From Blueprints to Energy Savings: Designing an Australian 6-Star Home

Designing an energy-efficient home is becoming increasingly important in today’s world. Not only does it help to reduce your carbon footprint, but it also saves you money on energy bills in the long run. In Australia, the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) rates homes on a scale of 0 to 10 stars, with 6 stars being the minimum standard for new homes in most states and territories. Achieving a 6-star rating requires careful planning and design considerations. Here are some tips on how to design your home to achieve a 6-star efficiency rating.

Orientation is Key

The orientation of your home plays a vital role in determining its energy efficiency. For homeowners in Australia, a north-facing orientation is recommended because it allows for maximum solar access, which can help warm your home during the winter months. However, the optimal orientation for your home may vary depending on your location, climate, and site conditions. An experienced architect or designer can help you determine the best orientation for your home based on these factors.

In addition to maximizing solar access, orientation can also impact the overall performance of your home. For example, an east-facing orientation can be beneficial for capturing morning sunlight, while a west-facing orientation can be better for capturing afternoon sunlight. Careful consideration of your home’s orientation can help you maximize natural light and minimize the need for artificial lighting, reducing your energy consumption and energy bills.

When designing or renovating your home, it’s important to take into account the impact of its orientation on energy efficiency. A skilled building designer can work with you to create a design that maximizes natural light, optimizes solar access, and ultimately reduces your environmental footprint.

Insulate, Insulate, Insulate

Proper insulation is crucial for maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature and reducing energy consumption. To prevent heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer, it’s important to insulate your walls, ceilings, and floors. Materials such as batts, blankets, and foam can create an effective thermal barrier for your home. With proper insulation, you can ensure that your home stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter, while reducing your energy bills and minimizing your environmental impact.

Invest in Double-Glazed Windows

If you want to improve the energy efficiency of your home, double-glazed windows are a smart choice. These windows work by reducing heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer, as well as reducing noise pollution. To further enhance the insulating properties of your windows, you can opt for low-emissivity (low-e) coatings. With these features, your windows can help to keep your home comfortable year-round, while also reducing your energy bills and creating a quieter living environment.

Incorporate Passive Solar Design

Passive solar design is an approach that maximizes the use of natural energy from the sun to heat and cool your home. This design approach involves strategic placement of windows, thermal mass, and insulation to maximize solar gain in winter and minimize it in summer. By incorporating passive solar design principles into your home, you can significantly reduce your energy consumption.

Maximize Natural Light

Maximizing natural light in your home is an excellent way to reduce your electricity usage while enhancing the look and feel of your living space. By integrating skylights, windows, and glazed doors into your design, you can take advantage of this free and sustainable source of lighting. Creating an open floor plan is another effective strategy for allowing natural light to flow through your home, reducing the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours. Not only will these techniques save energy and reduce your utility bills, but they can also contribute to a healthier and more inviting living environment.

Choose Energy-Efficient Appliances

By choosing energy-efficient appliances for your home, you can save money on your energy bills while reducing your environmental impact. For optimal energy savings, opt for appliances with high energy star ratings, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines, as well as energy-efficient heat pump dryers. Another way to cut back on energy usage is to skip the dryer and hang your clothes to dry on a clothesline. These simple changes can add up to significant energy savings over time, making your home more eco-friendly and cost-effective.

In conclusion, designing an energy-efficient home is not only good for the environment but also for your wallet. By following these tips, you can design a home that achieves a 6-star energy efficiency rating in Australia. However, it’s important to note that achieving a 6-star rating is just the beginning. There are many ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home further, such as incorporating renewable energy sources like solar panels. If you’d like to speak with somebody to help design a more energy efficient home, speak with us today so we can help you achieve your energy efficiency goals.

Building Blocks: The Difference Between Building and Planning Permits

When it comes to building or renovating a property in Australia, it’s essential to obtain the necessary permits from the local council or regulatory authority. Two of the most common permits required are building permits and planning permits. While they may seem similar, there are key differences between the two that homeowners and developers should understand.

Building Permits

A building permit is a legal requirement for any construction work that involves the alteration, demolition or building of a structure. This permit ensures that the construction project complies with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and any relevant state or territory legislation. Building permits are issued by the local council or a private building surveyor who has been authorized by the council to issue permits.

Planning Permits

On the other hand, a planning permit is required for any development that requires a change to the land use or affects the surrounding area. This permit assesses the impact of the proposed development on the local community and environment, including factors such as noise, traffic, and heritage values. Planning permits are issued by the local council or a planning authority in the state or territory.

One of the key differences between building and planning permits is their purpose. A building permit is concerned with the technical aspects of construction, such as ensuring that the structure meets safety and quality standards. A planning permit, on the other hand, is focused on the impact of the development on the surrounding area and community.

Another difference is the timeline for obtaining the permits. Generally, a building permit is required before construction work can begin, while a planning permit is required before the application for a building permit can be made. This means that the planning process can be lengthier, as it involves a more comprehensive assessment of the proposed development.

In conclusion, building permits and planning permits are both essential for construction and development projects in Australia. Understanding the difference between the two permits can help homeowners and developers navigate the regulatory process more efficiently and effectively. It’s recommended to consult with a professional such as a building surveyor or town planner to ensure compliance with all relevant legislation and regulations, or contact us today to speak with us about your upcoming project.

Navigate with Confidence: A Practical Guide to Council Permit Planning

Are you planning to build or renovate your home? If so, obtaining the necessary permits from your local council is a crucial step in the process. While it can seem daunting, it’s important to understand the steps involved and what to expect. Here are some tips for dealing with council for permit planning:

1. Understand the Planning Scheme

Before you begin planning your project, research the planning scheme for your area. This will give you an idea of what types of development are allowed and what restrictions apply. You can find this information on your council’s website or by visiting your local planning office.

Click on your state below to locate your local council:



New South Wales


2. Engage a Professional

Engaging a professional, such as an draftsperson, architect or town planner, can help ensure that your plans meet council requirements. They can also assist with preparing the necessary documentation and submitting your application to council. They have the expertise to guide you through the process and ensure that your plans are in line with council requirements. Depending on the scope of your project and local council, you may require a building or planning permit (or even both).

3. Prepare Your Application

Your application will need to include detailed plans and specifications, as well as any other information required by council. Be sure to double-check that you have included everything that is needed, as incomplete applications will be delayed. If you are unsure about what to include, consult with your draftsperson, architect or town planner.

4. Lodge Your Application

Once your application is complete, submit it to your local council. You can do this online or in person. Councils typically have a statutory time limit for assessing applications, so be sure to check what this is and follow up if you haven’t received a response within the timeframe. The process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the complexity of the project.

5. Respond to Requests for Information

Councils may request additional information (RFI – Request for Information) or clarification about your plans during the assessment process. Respond to these requests as quickly as possible, as delays can hold up the approval process. Working with your draftsperson, architect or town planner can help you respond promptly and effectively.

6. Obtain Approval

If your application is approved, you will receive a permit. Be sure to read this carefully and ensure that you comply with any conditions attached to it. If your application is refused, you can appeal the decision or make changes to your plans and resubmit your application. Obtaining approval is an important step in the process, as it allows you to move forward with your project.

If you need assistance with council permit planning, consider engaging a professional draftsperson, architect or town planner to guide you through the process. They have the expertise to help ensure that your plans meet council requirements and that your application is complete and accurate. With their assistance, you can navigate the process with confidence and increase your chances of obtaining approval for your project.

Don’t let the permit planning process hold you back from achieving your building or renovation goals. Contact us today and start preparing for success!

Greening Your Home: Simple and Effective Ways to Save Energy

As energy costs continue to rise, homeowners are looking for ways to save money and reduce their carbon footprint. One of the best ways to do this is by making your home more energy efficient. Here are some tips on how to make your home more energy efficient.

Insulate Your Home

One of the biggest ways to reduce energy consumption is by insulating your home. Insulation helps keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer. This means that your home will require less energy to keep a comfortable temperature. You should start by insulating your attic, as this is where most of the heat is lost. You can also insulate your walls and floors.

Replace Your Windows

Old windows are often a major source of heat loss. Replacing your windows with energy-efficient ones can help reduce your energy consumption. Look for windows that have a low U-factor, which measures how well a window prevents heat from escaping. You should also consider double-paned windows, which are more energy-efficient than single-paned ones.

Upgrade Your Appliances

Old appliances are often energy hogs. Upgrading to Energy Star-rated appliances can help reduce your energy consumption. These appliances are designed to use less energy while still providing the same level of performance. Look for appliances with the Energy Star logo when you’re shopping for new ones.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can help you save energy by automatically adjusting your home’s temperature based on your schedule. For example, you can set it to turn down the heat when you’re at work and turn it up when you’re home. This can help reduce your energy consumption and save you money on your heating bills.

Use LED Light Bulbs

LED light bulbs are more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. They use less energy and last longer, which means you’ll save money on your energy bills and on replacement bulbs. You can also install dimmer switches to help further reduce your energy consumption.

Seal Air Leaks

Air leaks can be a major source of heat loss in your home. You can use caulk and weatherstripping to seal air leaks around doors and windows. You should also check for air leaks around electrical outlets, light fixtures, and other areas where there are gaps between your walls and your home’s exterior.

Making your home more energy-efficient can help you save money on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. There are many ways to do this, including insulating your home, replacing your windows, upgrading your appliances, installing a programmable thermostat, using LED light bulbs, and sealing air leaks. By taking these steps, you can make your home more comfortable and more sustainable.

If you’re interested in learning more about energy-efficient home design or want to work with an architect to create a more sustainable home, contact us today. We can help you design a home that meets your needs while also being energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

Maximizing Efficiency: The Benefits Of BIM In Architectural Drafting


Architectural drafting using Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a process that involves the creation of a virtual model of a building or structure. Unlike traditional drafting methods that only create 2D drawings, BIM allows for the creation of 3D models that can be used to analyze various aspects of the design, such as structure, lighting, and energy efficiency.

The process of architectural drafting using BIM typically begins with the creation of a digital model of the building. This model can then be used to create detailed plans, sections, and elevations, as well as 3D models of the building.

BIM also allows for the creation of detailed schedules, cost estimates, and other documentation that can be used to manage the construction process. By incorporating information from various disciplines, such as architecture, engineering, and construction, BIM can provide a comprehensive view of the project that can help minimize errors and reduce the risk of costly mistakes.

Another benefit of architectural drafting using BIM is the ability to collaborate with other stakeholders in the project. With BIM, designers, architects, and contractors can all work on the same model, making changes and adjustments in real-time. This can lead to faster project completion times and increased efficiency throughout the construction process.

In conclusion, architectural drafting using BIM is a powerful tool that can help architects, designers, and contractors create accurate, detailed, and comprehensive models of buildings and structures. By streamlining the design process, reducing errors, and increasing collaboration, BIM can help ensure project success and lead to a smoother and more efficient construction process.

To learn more about how BIM can benefit your construction project, contact us today. Our team of experienced drafters and designers is committed to providing high-quality drafting services that meet your specific needs and requirements. Let us help you bring your vision to life.