Eco-friendly house designs don’t adversely affect the appearance of your home

Eco-friendly house designs don’t adversely affect the appearance of your home

Tips and Advice, Lifestyle, New Homes
eco-friendly house solar panels

Solar panels as a part of eco-design

Quite a few people have the mistaken belief that homes designed to be eco-friendly will in some way look strange compared to more conventional homes of years gone by. But as a Brisbane architect who does a lot of home designs in South East Queensland, I can categorically say that this isn’t the case at all.

Now yes, I would say that eco-friendly homes can look visually different to homes that haven’t been designed with a full range of sustainability and environmental attributes in mind. But they don’t look ‘weird’ or out of the ordinary. A Brisbane home that has been architecturally designed to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly will look like most other Brisbane homes with eco-elements that can be seen but don’t particularly stand out.

Eco-design centre’s around an understanding of local climatic conditions and sustainable, low consumption principles. It is the desire to control the climate as it relates to the property – as much as climate can be controlled – in such a way as to reduce the properties dependency on things like electricity or gas or even water consumption without sacrificing the occupant’s quality of living and the interior design of the home.

So with Eco-Friendly House Designs in mind, let’s consider some of the ways in which we manage to achieve these aims.

A straightforward one to consider is the desire to control the amount of direct sunlight, and therefore heat, that impacts on our homes. Essentially we want to let light in, but keep glare and heat out. There are a number of ways in which we can achieve this goal, but one of the easiest is through the use of shutters.

shorncliffe workers cottage renovation before and after

Living room before and after renovation

Shutters allow you to control the amount of light that comes into your home (or onto your deck as the case may be), whilst keeping glare and heat at bay. In the winter or on overcast days they can be opened up to allow full light to enter your home. Alternatively, on extremely hot, bright days you can open them less and still have ample light coming in, without the direct glare of blazing sunlight.

Shutters as one of the shade solutions

So shutters, louvres, dividers and screens can all be used to help control the impact that the outside climatic conditions have on comfort levels inside your home; and of course, each of these measures can be seen. But that’s not to say that these features will make a property look ‘strange’. Whilst they are noticeable they are also subtle. They don’t look out of place and if integrated well into the overall design of your home, they can actually enhance the look of your home.

After all, it’s not like you’ve erected a series of huge mechanical sails or umbrellas to block out any direct sunlight.

indooroopilly home renovation street view

Many eco-design elements can be seen. For example solar hot water systems are often able to be seen, however, the visual impact of these can be limited with clever design effectively hiding the systems from view, or at the very least limiting their visual impact.

However other eco-elements make little to no difference to the appearance of a home; take double glazed windows for example. These are great for cutting out glare and blocking out unwanted heat, yet they hardly make any difference to a home visually.

An architect with a sound understanding of materials and eco-design can give a home all of the environmental and low running cost benefits of environmental design practices without making it stand out for all the wrong reasons.

All of the homes we design are designed with low consumption, high living standards in mind. We specialise in eco home designs and as such we are able to create stunning homes that are visually appealing and wonderfully livable.

Dion Seminara Architect


Hi, I am Dion Seminara, practicing architect and licensed general builder for 20 years as well as an environmental sustainable design (ESD) expert. I graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with honours, QLD in 1989. Registered as an architect in 1991 and registered as a builder in 1992, I am also a fellow member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Having received 12 ArCHdes Residential Architecture Awards, LJ Hooker Flood Free Home Design Award and the 2016 AIA Regional Commendation for Public Architecture, my expertise with both residential renovation (to all types of houses, especially Queenslanders, 50s/60s/80s), new contemporary homes and luxury residences has earned me a reputation as one of Brisbane's architectural specialists in lifestyle design architecture, interior design and landscape design.