How to design for the climate

The Australian climate can be highly unpredictable – particularly in Queensland. With humid summers, mild winters and tropical rains, it’s essential that you consider the climate when building a new home in the Sunshine State.

Designing a home suited to the climate means you’ll enjoy comfortable temperatures year round and reduce your reliance on artificial heating and cooling systems. With a façade and roof crafted specifically for your unique climate, you’ll also enjoy reduced maintenance costs.

Keep reading to discover our top tips on designing for the climate.

Home orientation

The first thing you should consider when designing a new home is the orientation. It’s important to design your house in relation to both the sun’s path and natural breezes. Working with an experienced builder can ensure your home captures the sunlight in winter while protecting your interiors from the hot sun in summer.

Most people opt for a northern orientation to maximise sunlight. Positioning communal living spaces like kitchens, dining rooms and outdoor areas at the front of the home (to the north) will ensure they are filled with natural light throughout the day.

Bedrooms are commonly positioned at the eastern side of the home where they will receive the subtle morning sun, while garages and driveways are best placed at the rear of the home (to the south) where they will be shaded.

Integrate materials with high thermal mass

Thermal mass refers to a material’s ability to absorb and store heat. High density materials like concrete and brick require a significant amount of heat to increase in temperature, but once warm, they retain this heat and cool down slowly. As they cool, high density materials release heat energy and, when used in home design, can result in comfortable indoor temperatures.

On the other hand, low density materials like timber heat up and cool down much faster, with less heat required to increase temperatures. This can make them less-suited to exterior home design as they don’t regulate temperatures as well. However, given Brisbane’s warm climate, a combination of high and low density materials is often used to ensure a comfortable Queensland home year-round.

Take advantage of the breeze

If you live near the beach, you’ll know that cool breezes come from the ocean. On the east coast of Australia, sea breezes generally travel north east to south east so positioning your home to capitalise on these can help cool your home quickly, without having to rely on artificial cooling.

Capturing a breeze inland can prove more challenging, but maximising air flow is still important. Do your research on the microclimate of your property and ensure your home is designed to capitalise on the breeze where possible.

Be strategic about your roof design

Regular rainfall is one of the great parts of living in a tropical climate. It’s also something to consider when designing a new home.

Building a high-quality roof, gutter and drainage system to cope with potentially intense rainfall will ensure you avoid expensive repairs and maintenance costs down the track.


If you’re ready to design a home for the Brisbane climate, get in touch with the team at Adam Mason Homes today. We’d love to chat about how we can design and build your dream home.