Last Updated
30 April 2020


Winner of the 2001
Sunshine Coast
Environment Council
Sustainable Building Award
Winner of an
Australian Social Entrepreneurs Network
Award in 2001:
EcoCentre –
Most Promising New Venture.


The EcoCentre is situated in Crystal Waters Permaculture Village, the UN Habitat Award winning ecovillage known the world over as a pioneer in sustainable living. Just 1.5 hours from Brisbane airport, 1 hour from the beaches of the Sunshine Coast and 30 minutes from the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Maleny, Crystal Waters is a place that is easy to reach — but hard to leave!

There are two main teaching spaces. The large 9.6m x 6m indoor teaching area is designed to fit 60 people (comfortably seated). The covered verandah teaching space is even larger, and there are also a number of ‘break out’ nooks for small group work. Situated just above the Crystal Waters Café, the building catches cooling summer breezes, avoids the worst of the winter frosts and also provides outstanding views of the surrounding rural area.

The Crystal Waters EcoCentre, built for the Global Eco-village Network Oceania/Asia (GENOA) Inc in 2001, is not only an exceptionally comfortable venue, it is also an education in itself. The architect and builder were asked to create a building that would be a top class venue for seminars, courses, movie screenings and conferences and also achieve the highest levels in environmental sustainability. An important part of their brief was that the building had to remain within a realistic budget, so that it served as a true demonstration of what could be achieved rather than an idealistic ‘dream’ example. See a series of images of the EcoCentre construction here.

The resulting rammed earth and timber building is a triumph, incorporating the latest in appropriate ‘green’ technology and passive solar design. The rammed earth walls help keep the building cooler in the heat of midsummer, and warmer in the chill of winter mornings. Winter heating is provided by an efficient wood burner. The building is powered by photovoltaic panels, which feed into the mains electricity grid. Students are able to monitor energy inputs and outputs via an interactive computer on site. The biolytic toilet system is leading edge technology, and students are able to see — and experience — that such toilet systems don’t have to be smelly or difficult to manage! Rainwater is collected from the roof and stored for use in the Crystal Waters café. All water used in the building is treated via the biolytic filter and used to irrigate plants. For detailed information, please ask for our comprehensive booklet.

Audiovisual Equipment

The EcoCentre has an excellent state-of-the-art audiovisual system, capable of providing presentations of an almost cinematic quality:

  • Remote control operated ceiling mounted multimedia projector with powerful 1000 ansi lumens
  • Large 2440 x 1830 mm (8ft x 6ft) high quality wall mounted projection screen
  • Multi System Hi Fi VHS VCR (can play PAL and NTSC video tapes)
  • Multi System DVD player
  • 60 watt mixer amplifier with 4 quality ceiling speakers
  • USB port for computer presentations (such as MS PowerPoint or digital video)
  • 46 cm TV and connected VHS VCR (PAL video tapes only)
  • Slide Projector


The EcoCentre is furnished with attractive and comfortable chairs to facilitate a better learning experience. (Nothing is more detrimental to a satisfactory learning experience than sitting on uncomfortable or rickety chairs for hours!) There are plenty of cushions for added comfort. Six trestle tables are available to be used as work or display spaces.


Two low-flush toilets serve the building. These use the latest biolytic filter waste water treatment technology. Using a worm-assisted aerobic composting process, all black and grey water from the building is treated and used as irrigation on site.

‘Mud Room’

This is a decent sized cloakroom area — with coat hooks, bench and shelf — with a laundry sink for cleaning up after hands-on or art projects.

Disabled Facilities

The building is accessible by wheelchair and one of the two toilets is fitted for wheelchair access and use.

Tea Making and Catering Facilities

The EcoCentre has a kitchenette, with sink (hot & cold water), refrigerator, hot water urn, cutlery and crockery. The EcoCentre is situated just above the Crystal Waters Café building, which contains a commercial kitchen. This can be hired by caterers (either your own or ours) as needed. Please contact us for information on this. We can arrange catering if required.

Please contact us for further details and a brochure on the EcoCentre.

See a series of webpages on the construction of the EcoCentre here.

© Ecological Solutions 2002