Sustainable Design & Renovations

Your home is important in so many ways. It’s a place to unwind, relax and spend quality time with family and friends. It’s also likely to be the biggest investment you make.

Your decisions about your home have consequences for your future living costs and quality of life. Collectively, such decisions contribute to the bigger picture and can help to create more vibrant, connected and sustainable City. 

When you’re planning your renovation or building project it’s easy to focus on the short term, but features that enhance resale value, improve comfort and reduce bills are worth paying for. A sustainable home needs to address a number of themes, including design, materials, energy and water.

Your Home is the Australian Federal Governments online guide to building, buying or renovating a home. It shows how to create a comfortable home with low impact on the environment – economical to run, healthier to live in and adaptable to your changing needs.

The aim of your sustainable renovation should be to make your home more energy efficient, healthier, more comfortable and have less impact on the environment.

Things you can do include:

  • Install insulation
  • Install better seals to external windows and doors
  • Install better performing glass i.e. double glazing
  • Use sustainable materials e.g. recycled timber
  • Add a skylight
  • Add internal/external shading devices
  • Install window frames that provide a thermal break
  • Install energy efficient lighting and appliances
  • Use water efficient taps and showerheads
  • Install a rainwater tank

It’s also important not to forget your outdoor spaces when designing and renovating. Introducing permaculture principles into your backyard and using indigenous plants for instance, are key to making your home truly sustainable.

There are many magazines where you can get tips and advice, including Green Magazine, Grand Designs Australia and Sanctuary Magazine, which can help give you ideas and advice.


The Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) aims to deliver equitable, effective water and greenhouse gas reductions across the state. BASIX is one of the strongest sustainable planning measures to be undertaken in Australia.

BASIX and the planning system

An integrated part of the planning system, BASIX is implemented under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. BASIX applies to all residential dwelling types and is part of the development application process in NSW.

BASIX assessment

BASIX is assessed online using the BASIX assessment tool. The tool checks elements of a proposed design against sustainability targets.


BASIX reduces water and energy consumption in homes across NSW. These environmental outcomes also provide a long term financial saving for the homeowner – and a valuable contribution to the sustainable future of our communities. 

Provisions to enable the operation of BASIX are contained in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 and State Environmental Planning Policy (Building Sustainability Index: BASIX) 2004.

Do I need a BASIX certificate?

You will need a BASIX certificate if you are lodging a development application in NSW for a new home or for any alteration and addition, of $50,000 or more to an existing home.