Content Synopsis

Module 1: Passive Design and Thermal Performance

Aim: zero impact, high performance buildings, by design, and by 2030.

Climate data – what’s it say?
Building sector impacts.
Residential energy use.
Peak load drivers.

Your role as a designer.

Regulation – BASIX: where to next.
The urgency – why we need to act now.

Energy – what is it?

Thermal performance regulation in BASIX:

  • how it works, and
  • NatHERS and Star Bands.

Higher standards: Passive House

  • what it is, and
  • how to achieve Certification.

Clients – what makes them tick: their drivers and profiling.

Thermal comfort principles:

  • how it’s perceived,
  • enthalpy, and
  • humidity
    • heat flows
    • thermal neutrality
    • climate zones’ affects.

Passive design principles, in detail:

  • orientation,
  • zoning,
  • thermal mass,
  • shading,
  • insulation,
  • ventilation, and
  • glazing’s relation to all of the above.

Designing a ‘net zero energy’ home:

  • exercise.

Orientation and building form in different climate zones.
Where to use thermal mass.
Earth coupling.
Construction methods and their effect.

Glazing design in detail:

  • heat gain and solar radiation,
  • heat loss and convection,
  • WERS,
  • glass to mass ratios,
  • shading – passive and active,
  • ventilation in detail,
  • cooling options: air movement, natural vs mechanical,
  • wind pressure and window design,
  • solar chimneys, and
  • insulation design – condensation issues

Selling the message – your role in the process:

  • value for money,
  • business strategy, and
  • adding value for the client.

Summary and wrap up.

Module 2 – Water Management

Aims: sustainable water quantity, water quality, water waste.

The big issues.


  • security of supply,
  • dam impacts,
  • waste water treatment,
  • interruption of natural water cycles, and
  • water ecology: aquatic and marine.

Water use – what and where.
Sewage quality.
Stormwater quality.
What influences these?
Your role.

Regulation – carrots and sticks:

  • BASIX, and
  • WELS.

Principles in practice:

  • reduce,
  • cost of efficiency,
  • good-better-best practice,
  • old house – new house,
  • showers,
  • toilets,
  • alternative toilet types,
  • taps,
  • hot water,
  • smarter systems, and
  • evaporative coolers.

Landscape and stormwater:

  • design issues, plant selection,
  • irrigation,
  • runoff,
  • pollutants, and
  • climate zone differences.

Water sources:

  • reuse,
  • risk management, and
  • BASIX.


  • black and grey,
  • risks and management, and
  • recycling.


  • rainwater tanks,
  • managing risk,
  • busting urban myths,
  • different systems,
  • different tank options, and
  • details, details, details…

Summary and wrap up.

Module 3 – Energy Services & Systems

Aim: net zero energy buildings.

Operational energy – what and where.
Sustainable house – what is it?
Your role: opportunities for influence, and business strategies.

The Big Picture.
Self interest all round.

Energy – what is it?
Energy sources: what’s wrong with fossil fuels?
Watts and volts.
Greenhouse and energy source.
Energy efficiency – what is it really?
Coefficient of Performance.

House size.
Air conditioning’s historical role.
Peak load.
Embodied energy.

Energy end uses:

  • thermal comfort,
  • heating and cooling,
  • heating and cooling systems old and new,
  • busting some myths,
  • the role of air movement – good and bad,
  • hot water – system options in climate zones,
  • lighting and daylighting,
  • refrigeration,
  • clothes drying,
  • appliances,
  • swimming pools,
  • standby loads, and
  • pulling it all together.

Renewable energy:

  • types and sources,
  • where PV is at right now and soon,
  • where batteries are at now and soon, and
  • off-site renewables.

Case studies.

Summary and wrap up.

Module 4 – Good Materials

Big picture:

  • how many Earths?, and
  • building sector impacts and sustainability.

Waste and materials matter.

Sustainable materials criteria:

  • old thinking: cradle to grave,
  • new thinking: cradle to cradle, and
  • embodied energy

Life-cycle analysis:

  • what is it, who does it?,
  • how do I get hold of tangible information?,
  • BPIC life cycle inventory,
  • closed loop products and materials,
  • a surprising exercise, and
  • case studies.

Biodiversity and habitat destruction:

  • what interconnectedness means,
  • protection systems you can use,
  • chain of custody, and
  • certification bodies and standards.

Resource consumption:

  • less is not more!,
  • waste plans mean something,
  • examples, and
  • rules of thumb.

Human and eco-toxicity:

  • indoor environmental quality,
  • VOCs,
  • common pitfalls,
  • Green Star, and
  • rules of thumb and useful strategies.

Tools and resources:

  • rating tools,
  • selling the message to clients, and
  • hearing clients who are already aware and concerned.

Case study

Summary and wrap up.