Design Service

The design of housing should include solar & passive design principles. This results in low energy use over the lifespan of the building. This reduces the impact of the building on the environment. We can help you design your sustainable dream home.

Our design motto is “Think Big Live Small”. A building design that leaves a lasting impression without environmental impact. Reshaping the space that shapes us.

In simple terms, a passive solar home collects heat as the sun shines and retains it in materials that store heat, known as thermal mass. Well-designed passive solar homes provide natural light all year. Comfort during the summer through the use of cross ventilation.”. *In this attachment they refer to south facing windows as the orientation for sun however in the the southern hemisphere  north facing applies.

Step 1: Preliminary research

  • examining your current home and lifestyle
  • developing your design brief
  • deciding your baseline budget
  • exploring sources of professional advice for each stage of decision
  • familiarizing yourself with the advice to inform your brief.

Step 2: Site analysis

Visit the site with your designer to do a ‘SWOT’ analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). This is your first opportunity to work with your designer to see if your objectives align. It can take the form of a paid consultation or can be part of the design contract outlined in the next step.

On the site, consider:

  • climate responsive design and site specific variables
  • orientation
  • cool breeze access
  • solar access
  • views
  • overshadowing by landforms, trees and buildings (site survey)
  • slope (site survey)
  • soil type (geotechnical report)
  • bushfires risks
  • stormwater drainage
  • access and transport
  • services (power, gas, phone, water, sewer).


A concept sketch of a home, noting a ground floor with views and passive solar access to the north facing side. An earth berm forms the wall at the south side. Cold winds and hot winds are blocked by the south earth berm as well as a west-side earth berm. These earth berms also block the hot afternoon sun. The home is situated on a slope.

Source: Suntech Design

The designer can make a concept plan and site analysis after the first site visit.

Choosing a site has more information.

On completion of this initial consultation/site visit, have your designer value-add to your brief by identifying possible design solutions that capitalise on the site’s strengths and opportunities, and overcome its weaknesses (e.g. poor solar access) and threats (e.g. slipping soils, fire risk or flooding).

Analysis at this early stage of climatic influences can identify how your site’s microclimate might vary from the generic climate zones outlined in Your Home (see Design for climate).

Compare your designer’s recommendations to those in Orientation, Passive heating and Passive cooling, and ask for clarification if you’re unsure.


Your designer’s advice is likely to be limited if they aren’t paid for it. Negotiate a set fee for this initial advice to gain a more comprehensive preliminary analysis and a detailed fee proposal for your project.

As a rule of thumb, expect the cost of full sustainable design and working drawing documentation for a new home to be 3–6% of the total budget, and more if project supervision is included. A good designer who produces a space efficient and climate-responsive home can save you at least as much as the cost of their fees, by helping you reduce upfront construction costs (through efficient use of space and materials) and ongoing energy costs (through climate-appropriate design). Good design is a smart investment.

Good design is a smart investment.


A very roughly drawn floorplan of a home, noting room names and rough shapes, windows, staircases and orientation.

Source: Suntech Design

The first plan of your new home may emerge on the ‘back of an envelope’.


© 2016: Eco-Kithomes