The Australian government has begun making free sustainable home designs for single family homes available online. The plans showcase modern, sustainable designs featuring a large main bedroom with a generous walk-in closet and ensuite bathroom. There is also an open plan living and kitchen area with cathedral ceilings, bathroom and laundry. The flexible, functional floor plans are available in two size options: 3 bedroom plus study and 2 bedroom plus study. Both include a single car garage.
Karen Andrews, parliamentary secretary for industry and science, says the sustainable home designs are a great resource for anyone planning a new home in Australia, but the designs are appropriate for dwellings in other countries as well. The architect designed plans are available at no charge to the public, according to Domain.com.
A government spokesperson said that using the downloadable plans would save most customers $10,000 for initial architectural drawings. Andrews says the free plans can save homeowners money down the road, as well as during the initial design phase. “By building in elements like natural lighting, cross-flow ventilation and passive heating and cooling opportunities from the outset, homeowners can save on ongoing energy costs for years to come.”
Caroline Pidcock, director of Pidcock: Architecture and Sustainability, says the initiative as “fantastic”, but cautions that adopting some of the program’s recommendations, such as single window glazing, will only save expense in the short term. “You can cut your energy bills by 80 per cent quite easily by focusing on the building envelope and using double glazing, for example,” she says.
The experts recommend the use of ceiling fans to reduce indoor temperatures and promote efficient air circulation throughout the house. They also strongly advocate against the use of a private swimming pool. “It can account for 70 per cent of a household energy bill and it runs constantly,” Ms Pidcock says.