Designing for Sustainable Living - Teachers Place


Sustainable design

Designing and constructing your home to perform more sustainably will ensure it meets your needs both now and into the future with changes in your lifestyle, providing both greater comfort and lower ongoing costs.

Further information can be accessed through the following links:

Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection

Your Home – Resources for building and renovating Australian homes

Queensland Government’s Department of Housing and Public Works

Smart and Sustainable Homes: Design Objectives

Sustainable living

Sustainable living is a way of living that minimises our ecological footprint or, in other words, the overall impact that we have on the environment. Sustainable living involves more than just having a home that is designed to minimise energy and water consumption. It involves designing a house that will continue meeting our needs as we go through the various stages of our lives from living together as a couple, through being a family with children, through to our senior years, while also facilitating a normal life style for persons who may have a physically impairment. It also means considering the energy embedded in materials during their manufacture. Most importantly, sustainable living is a lifestyle issue, involving a broad range of lifestyle considerations such as minimising the amount of waste that we generate, our transport choices, and our consumption patterns or purchasing choices.

Further information is available via the following links    

Australian Government: Living Greener

Australian Conservation Foundation: GreenHome


All living things depend on water to survive. It is an essential and scarce resource, but one that too few people use responsibly. Australians live on the driest inhabited continent on earth, yet are the greatest consumers of water worldwide. You can help save water by becoming more water-wise.

The following links provide further information on water conservation:

Australian Government: Living Greener

NSW Government’s Department of Environment & Heritage

Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme


Sustainable Living Guide: Water efficient gardening

The savewater!® Alliance  

Water Services Association of Australia  

Brisbane City Council: Water smart homes


Our economy is energy driven, while our current lifestyles and home comfort are also very energy intensive. In Australia, electricity generation is predominantly derived from the burning of non-renewable fossil fuel (coal, oil and gas) with the resultant emission of large quantities of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Australia’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are the highest of any OECD country (Garnaut 2008). It is generally accepted by the scientific community that the increasingly high levels of such greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are resulting in the warming of the planet.

Household energy consumption makes up a significant proportion of Australia’s overall greenhouse gas emissions with direct emissions (including transport) for the residential sector being around nine or ten per cent of total emissions.  Electricity usage of the typical household accounts for around 50 per cent of its overall greenhouse gas emissions.  

The benefits of having an energy efficient home include reduced energy costs and a higher level of comfort.

The following references provide further information relating to energy:

Australian Government: Living Greener 

Australian Energy Regulator: Energy Made Easy: Energy efficiency

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Energy in focus: Energy efficiency of Australian homes, April 2010

CSIRO: Saving energy in your home

Australian Government’s Department of Industry: Energy efficiency

Australian Conservation Foundation: GreenHome: Save energy

Origin Energy: Energy saving tips

Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program  


NatHERS – Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme

South Australian Government’s Department for manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy

Saving energy at home

Australian Window Association: Window Energy Rating Scheme


A Smart House is more socially sustainable in the following ways:


Safety is about preventing injuries in and around the home.

Features such as reduced-slip flooring, a lockable cabinet for storing poisons and medicine, and ensuring that the kitchen is not also a passageway can improve safety in the home.

Kidsafe – Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission: Product Safety Australia

Royal Life Saving Society – Australia: Home pool safety

Fire & Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia

Bush Fire Survival Manual


Security is about using design and fixtures or fittings to reduce crime.

Security screens on doors and windows, adequate lighting of all doors that open to the outside, and being able to see unwelcome intruders from inside the home will improve security.

Queensland Police: Crime prevention through environmental design

Universal Design

A universally designed home is flexible and comfortable for people with varying abilities and at different stages in their lives.

Wide hallways and doorways, level entries to the house and main living areas, and at least one bathroom/toilet and one bedroom accessible for a person with restricted mobility are some of the features of a universally designed home.

Livable Housing Australia

Livable Housing Design Guidelines

Western Australian Government: Disability Services Commission

Liveable Homes


Australian Network for Universal Housing Design (ANUHD)


Universal housing design guidelines fact sheet

HIA GreenSmart

Universal Design: Principles and Practice: Factsheet