Sustainable Houses

A timber cladded building in a forest setting with a large window-opening overlooking trees. A woman sitting in the opening with a dog by her side.

Guide to Sustainable Houses

This guide provides a concise overview of sustainable house design for those interested in renovating or building a home that is energy efficient, comfortable, healthy and adaptable for the future.

The carbon emissions generated from the construction and operation of buildings is one of the largest contributors to the climate crisis. Architects and homeowners can play their part in tackling climate change by designing and living in sustainable houses. Using simple design strategies and modern technologies outlined in this guide, sustainable architecture reduces the carbon emissions and environmental impact of a building throughout its lifecycle and helps with the transition to a carbon-free future.

Even though the word ‘sustainable’ is now used to describe many things, some are inherently more sustainable than others. In architecture, true sustainability requires a holistic approach, encompassing every element of a building — from design, materials and construction to energy resources, technology and the local environment.

Sustainable architecture is often perceived as being complex, expensive and unimaginative. It is quite the opposite: real sustainable architecture results in simpler, better, cheaper-to-run buildings that are respectful of the climate they inhabit and the climate they contribute to.

(Note that while every care has been taken to ensure that the information contained within this guide is correct, Breathe takes no responsibility for its accuracy. Contact us with your feedback for improving this guide.)


For easy offline reading, you can also download our Guide to Sustainable Houses as a PDF file. Please consider the environment before printing.

Download PDF guide