Principle 1: Work with local climate
  • Last updated:
  • 20 Apr 2020

The Sunshine Coast offers its residents a lifestyle and locale defined by our sub-tropical climate.

Awnings, screens, verandahs, decks, louvered windows and battens provide our homes and businesses with open and comfortable indoor/outdoor rooms. Shade structures and large trees along our roads and in our parks allow the warmth of sunlight in winter, and shade and dappled light in the summer, as we play, walk and cycle. The climate has shaped our distinctive environment and supports outdoor lifestyle all year round.

Good Sunshine Coast design works with our sub-tropical climate. It creates places with a sense of openness and permeability and a strong connection to the outdoors. Design that works with our climate enhances our wellbeing.

It creates places that enable us to live in comfort and minimises the need for artificial cooling, heating and lighting. Designing places to work with our climate allows us to live a low-energy, more affordable and healthier lifestyle.

Why this is important

Design that ignores our climate can produce poor-performing buildings that rely on expensive air-conditioning to keep us comfortable. It could lead to the creation of unusable, hot, barren streets and spaces. These designs are potentially inefficient and costly in the long run and may leave us closed off from the environment.

Ideas for working with this principle

Whatever scale you're working at–city, neighbourhood, street, park or building, here are some ideas for working with this principle.

1. When siting development, ensure that local environmental conditions are understood and mapped to create places that are resilient to extreme weather conditions.

2. Organise your building and outdoor spaces to have access to natural light and shade and capture breezes. Adopting these simple rules will create places that work well with the local climate and offer occupants naturally comfortable spaces. On the Sunshine Coast, this will generally be a northern orientation.

3. Provide rooms, decks and verandahs that make the most of the sub-tropical climate by creating visual and physical connections between outdoor and indoor spacces.

4. Align doors and windows to promote passive ventilation throughout buildings, creating comfortable temperatures within living spaces without the need for air-conditioning.

5. Use architectural features (eaves, awnings and shutters) and landscape elements to provide shading to internal and external spaces. This is important in maintaining comfortable temperatures and offering weather protection.

6. Install windows, doors and screens that can be opened and closed to both harness and control breezes, let natural light in and shut out unfavourable weather. Movable building elements allow building occupants to control their own comfort.