First Review: Eco House Challenge

SBS doesn’t often stray into the land of reality, but for the sake of a greener planet it’s happily wearing Eco House Challenge on its green sleeve.

Filmed in Perth, this series asks two families to forgo the comforts of modern living: energy, water, transport and waste.

This isn’t Earth Hour, it’s Earth Week.

After 24 hours, one “eco hotspot” is returned to the family until they adjust to its use in sync with sustainability levels. Yikes.

In the first episode we watch how the families live without power, water, use of their cars and no refuse. They store water in buckets and use it sparingly in the kitchen, bathroom and toilet. It’s not pretty.

One family goes through an endurance, barely coping with the restrictions. When one of the children has a birthday his father struggles to keep the occasion from falling apart. It makes you wonder why they signed up in the first place.

The other family relishes the challenge and attacks it with the unified determination of the Griswalds. The father dons a “SuperDad” approach to it all, mapping out every movement for the family like a drill sergeant.


The families are assisted by Glenn, “The Guy in Charge of the Challenge” and environment campaigner Tanya Ha.

While watching this series, and hearing about how we as individuals overuse our required consumption, I felt decidedly guilty and ran around the house turning off every extra light. I can’t admit my renewed dilligence lasted but no doubt some bean counter will tell me I made a difference.

Meanwhile SBS makes a difference from it’s usual bout of anti-American documentaries and European movies to bring Eco House Challenge to all of us. Just don’t expect to vote somebody out

Eco House Challenge airs 7:30pm Wednesday April 11 on SBS.

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