Posted in Home Design

Adopting Passive House Designs in Australia

Typically, homes in temperate zones would have built-in heating systems that provide warmth during winter while tropical abodes would have an air-conditioning system that cools the air inside. This over dependence on electric heaters and gas-fueled generators lies at the core of the active design mantra that architects and builders practiced for many years. Now, they’re changing their house designs to accommodate Nature and to also lower energy costs. In general, passive design principles take advantage of the local climate, the topography, and any natural source of water supply to reduce the carbon footprint of the homeowner.

Photo Credit: via Pinterest

Orient Windows and Doors Based on the Sun’s Position and Wind Direction

One of the major factors in planning for a passive home is orientation, which also takes into account the shifting wind currents and the sun’s movement across the sky. Orientation determines the direction to which the windows and doors should face to either maximize or minimize heat transfer. Often, the eastern and western areas of the house absorb more sunlight and may require heavily shaded glass on its windows and thicker insulated panels inside its walls. In addition, the longer and wider portions of the house mostly faced towards the North and South and away from the morning rays and the hot afternoon sun.

Using External Screens and Foliage for Cooling the Home

Photo Credit: via Pinterest

Meanwhile, placing narrow vents high up on the walls allows trapped heat to escape and lets in the cooling breezes common in Central Australia. Choose windows and doors that slide or retract for greater ventilation in the east and west, including areas nearer to the north. Take advantage of thick foliage from surrounding trees and tall bushes for additional shade in the southeast and southwest sides. Lastly, seal the gaps at the bottom of doors and inside window frames to prevent warmed or cooled air currents from leaking out. This further pushes down the household’s expenses on electricity.

Follow Government Standards in Building Houses

Actually, this trend in building energy-efficient homes already began many years ago. Its passive design principles mostly came from aboriginal or traditional house designs. Yet, Australia’s prominent home designers and seasoned architects have only begun a more active participation into creating sustainable communities when the state governments of Victoria and New South Wales shifted to the Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) for regional benchmarking of construction projects. As of now, passive homes make sure their building envelope conformed to the natural contours of the land and regulated the flow of air and heat throughout the house.

As Australia moves towards building energy-efficient homes and developing sustainable communities, the country’s seasoned architects are also following suit with passive house designs that make use of the natural wind and sun orientation and the surrounding foliage to regulate the temperature inside a person’s home.



Catlyn or Cat, your DIY mom blogger at your service. Check out my blog to know more about me and my life as a DIY homemaker!

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