Sustainable Design


Sustainable design is integral to our design philosophy.  We take a personalised and holistic approach to sustainable design and to the construction process.  We incorporate the principles of passive solar design to create beautiful eco homes in a wide range of architectural styles, tailored to individual clients and sites around Australia.

Our environmentally friendly designs engage the outdoors and embrace the natural surroundings, creating light-filled homes which are spacious, comfortable and inspiring.

Our designs may also consider the collection of rainwater, management of grey water systems incorporating swales and reed bed systems, composting toilets, solar hot water, photo voltaic power generation and battery storage.

We encourage eco-friendly principles in materials selections and finishes, including the use of locally sourced natural materials which require less energy in their production, the use of no-VOC paints and finishes, as well as recycling and up-cycling.

3DE works closely with our clients to create a home uniquely suited to them, using the latest technology to convey the ideas in a graphic and user friendly way.

Passive Solar Design – An inherent part of the design process is to incorporate passive systems into the planning and detailing of the building. These help to minimise energy usage, and reduce the need for active heating and cooling, often adding no additional cost to the building.

The essential components of Passive Solar Design are Orientation, Insulation, Building Envelope, Ventilation, Zoning and Thermal Mass. These components are adjusted according to the particular requirements of each climatic region.

Orientation – Planning the building to maximise the north aspect is key. In the Sydney region, northern solar gain is required to maintain warmth in winter and ‘coolth’ in summer. East and west exposure is limited to prevent excessive heat gain in summer.  Some sites are difficult with limited north aspect, and this is where it becomes critical to ‘super-insulate’ and prevent heat leakage from the building.

Insulation – The correct levels of continuous insulation (avoiding thermal bridging) are important to ensure that the building does not leak heat, and retains comfortable temperatures year round.  This includes walls, floors, roofs, ceilings as well as high-performance glazing throughout.

Envelope– The building envelope is carefully considered to ensure airtight construction in the walls, floor, roof and eaves.  Shading is designed to perform appropriately during winter and summer months, providing maximum solar penetration through winter, and eliminating solar gain through summer.

Ventilation and Zoning – High performance window and door openings are carefully selected, and placed to capture cooling summer breezes, allowing for cross ventilation to ensure a healthy building environment. The building is planned to allow for zoning, which helps prevent unwanted heat loss or gain through design elements such as entry air locks.  HVAC systems ensure healthy, filtered and balanced fresh air when required.

Thermal Mass– Where appropriate, thermal mass in floors and walls act as ‘heat banks’ through the year, helping to moderate temperatures within the building. This process creates cool spaces during the heat of summer, whilst quietly absorbing solar heat gained during the day in winter, creating warm cosy spaces to enjoy.

Active Systems
These systems may be further incorporated into the design to further reduce energy consumption as well as address water, waste and power supply.
Our designs may consider:

  • Heat Recovery Ventilation Systems (HVAC).
  • Rainwater collection for potable and non-potable use.
  • Grey water systems – mechanical or passive such as swales and reed bed systems.
  • Waste treatment systems, such as composting toilets, bio-septic etc.
  • Solar (PV), geothermal and wind powered systems for power and hot water generation.
  • In-slab hydronic or electric heating.

We encourage eco-friendly principles in materials selections and finishes, which can help to reduce energy consumption, increase the life of the building and create healthier spaces. These include:

  • Use of locally sourced natural materials which require less energy in their production.
  • Use of low/no VOC paints and finishes, and non-toxic materials.
  • Recycled and renewable materials (eg FSC timbers).