Jamie Harris Building Design is committed to environmentally sustainable design (ESD) and uses Passive Design principles in their projects.

Passive Design

‘Passive Design’ is design that takes advantage of the climate to maintain a comfortable temperature range in the home. Passive design reduces or eliminates the need for auxiliary heating or cooling, which accounts for about 40% (or much more in some climates) of energy use in the average Australian home.

The importance of passive design cannot be overstated. Paying attention to the principles of good passive design suitable for your climate effectively ‘locks in’ thermal comfort, low heating and cooling bills, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions for the life span of your home.

Passive design utilises natural sources of heating and cooling, such as the sun and cooling breezes. It is achieved by appropriately orientating your building on its site and carefully designing the building envelope (roof, walls, windows and floors of a home). Well-designed building envelopes minimise unwanted heat gain and loss.

The most economical time to achieve good passive design in a home is when initially designing and building it. However, substantial renovations to an existing home can also offer a cost effective opportunity to upgrade thermal comfort — even small upgrades can deliver significant improvements. If you’re buying a new home or apartment, assess its prospects for thermal comfort and/or ability to be cost effectively upgraded to reflect good passive design principles in its climate.

For best results, ‘passive’ homes need ‘active’ users — people with a basic understanding of how the home works with the daily and seasonal climate, such as when to open or close windows, and how to operate adjustable shading.

A number of different and interrelated strategies contribute to good passive design, each the subject of an article in this section. Passive design strategies vary with climate, as explained in more detail in Design for climate. The best mix of passive design strategies also varies depending on the particular attributes of your site. Choose a designer who is experienced in passive design for your climate and consider engaging a thermal performance expert to model different design options using thermal performance software.

Good passive design is critical to achieving a lifetime of thermal comfort, low energy bills and low greenhouse gas emissions.

10 Key Elements of Passive Design

  1. Design for climate
  2. Orientation
  3. Shading
  4. Passive solar heating
  5. Passive cooling
  6. Sealing your home
  7. Insulation & Insulation installation
  8. Thermal mass
  9. Glazing
  10. Skylights

This information was referenced from Caitlin McGee – Author of “Your Home”, 2013.

Jamie Harris Building Design conforms with all statutory bodies design requirements.


The Building Sustainability Index (BASIX), ensures homes are designed to use less potable water and be responsible for fewer greenhouse gas emissions by setting energy and water.