2022

Tweed Eco Festival 2022 program

The Tweed Eco Festival on Sunday 13 November at Knox Park, Murwillumbah was hosted by Tweed Shire Council in close collaboration with emergency and community agencies and made possible by grant funding from the Australian Government. The focus of the event was to help people take action to be ready for natural hazards and reduce their environmental footprint.

Around 500 people joined the event throughout the day for music, markets, a chance to gather and an opportunity to share knowledge and inspiration.

Feedback from event surveys on the day highlighted people’s enthusiasm to take action on ideas ranging from being more grounded and culturally connected to country, looking after themselves for better mental health, being better fire and flood prepared, boosting backyard gardens for veggies, wildlife and bees, planting the right trees for local biodiversity, saving water and using the right bins.

One comment that summed up the day from an attendee was that they felt stronger from being part of a larger community. Together we’re supporting each other and making a difference.

The Climate Ready Tweed project was launched at the event. Council has engaged Griffith University to find out how the Tweed community wants to be supported to act on climate-related events, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions footprint and be prepared for local climate risks and impacts.

Find out how to get involved by visiting our climate change page.

Sustainable Living Home Expo 2020

We hosted our one-stop-shop event online on 1 and 2 December 2020. Nearly 100 participants pledged more than 100 significant ways they will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money on food, water, petrol and electricity bills, create comfortable homes, grow productive backyards, encourage native wildlife and strengthen our community's response and resilience to climate change.

Home Expo 2018

On Saturday 15th September 2018 more than 600 people attended the sixth annual Tweed Shire Sustainable Living Home Expo held at Kingscliff TAFE.

Attendees included both renters and home-owners looking for sustainable living options. Ninety percent of attendees surveyed identified actions they intend to take following the event to improve sustainability at home. Planned actions included steps to reduce waste, increase energy efficiency, improve biodiversity, grow backyard food gardens and save water.

Tweed children showcased their knowledge of sustainability homes and living via the Sustainable Shoebox House Design Competition. More than 50 entries were received. The competition was judged by local celebrities and stars of the reality TV show Home Rules, Kim and Michelle, who were amazed by the talent shown by Tweed Shire kids in designing their model sustainable homes.

Presentations about dolphins in Tweed estuaries, native planting, solar options for renters, energy smart actions, tiny homes, building better homes, carbon positive buildings, circular economy development hubs and carbon neutral living were well attended. There was standing room only for many of the workshops about keeping waterways healthy for insects and frogs, practical tips for healthy backyard chickens, productive suburban backyards and bee keeping. Over 150 people made their own beeswax wraps, repurposing fabric into plastic-free alternatives to cling wrap, helping households to take another step towards avoiding single use plastics and waste to landfill.

Home Expo 2017

Sustainable living really came home to roost for more many Tweed residents, when more than 1000 people attended the 2017 Living for the Future Home Expo.

The event, held at the seagulls club in Tweed Heads West on 16 September 2017, continued a rise in attendances each year and equipped most visitors with clear goals on how they could make their households more energy and cost efficient.

A survey of this year’s expo visitors revealed many people found helpful solutions and would act upon them. Sixty per cent of survey respondents left with a definite plan for their household power, recycling, food waste or building plans.

A quarter of survey respondents would pursue options for renewable energy or improved energy efficiency. The high proportion of newcomers to the 2017 expo was also very encouraging, continuing to spread the message about the sustainable living options that can bring substantial benefits to households, as well as benefits to the broader community.

Return visitors to the expo shared details about the positive changes they have made since previous events. 77 per cent of return visitors gave examples of how they had taken information from earlier Living for the Future Home Expo events and put it into practice.

The community’s large appetite for design and construction tips was evident in the large crowds at many of the event’s workshops. Sessions on alternative building materials, such as bamboo and hemp, attracted some of the day’s largest attendances. That interest continued when many people signed up to ‘speed date’ a designer, to get advice for their own projects.

A workshop on the evolution of eBikes was also extremely popular, inspiring many people to take one of the electric bikes for a test ride.

The top prize in the 2017 Sustainable House Day Design Awards, this year hosted at the Home Expo, was claimed by Ballina and Brisbane-based firm Aardvarc. Its winning design in the Professional Category focused on recycling Murwillumbah’s industrial materials, in line with the competitions to use locally-sourced materials for a sustainable house.

Visit Council’s YouTube page to see clips from this year’s workshop presenters.

Home Expo 2016

There's a big appetite in the Tweed for money-saving food preparation tips, smaller dwellings and more sustainable home and lifestyle options in general, if attendances at the Living for the Future Home Expo on 3 September 2016 are any indication.

More than 1000 people headed to Seagulls Club in Tweed Heads West for this year's expo, with a Tiny Homes workshop and Love Food Hate Waste cooking demonstrations attracting some of the day's biggest crowds.

A full house for the ‘Tiny Homes – Big Impact(PDF, 1MB) ’ workshop showed there's a lot of local interest for smaller dwellings, for more affordable housing, to reduce the environmental footprint of Tweed homes or simply to suit people's lifestyles. Participants in the workshop were impressed by clever design and building approaches to make small homes increasingly comfortable and practical.

More Tweed households are set to have their own beehives, following the workshops on native and European bees, while a number of people helped Tweed Landcare plant trees to create a Green Cathedral on the Tweed River foreshore.

There was also great interest a selected display of tiny homes models from the 2016 Northern Rivers Sustainable House Day Design Competition.

Check out the Home Expo Flyer(PDF, 295KB) and the list of over 40 stallholders(PDF, 226KB) which provided visitors with simple solutions to save costs, support local businesses, shape our community and make a positive contribution to the environment.  See the list of Talks and Workshop(PDF, 466KB)

Over 100 visitors had an opportunity to ride in BMW i3 electric cars, while many others took the opportunity to ask questions at the Gold Coast BMW display of other purely electric, plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV) and standard hybrid vehicles.

Podcasts of the event and key workshops are available on Council's YouTube channel

Video links:
2016 Home Expo Video  -  Tiny Homes Workshop Video  -  Native Bees Workshop Video  -  Solar PV Battery Workshop Video  -  European Bees Workshop Video

Home Expo 2015

The 2015 Home Expo was held at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre on Saturday 12 September from 9am – 2pm (NSW time).

Workshop Flyer(PDF, 548KB) - Stallholders Poster(PDF, 1MB) - Stallholders List(PDF, 423KB)

The 2015 event included:

  • Over 500 visitors, including more than 350 people who hadn’t been to previous Tweed sustainability home expo events
  • Ideas and pledges from over 70% of visitors to:
    • become a member of the Backyard Habitat for Wildlife program
    • be a Wildlife Friendly Pet owner
    • make homes more resilient to storms, design new homes and renovations to make the most of the local climate and be energy efficient and use building materials with a low environmental footprint
    • improve backyard habitat
    • enhance recycling efforts, set up a worm farm or compost bin, take e-waste to Sort Murwillumbah for recycling
    • start growing food and set up vertical gardens
    • do more to enhance water efficiency and reduce chemical use around the home
    • improve general awareness about sustainability issues

9 workshops including presentations from:

  • 35 stallholders from local businesses, community groups and Council programs to give advice on everything from alternative building systems, healthy soils, locally designed and made solar power battery storage, green cleaning options, wall coverings, through to the best water and heat tolerant lawn options optimised for Tweed conditions
  • 5 of the 15 entries to the regional ‘Housing for Life’ Sustainable Design competition were on display
  • Over 20 prize draws including a 1.5kw solar panel system and installation valued at $3,500 from SAE Tweed

Further video information:
2015 Home Expo video  -  Going off the Grid video  -  Goodbye to the Backyard video  -  The Story of My Sustainable House

Home Expo 2014

More than 350 people braved a wet and windy day to visit the 2014 'Living for the Future' Home Expo at Tweed Heads Civic Centre on Saturday 23 August.

The fun, free, family-friendly event celebrated eco-living at home, with an exciting program(PDF, 141KB) , an appearance by former Ironman champion Trevor Hendy, and some fantastic prizes on offer, including a 1.5 kilowatt solar power system from SAE Group.

Visitors to the event connected with local experts(PDF, 694KB) from more than 20 local businesses, community groups and Council programs to access information, products and services to help them save money and make their homes healthier, more comfortable and environmentally-friendly.

A series of free workshops(PDF, 343KB) was also run throughout the day, offering tips on everything from bee-keeping and backyard biodiversity to designing homes that make the most of our beautiful Northern Rivers climate.

On behalf of the organising team, thank you to everyone who was involved in making the event such a great success.

For further information about the Home Expo, please contact Council's Sustainability Program Leader on 02 6670 2400

Home Expo 2013

Council convened the inaugural Living for the Future Home Expo and Community Summit on Saturday 16 November 2013 at the Tweed Heads Civic Centre.

Home Expo Flyer(PDF, 3MB)   -  Home Expo Presenters(PDF, 94KB)  

More than 600 people turned out to learn about smart housing design, renovations and sustainable living.

Presentations by a panel of local experts including architects, designers and sustainability leaders highlight opportunities to improve sustainability in the Tweed and more than 30 local stallholders were on hand to provide advice on the best products and services to:

  • save energy costs
  • be water efficient
  • reuse resources and reduce waste
  • enhance the local environment
  • cut greenhouse gas emissions
  • make households more self-sufficient in food or energy
  • make homes more liveable as people get older or lose mobility