Designing a Sustainable Home

7 Steps

to Designing a Sustainable Home

Most homes (designed & built) work against the climate rather than with it. It has become imperative for home design to incorporate elements that create more sustainable development and minimize impact on the environment.

Sustainable residential design results in benefits for the householder, the community and the environment, including:

  • Reduced energy and water costs in the home;
  • Greater natural comfort and amenities for building occupants;
  • Conservation of water supplies; and
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainable Houses have (7) key considerations that you should discuss with your Designer early to ensure that your home is designed & constructed sustainably.

Planning for these features at the outset of planning your home is much more cost effective than seeking to incorporate them after the building is complete. Including these features will reduce your energy and water costs.

A SUSTAINABLE house or green home is a home that is highly energy and water-efficient, thermally comfortable, and constructed with sustainable materials.

What is Sustainable Design?

Sustainable Design (also called environmentally sustainable design, environmentally conscious design, etc.) is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with social, economic, and ecological sustainability principles.

Why Sustainable Design is important?

Green Building Design, or sustainable design, is the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings and their sites use energy, water, and materials and of reducing impacts on human health and the environment for the entire lifecycle of a building.

Sustainability is no longer a luxury; sustainable building design is a necessity. There are many different ways to make a building sustainable. Reducing energy needs and using renewable energy are at the core of sustainable home design.


Properly oriented buildings take advantage of the sun’s seasonal movements by allowing the winter sun into the building to warm it and provide light while minimising the effects of the hot summer sun.


Glazing has a major impact on the energy efficiency of the building envelope. Poorly designed windows and skylights… can make your home too hot or too cold.


Insulation is a barrier to heat flow and is essential to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer. A well-insulated and well-designed home will provide year-round comfort, cutting cooling and heating bills. GO BEYOND “BASIX”, NaTHERS, ABSA Certification.


Choosing the most appropriate energy source can significantly reduce your energy bills and improve the environmental performance of your home. Design the home layout so that living areas can be closed off from other areas to reduce the need to heat artificially or cool spaces and to avoid the need to heat or cool the whole home. With Open Plan Living, make provisions for areas that can be closed off.


Natural ventilation relies on natural air movement and reduces the need for mechanical ventilation and air conditioning. It keeps fresh air circulating and prevents moisture from building up inside the home, maintaining air quality and ensuring the home doesn’t become stuffy.


Available freshwater resources have been declining & will continue to do so with the changes to rainfall patterns and global climate change. Simple changes can reduce the pressure on water supplies.


The types of materials selected at the design stage of building a home will fundamentally impact its longer-term sustainability. These choices have implications for saving energy and improving bushfire resilience and comfort. Building materials typically considered ‘green’ include renewable plant materials like straw and mud brick, timber from forests certified to be sustainably managed, recycled materials and other non-toxic, reusable and renewable products.