Residential Sustainable Design

Unit code: NBD3002 | Study level: Undergraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
Footscray Park


Housing is a fundamental human right and plays a significant role in determining the health and quality of life. It also has a significant influence on the built and natural environments throughout its life cycle from construction to demolition. The main objective of residential sustainable design is to reduce problematic environmental and social impacts whilst saving money on the cost of living over the life of the house.

This unit focuses on the design, assessment (the Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard,BESS and the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, NatHERS) and documentation process of a single sustainable dwelling. It combines the theoretical knowledge of the environmental performance of residential buildings, covering management, water, energy, stormwater, indoor environmental quality (IEQ), transport, waste, urban ecology and innovation, with the design process in accordance with planning permit requirements. Students will learn how to use these skills to deliver sustainable, net-zero energy and practical residential building design and to prepare environmentally sustainable design (ESD) report. These skills are closely aligned with industry expectations for positions, such as building designers and ESD consultants in architectural , building design, engineering and construction companies.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Critically analyse the principles, materials, structure and strategies used in residential buildings and integrate theoretical knowledge, building environmental performance assessments and creativity to deliver sustainable and net-zero energy residential building;
  2. Critically review the residential building codes (BCA), Australian Standards requirements and guidelines that are used in planning and building permit applications, and the environmental performance of the residential buildings;
  3. Communicate design ideas, strategies and justifications to others effectively;
  4. Conduct, interpret and apply Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment and integrate bushfire protection requirements into building design and construction; and
  5. Formulate an environmentally sustainable design (ESD) report for residential buildings.


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Case Study
Grade: 20%
Individual Study of Design Precedent
Assessment type: Test
Grade: 20%
Individual Quizzes (4)
Assessment type: Project
Grade: 40%
Individual - Initial Design (10%) Group Schematic Design (10%) Group Revised Design (10%) Group Final Design (10%)
Assessment type: Report
Grade: 20%
Group Environmental Performance Report (10%) GroupESD Report (10%)

Required reading

A very comprehensive set of notes will be available. These notes will contain further references and reading material. Students will also be directed to journal articles for supplementary reading as they become relevant and available.

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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