Incorporating Passive Design To Create Sustainable Suburban Homes

At Central Avenue Homes we endeavour to use passive design principles so our clients benefit from comfortable environment and lower heating and cooling costs. Throughout this blog series we will discuss what Passive Design is, the key principles and how they can be implemented into your new home design.

Sustainable design - passive design

We encourage our clients to explore this topic further by visiting Your Home, an Australia government website that promotes environmentally sustainable homes. Below is an exert from Your Home that defines Passive design and the ethos of the design movement;

Passive Design

Passive design takes advantage of the climate to maintain a comfortable temperature range in the home, that reduces or eliminates the need for auxiliary heating or cooling, which accounts for about 40% (or much more in some climates) of energy use in the average Australian home.

The importance of passive design cannot be overstated. Paying attention to the principles of good passive design suitable for your climate effectively ‘locks in’ thermal comfort, low heating and cooling bills, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions for the life span of your home.

Passive design utilises natural sources of heating and cooling, such as the sun and cooling breezes. It is achieved by appropriately orientating your building on its site and carefully designing the building envelope (roof, walls, windows and floors of a home). Well-designed building envelopes minimise unwanted heat gain and loss.

The most economical time to achieve good passive design in a home is when initially designing and building it. However, substantial renovations to an existing home can also offer a cost effective opportunity to upgrade thermal comfort — even small upgrades can deliver significant improvements. If you’re buying a new home or apartment, assess its prospects for thermal comfort and/or ability to be cost effectively upgraded to reflect good passive design principles in its climate.

For best results, ‘passive’ homes need ‘active’ users — people with a basic understanding of how the home works with the daily and seasonal climate, such as when to open or close windows, and how to operate adjustable shading.

A number of different and interrelated strategies contribute to good passive design, each the subject of an article in this section. Passive design strategies vary with climate, as explained in more detail in Design for climate. The best mix of passive design strategies also varies depending on the particular attributes of your site. Choose a designer who is experienced in passive design for your climate and consider engaging a thermal performance expert to model different design options using thermal performance software.

Good passive design is critical to achieving a lifetime of thermal comfort, low energy bills and low greenhouse gas emissions.

Caitlin McGee 2013, Passive Design, Commonwealth of Australia Department of the Environment and Energy 2016

Your Home:  Australia’s guide to environmentally sustainable homes

Sustainable Design

It is integral that Passive Design is the platform you design your new home around ensuring the best results are achieved. In this blog series we will explore each principle in detail and work through examples of how we have implemented these into a functional design.