Living in a comfortable home doesn’t have to cost the earth.
We create sustainable house design solutions that save you considerable money and add to your comfort levels. The “Work From Home” phenomenon has further elevated the need for comfort, energy-saving and environmental sensitivity in house design, making a sustainable house design an even higher priority.
The team at House Design Solutions has always implemented passive solar design principles to limit energy use. Historically, all of our homes are well thought out and offer “eco” design measures automatically embedded into their planning aimed at saving on energy bills.
Our Sustainable House Design Service takes this to another level. If you want “cutting edge” sustainable house design to create a home that performs remarkably, then let us help you. We offer this service for only a small fee above and beyond our normal services. This is because the expertise is already embedded in our practice, and you just need to inform us that it is a priority to you for your particular project. We simply charge you an hourly rate for any extra time taken to properly advise you on your options and how best to implement them.
Our Sustainable House Design Service focuses on all aspects of sustainability but prioritises “value for money” eco measures over those that do not offer a justifiable payback. We can advise you in detail based on your particular circumstances.
We have listed the measures in basic terms and split them into TWO main categories.
- Passive Measures are more about astute design than expense and can usually be adopted for little cost, if thought out well. Our expertise on these matters is offered free with our normal service.
- Active Add On Devices aimed at saving energy/water. These usually cost money to purchase, but wise incorporation of some of these measures will ensure considerable payback quickly. If you approach this wisely, you can also utilise government rebates and incentives to your advantage.
A fully Sustainable House Design should incorporate as many passive measures as practical whilst also considering aesthetics, your budget and any views or site features available. Also, we can help you astutely incorporate the active “add-on” measures that offer your particular circumstance the best payback. If you are working from home, then this can be carefully included in the calculations to ensure the “payback” is even sooner, reaching the point where profit takes over moving forward.
We have listed, in basic terms, the main measures that are considered. As discussed, the passive design elements are, to a certain extent, automatically incorporated into all our designs, often embedded inconspicuously. When clients show a desire to prioritise sustainable house design, we make it more of a focus to achieve an even higher performance. Refer to the list below.
What Clients Say
My experience with House Design Solutions has been amazing. After dealing with so many other drafting companies who were unprofessional and costly without delivering I came across an online review that sung the praises of Paul Mete. Every word has proven to be 100% accurate. Paul has been incredible from his professionalism to his personal caring attitude. My house design is very unusual but that has not stopped him from providing above and beyond helpful advice and assistance to achieve the results I wanted. He certainly puts the client first in all instances and always meets his commitments (very rare these days for others in the industry).
I have already recommended him to others seeking a draftsman and will continue to do so in future.Tania W.
When my husband and I were in the early stages of planning our dream home, we had the great fortune to be introduced to Paul Mete of House Design Solutions. At our initial meeting, we immediately found Paul to be knowledgeable, friendly and genuinely passionate about the work he does, and equally excited about our ideas. We discussed various options suitable to our land, accounting for factors such as north-facing orientation, energy efficiency and aesthetic balance that was true to our preferred building style. Paul provided us with a beautiful design that was reflective of our specific needs and perfectly suited to both our style and the complexities of our land. Even when we had to modify the design (due to external factors), Paul again delivered another design, equally suitable and one which we really love.
During the entire design process, Paul listened carefully to our needs, displaying respect and courtesy to both of us. As a female, and dealing in the male-dominated construction industry, I found this attitude rare, although very much appreciated. Selecting the right designer to bring your ideas and dreams to fruition is an important step in achieving a successful project outcome, and we are so pleased with the decision we made to engage Paul.
We unequivocally recommend the services of House Design Solutions for all of your design drawing requirements, for your next residential or commercial project.Brent & Marleina, Eltham
I consider it a pleasure to write Paul a testimony based on my experience of his professional service so that others can reference and benefit too.
When I was researching for a good designer on a web forum, Paul was mentioned there especially for his specialty on the use of natural light. We would like our extension to be practical to meet incoming dependent family members’ needs (two seniors and one with disability) and be filled with light and Paul was just the right fit. So I contacted Paul. Paul visited us and listened for our needs and also asked us questions we had not thought of but should have. Within his given time frame, Paul came back to us with first draft of very functional design. With some more improvement, the drawings were finalized. Our extension is now basically completed and everybody enjoys living in it.
Paul has been very warm and patient since the first phone call of my enquiry and throughout. I greatly appreciate it because English is my second language. He has our best interest in heart and is mindful of the budget. He is very trustworthy and had given us a lot of helpful advice to smooth out potential obstacles, to prepare the inclusion list and get competitive quotes from builders. I have no reservation in recommending Paul.
我很乐意根据我领受到的专业服务为Paul写推荐，以便其他人可以参考和受益。 当我在一个网络论坛上考查寻找一个好的设计师时，论坛上特别提到Paul及他利用自然光的专长。我们希望我们的扩建可以满足即将搬来一起住的家庭成员（两个老人和一个残疾人）的需要并且宽敞明亮而Paul看来正是恰当人选，所以我联系了Paul。Paul上门访问我们，听取我们的需要，也问我们好些没有想到但应该要考虑的问题。在他给定的时间框架内，Paul设计完成了第一稿。随后有一些更多的改进，绘图完成。我们的扩建现在基本上完成，每个人都住得很满意。 从我的第一个咨询电话到整个过程， Paul一直非常温暖和耐心，对此我非常感谢，尤其因为英语是我的第二语言。他为客户的利益着想，注意预算。他非常值得信赖，在消除潜在的障碍，准备细节清单，及从建筑建设商那里得到有竞争力的报价的事项上为我们提供了许多有用的建议。我毫无保留地推荐Paul。Sarah, Boronia
Paul did the design and plans for our home extension and it couldn't have been easier! Fantastic to deal with and he listened to what we wanted as an end result. We ended up with what we wanted and more! Thanks Paul.Tony Laws
Paul was fantastic in dealing with drawings for a new 2 story build in inner Melbourne. He worked seamlessly across the team of engineers, surveyors and energy consultants, and was extremely proactive - Following up and chasing down issues to get the drawings out as quickly as possible. The drawings were high quality and he went above and beyond to make sure that the detail was there, and reflective of what we were looking for. On a personal note - Paul was great to deal with and a very friendly guy. Highly recommended, and I'd be happy to referee any of his work for any potential customers - Feel free to contact Paul for my details.Stuart M, Fitzroy North
We would highly recommend House Design Solutions. Paul was introduced to us by friends who also had a very positive experience. We found Paul to be professional, passionate, very knowledgeable & friendly. Paul took particular care in listening to our needs. He came up with a beautiful design that perfectly meets our needs.Vince, The Basin
It has been great working with Paul to design the extension of my home. As a complete novice to home renovation, Paul's honest and friendly manner was invaluable in guiding me and making the whole process stress-free and easy. He delivered a sensible design which reflected my budget but still delivered everything I wanted, was sustainable and looked great. He worked hard to ensure the final design would make the planning permit approval as smooth as possible and worked with the council and my neighbours to ease any concerns they had. Paul is a professional and knowledgeable home designer and I would recommend him for any home project.Melissa Arduca
I have no hesitation in recommending Paul Mete and House Design Solutions to anyone looking to design their new home. We have worked with Paul to design a bespoke extension which takes into consideration our family needs and site challenges, and we are very happy with the whole process and design output, as we now seek to appoint a builder for our project. It was clear when we initially discussed what we wanted from our build, that Paul was truly listening to us, had an unbiased approach to solving problems, and is always conscious of the cost to the client. This was proven time and again throughout the design and site investigation process, which is why we chose to work with Paul after initially seeking preliminary designs from 2 designers. Paul is generous with his time in guiding you through this vital part of the renovation process (and answering my numerous questions), is knowledgeable and professional and has access to a great network of other professionals needed along the way. We’ve really enjoyed this part of the reno process and have learned a lot, thanks!Taleen Malone
Passive Design Elements
Local Climate Responsive Design
- Throughout Melbourne, there are different mini-climates. Each has its own weather patterns with factors including seasonality, wind direction, rainfall and humidity.
- Knowing these site-specific environmental conditions will help us to make informed design choices so that your home is energy efficient.
- We look at which way your property faces in order to determine which room makes sense where. We take into account the pathways of the sun, typical wind direction, and existing and potential site obstructions so that your heating and cooling costs are minimized.
- Understanding your preferences for a lighter or darker, cooler or warmer house will ensure we customise a home that performs to your particular needs.
Windows and Glazing
- Windows and glazing are key elements of your home’s design, connecting interior spaces with the outdoors. They offer light, ventilation, noise control and security.
- However, when improperly planned, windows and glazing can be weak points that account for more heat gain or loss than any other element in your home.
- You can maximize the benefits of your windows and glazing by employing the following passive design principles:
- Select the correct glazing systems for your orientation.
- Orientate larger openings to the north and small openings to the south.
- Locate window and door openings to allow natural cooling by cross ventilation.
- Provide seals to openings to minimise unwanted draughts.
- Smart shading of your windows can reduce summer temperatures, improving comfort and saving on cooling costs.
- Shading devices include eaves, window awnings, pergolas and even plantings.
- Fixed shading must balance winter access against summer protection – dialled up or down, depending on the particular need of that part of your house.
- Thermal mass is a term that describes how well a building material stores heat and can moderate the home.
- Internal thermal mass is of the most benefit to any home.
- A concrete slab and feature internal masonry walls are the most commonly utilised thermal regulators.
- Poorly located external thermal mass can actually work against energy efficiency, so this should be protected or located where it will least inhibit the home.
Passive Heating and Cooling
- Passive heating and cooling cleverly utilise the pathway of the sun and breezes to naturally heat and cool your home, saving the cost of mechanical systems.
- Passive heating invites winter sun in, trapping it to be utilised while keeping the summer sun out and allowing any excess summer heat a way to escape.
- Some examples of passive heating and cooling systems include glazing and overhangs designed to allow maximum winter sun penetration landing on internal thermal mass whilst excluding the harsh sun in summer.
- We recommend:
- Highlighting windows and doors positioned to allow venting of heat in summer.
- Choosing reflective colours where needed.
- Spaces within your floorplan can be separated from each other in order to control their exposure to this heat and light.
- Insulation acts like a blanket – limiting the flow of heat from inside to outside.
- Without proper insulation, up to two-thirds of a home’s heat energy can be lost.
- Examples of insulation include bulk, reflective or composite and can be installed in the roof, walls, floors and slab edge.
- Insulation should be carefully incorporated on a needs basis.
- Up to 25 per cent of winter heat loss from existing houses is caused by air leakage, also known as draughts or uncontrolled ventilation.
- Good builders’ standard construction methods reduce this leakage, which is paramount to the sustainable performance of any home.
- Clever positioning of the right type of vegetation can dramatically improve the passive design.
- Both the retention and introduction of native vegetation will encourage native wildlife to flourish and enhance your lifestyle.
Get a Quote
House Design Solutions can advise you on which of the above measures will offer you value and ensure a comfortable home that is much cheaper to run, particularly in this “work from home” society. Not only will this reduce your carbon footprint, but the extra comfort and happiness will be enjoyed by the whole family. All you need to do is advise us of your “eco priorities” and allow us to do what we do best.
Send us your enquiry, and we will contact you with an approximate price for your project.
You can choose any of the below “active” measures to further elevate the sustainable performance of your home. Utilise our expertise to successfully incorporate them into your home and your lifestyle.
Green practices can also be incorporated on-site during construction in order to limit our carbon footprint.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
- We can instruct the right builder to sort all debris on any job site:
- Steel: recycled or reused.
- Timber: off-cuts reused or recycled.
- Cardboard and paper: recycled.
- Concrete, Brick, Tile: recycled.
- Excavated soil & rock: reused on-site for landscaping.
- All timber: plantation-grown or recycled.
- Wastewater: retaining and disposed of.
- The builder can be instructed to source materials from local suppliers where possible:
- Steel: recycled or re-used.
- Recycled bricks (if selected by our customers).
Low-allergy building techniques can be incorporated into any build where this is a priority to our clients, often to limit adverse reactions of sensitive occupants. This means:
- Low VOC painting system to all internal walls, ceiling & trims.
- Low allergy floor finishes.
- Gentle heating and cooling systems.
- Low toxicity adhesives.
Active add-on measures such as power generation, water harvesting and solar-boosted water heating can complement a sustainably designed home. They significantly reduce your home’s energy consumption. When incorporated wisely, they pay for themselves quickly before turning a profit for the rest of their lifecycle. You can choose any of the following measures. Our design expertise will ensure these will be incorporated in the most effective way, offering a payoff sooner.
Heating and Cooling
- Our Green House, Sustainable Homes should not need much heating or cooling.
- Cooling systems can run on solar power in order to provide heating and cooling.
- Some examples of active heating and cooling systems include:
- Hydronic in-slab heating system.
- Solar-boosted hot water.
- Reversible ceiling fans in living areas and bedrooms.
- 5-star, zoned natural gas ducted heating.
- Installing a solar PV system will allow you to generate renewable energy and massively reduce your electricity bills. While we’re happy to help, it’s important to note that The Victorian Government is providing a rebate for eligible households, so this is often best sourced by the homeowner after construction has been completed. There are no cost penalties for delaying their installation until you are eligible for the rebate.
- Strategies for placement and incorporation of PV systems should be designed hand-in-hand with other important decisions, in order to create an interactive holistic green home environment.
- Solar-boosted hot water can dramatically reduce energy bills; this may sometimes double up as the house heating system.
Incorporated power-saving measures
- Low-energy lighting is incorporated in all our Green and Sustainable House Projects.
- We can incorporate a “kill switch system” located near the exit door, shutting off power to nominated circuits in order to reduce the unnecessary drain from non-essential appliances when the house is not occupied.
- We can incorporate 5- or 6-star rated appliances into the build, which can be selected by you from our range of various green suppliers and manufacturers.
- We can include a water tank servicing the garden and supplying all toilets for flushing. The size of this tank can be dramatically increased if this is a priority of yours.
- Water-saving taps and fixtures can be chosen and incorporated into the build.
- A well-designed water-saving garden can be incorporated and fun to design.
- We are a little reluctant to offer “grey water” options as these can pollute the site if not executed well.
Get a Quote
House Design Solutions can advise you on which of the above measures will offer you value and ensure a comfortable home that is much cheaper to run particularly in this “work from home” society. Not only will this reduce your carbon footprint but the extra comfort and happiness will be enjoyed by the whole family. All you need to do is advise us of your “eco-priorities” and allow us to do what we do best.
Send us your enquiry and we will contact you with an approximate price for your project.Get a Quote Today