Designing your home to look good, without any real consideration of the environment, is not OK anymore.

There is a still a lack of understanding about what makes a home more environmentally sustainable – amongst professionals, trades and also homeowners.

I find that most people think that a sustainable home is designed with expensive or high technology environmental features, such as green walls or roof solar panels. Many of the common-sense basics listed below are overlooked

Only after you have all those basic common sense decisions right, then you can start to think about some expensive high tech or environmental add ons. If you don’t have the budget, then don’t because it’s all the common sense decisions that will make the most difference.

I set up Renovation Collaborative to join forces with colleagues in the industry and home owners trying to make

The basics of smart environmental design add substantial value to property, both now and into the future:

  • Smart functional floor plan layouts that support the way the occupants actually live day to day, as well as providing flexibility to grow and change.
  • design that is responsive to the local climate, with plenty of natural light to make the house comfortable all year round.
  • low maintenance materials and systems so the owners spend more time enjoying life than maintaining their home!
  • energy & water efficient solutions. creative but timeless style that won’t date.
  • selection of locally made and more environmentally responsible materials and products.

Learn smart, practical things you can do to make your home more comfortable, valuable and future proof in

Course 1. Environmental Design: Common sense basics you didn’t know.

it’s free!
Make the best decisions you can for your family, your lifestyle, your budget, and our world.

Globally, buildings and construction account for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions whilst also having a significant impact on our natural habitats.

Australian Architects Declare

Design with the Environment In Mind


  • Efficient floor plan:
    aim for an internal
    floor area of 60m2
    per person maximum.
  • Smart minimal details.


  • Timber products are
    our first preference.
  • Recycled timber &
    locally grown
    plantation timber.


  • Climate Responsive & Passive House.
  • All electric & energy efficient.
  • Solar Power.


  • Australian, New
    Zealand grown & manufactured.
  • Low embodied


  • This might be just
    your internal fitout or
    the whole building.
  • Factory waste is
    readily reused &


  • Reuse & refurbish
    existing buildings.
  • Less manufacturing =
    Less waste to landfill.


  • Rainwater collection.
  • Greywater &
    Blackwater reuse.


  • Green walls & roof
  • Smaller building
    footprint = more
    space for nature.


  • Fresh air & healthy
  • No toxic emissions in
    manufacture & use.


  • Durable materials suited
    to your climate zone.
  • Less waste to landfill.
  • Less manufacturing =
    Less waste to landfill.

Climate Responsive Design & Certified Passiv Haus

I am a Certified Passiv Haus Designer.

Climate responsive design means designing your home to suit your local climate. It uses appropriate thermal insulation, windows, solar access & shading, natural ventilation and thermal mass.

Being responsive to the climate makes your home much more comfortable and energy efficient to live in. Climate responsive houses rely on you to open and close windows and blinds to control the temperature in your home over the course of the day.

Climate responsive houses and Passiv Haus’s are similar in how they are designed to suit the local climate, but the Passiv Haus system also improves fresh air quality and takes thermal comfort and energy efficiency it to the next level.

Certified Passive House is a voluntary international standard for constructing buildings to deliver a healthy indoor environment that is comfortable in temperature and humidity. The system design includes carefully selected thermal insulation, windows, solar access & shading, airtightness, heat recovery ventilation and renewable based energy system. Because Passiv Haus buildings are so airtight and insulated, they use very little energy to heat or cool, thereby being very cost effective to run. They also filter fresh air coming into your home, keeping out air pollution and pollens which is great in urban environments. They are fully automated so you don’t need to think about opening or closing windows or pulling down blinds to control your indoor temperature.

Having your house certified is optional. You can design a hybrid that implements most of the principles and still delivers 80% of the energy saving and air quality benefits. This approach also lets you open the house and use the outdoor air temperature and breezes for part of the year when the outside temperatures are comfortable around 23 deg C.


Many Architects in Australia and across the world have come together in a movement called Architects Declare. They have agreed to share knowledge and do what they can to help tackle climate change.

‘For everyone working in the construction industry, meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in our behaviour. The research and technology exist for us to begin that transformation now, but what has been lacking is collective will.’

Australian Architects Declare June 2019

Skyring Architects
are a signatory to Australian Architects Declare