Passive solar design

Dining room and roof windows

North facing roof windows direct sunlight onto suspended slab in the Surrey Hills house. Passive solar design uses a combination of windows, shading and thermal mass to regulate temperature inside a building. Passive solar design features include: In the northern hemisphere, south-facing windows get the sunlight. External links

Water wise garden

Sanci permaculture garden

A water wise garden can save a lot of water. Tips for creating a water wise garden: External links

LED low energy lighting

Low energy light emitting diodes (LED) can greatly reduce energy consumption associated with both domestic and commercial lighting. They can be be used for: Light Emitting Diodes are among the most energy-efficient light sources available on the market. LED lamps are already today more than five times more efficient than incandescent lamps and future technical achievements offer… Continue reading LED low energy lighting

Building energy efficiency standards

Building energy efficiency standards are regarded as an effective means of reducing or eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions of residential and commercial buildings. Australia National standards for building energy efficiency The Australian Government has conducted studies into the greenhouse gas emissions of residential and commercial buildings. These studies show that the building industry must face the… Continue reading Building energy efficiency standards

Thermal mass

Thermal mass refers to the mass of a structure that can act to retain and release heat. This is an important component of passive solar designs. Dense materials such as concrete, rammed earth, and bricks all have good thermal mass properties. Thermal mass works to regulate and dampen down temperature fluctuations in buildings. In summer, the… Continue reading Thermal mass

Shading systems

Shade cloth, Knoxfield house

Shading systems can be used to moderate temperatures in buildings. For example, in North facing windows in the Southern hemisphere and South facing windows in the Northern hemisphere can be shaded during summer to prevent excessive heating occurring in buildings. Shading systems are typically removable (or demountable) so that sunlight is used during cooler months for… Continue reading Shading systems


Insulation is a very important feature of sustainable buildings. Good insulation reduces the need to use energy for both heating and cooling. Combined with passive solar design, insulation can mean you avoid using an air conditioner at all on 40 degree Celsius days. Insulation can be retrofitted to existing buildings: See also