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Environmentally Sustainable Design

Environmentally Sustainable Design endeavours to reduce the impacts of the construction and use of buildings on the natural environment, in addition to improving the comfort of inhabitants. When purchasing an existing house, renovating or building a new home, there are many simple design principles that enhance the sustainability of a home.

Sustainable design is aimed at keeping houses cool in summer and warm in winter to reduce energy use. Up to 40% of energy use in the home is used for heating and cooling.

Passive solar design is a major component of sustainable design. Designs should:

  • orientate the building to the north to allow solar gain in winter
  • orientate the building to allow for cooling breezes to cool the house in summer
  • provide thermal mass to store heat and radiate heat at night
  • provide shading of summer sun through the use of eaves and shading of the sun from the west and east through vegetation, blinds or shutters.

Sustainable design is also about designing buildings with people in mind. This includes:

  • ensuring accessibility for the young and aged throughout the house
  • providing non-slip surfaces
  • using products with low maintenance requirements
  • addressing the street for access and safety.

There is a range of other actions that can also enhance the sustainability of your home such as:

  • installing energy and water efficient fittings
  • purchasing water and energy efficient appliances
  • double glazing windows
  • providing natural light
  • fit-for-purpose lighting
  • installation of water tanks for harvesting water (water can be used in the garden)
  • grouping wet areas together to shorten plumbing runs
  • plan space efficiently – don’t build more than you need and make spaces adaptable.

For further information on sustainable design, visit the Your Home website

This site provides an excellent technical guide on sustainable design, renovation guide and case studies of sustainable buildings.

For information on rebates available for households, visit the Sustainability Victoria website

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