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Skip Navigation LinksDepartment of Housing and Public Works > Construction > Sustainability > Smart and sustainable homes > History of smart and sustainable housing

History of smart and sustainable housing

The concept of a sustainable home is not new. The Queensland Workers’ Dwellings the State Advances Act 1916, which offered grants to low income earners to build suitable homes, offered some suggestions. Workers dwellings'  the State Advances Act 1916

“…To assist applicants by providing a maximum of comfort and convenience in their homes consistent with their financial circumstances, the following suggestions are offered:

  • When about to set out the plan of your home, carefully consider the site in its relation to the dwelling proposed to be erected.
  • If possible, place the sleeping verandah on the eastern side of the building and thus gain the benefit of the morning sun.
  • Avoid a common practice of wrongly planning the position of the bathroom and thus blocking the cool evening breeze from your sleeping verandah.
  • Plan the kitchen away from the western side of the building if at all possible.
  • Arrange the position of the front and back steps (back steps particularly) so as to ensure the least possible number of steps.”

In the days before air conditioners, this Act summed up principles of sustainable design by showing ways to use fundamental passive design principles for the Queensland climate.

The old ‘Queenslanders’ and workers cottages were homes that used orientation, ventilation, shading and building materials to make them naturally cooler in summer and warmer in winter.


Last updated 05 July 2012    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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