Passive Heating & Cooling Hacks for Building a New Home

One of the perks of building a new home is that you can incorporate energy efficient materials and designs to create a more comfortable living environment and save money on heating or cooling in the long term.

Passive design is an approach which takes advantage of the climate to regulate the temperature range in your home. It reduces the need for auxiliary heating or cooling, which accounts for about 40% or more of energy use in an average Australian home.

There are many elements in passive design which work together to lower your electricity bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Both passive heating and cooling are applicable across Australia, but the emphasis will differ depending on your climate zone.

Stocksy_txp63cc60a2p2z000_Small_468677Credit: Master Builders Association


Passive Solar Heating: Letting in the winter sun to retain heat inside the house.

Maximise solar heat gain

– Include north facing windows to let in the sun
– Allow the sunlight to fall on materials with high thermal mass (e.g. concrete, bricks and tiles), which can store heat for later release
– Choose a floor plan where the areas with high traffic (e.g. living area) face north and receive the best winter solar access
– Choose a floor plan with less external wall area, which makes it easier to heat the whole area.

Reduce solar heat loss

– Include well-insulated walls, ceilings and suspended floors
– Consider glazing to prevent heat loss through cold outside air
– Reduce air infiltration with airlock (a buffer zone for the internal and external environment), airtight construction detailing and quality windows and doors




Passive Cooling: keeping out the summer sun and allow the built up heat to escape

Minimise solar heat gain

– Use reflect coating on windows, exterior walls and roofs
– Use lighter coloured roofs to reflect heat
– Include carefully designed overhangs to avoid direct summer sun
– Selectively use materials with a low thermal mass to avoid storing too much heat (e.g. timber)
– Choose a floor plan with the garage or buffer zones (stairs, corridors, laundry) on the west side of the house to protect the most occupied spaces from hot afternoon sun
– Consider upgrading the insulation offered by your builder

Increase solar heat loss

– Choose a floor plan with a narrow or open plan layout to encourage air movement
– Install a solar chimney for natural convection

Other things to consider are the block attributes. Engage with a builder or expert who has in-depth knowledge and experience about passive design, and find out the costs involved.


Related Articles:

6 Steps for Choosing a Floor Plan with Good Feng Shui

8 Things to Consider for a Great Alfresco Area

Eliminate hidden costs, become the expert on inclusions

Zoe Langenberg

Zoe is passionate about coffee and interior design. You can find her most weekends exploring an art gallery or devouring a good book.


iBuildNew is the market leading aggregator dedicated to residential home construction and land development. As an independent platform, iBuildNew helps Australians identify and compare new home designs, house and land packages and land estates. It’s the smart way home buyers, who are considering a new build, can find the ideal options to match their individual needs. Home building is a big decision, we make sure you get it right.

You may also like

Feb 04, 2020

Building A New Home? Make It Sustainable!

If you’re thinking of building a new home, there are many reasons why you should make i...
Read More
Feb 03, 2020

Declutter Your Garden With These Simple Tips

Summer is the season of fresh starts and many of us are using the sun-soaked hours to f...
Read More
Jan 15, 2020

The War Of The Baths: Freestanding VS Built-In

Bathroom fixtures and decor have come a long way over the past few design decades. In f...
Read More
Jan 15, 2020

How To Prepare Your Home For Bushfires

While there is no denying the beauty of Australia's rural living, bushfires are unfortu...
Read More
Jan 29, 2020

Home Organisation Ideas For Back To School Season

The summer school holidays is a period filled with excitement and relaxation. But is al...
Read More
Feb 04, 2020

How To: Choose The Right Window Design To Transform ...

Choosing the right window design is about more than just aesthetics. Windows can transf...
Read More
Jan 21, 2020

How To: Choose A Colour Palette For Your New Home De...

Choosing the right colour palette can be one of the most daunting steps of designing a ...
Read More

Get more from

Browse New Home Designs