Free Home Designs

Our free Design For Place home designs will help you create an energy-efficient, sustainable home that suits your climate and lifestyle.

The Design For Place designs:

  • are architect-designed and tailored to suit different climates across Australia
  • can be customised to suit your needs, lifestyle, block orientation and local requirements
  • achieve a minimum energy rating of 7 stars under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme
  • include options to improve your home’s energy star rating and in-turn reduce energy bills
  • use standard construction materials and techniques to keep costs down

Creating a comfortable home

The Design For Place home designs are a set of three energy-efficient homes that can be used as-is or customised to suit your needs. They have been designed by an architect in collaboration with an energy assessor to create comfortable homes with well-designed and practical spaces.

Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme

Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme

Each design comes with a predicted Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) rating. NatHERS is a star rating system that measures the energy efficiency of a home, using key features including design, materials and climate. A NatHERS rating is the most common method used to show that a new home complies with the minimum energy efficiency standards in the National Construction Code.

Design For Place demonstrates simple solutions to increase your energy rating above minimum requirements. Homes with higher energy ratings are predicted to rely less on heating and cooling systems, achieving a comfortable home that is cheaper to run. All Design For Place plans have been developed to achieve a minimum of 7 stars. Find out what the stars mean and how to get an assessment on the NatHERS website.


Designing and building an energy-efficient home may not be as expensive as you think.

Design For Place helps with affordability by:

  • providing free home designs ready to use or adapt, saving on design costs
  • specifying common construction techniques and materials that are readily available
  • achieving a higher energy rating which reduces the need for heating and cooling-a major contributor to your energy bills
  • considering good design and construction principles and incorporating the right approach to passive design, materials, insulation, orientation, windows and shading for each climate
  • including key questions to help you get started with your architect, designer or builder
  • providing floor plans with versatile spaces and a small footprint

Being well-informed and making the right decisions early on in the process is key to achieving a cost effective home that suits your lifestyle. Costs can vary significantly depending on your location and the site’s conditions as well as between building companies and their availability. Considering your key needs and keeping your home size not too large can assist as construction costs are generally calculated based on a rate per meter squared. Fixtures and finishes can also have a surprising impact on the overall construction cost – carefully consider details and selections such as custom joinery, lighting, benchtops and tiles. For more information, see Affordability.

Homes to suit your lifestyle

Design For Place homes are designed by an architect using best practice in sustainable and energy-efficient design. Choose from 3 homes to suit your lifestyle:

Acacia House – 2 bedroom

Features two courtyards that give lots of natural light and sun-filled living areas. Suits couples, empty nesters and downsizers, with the potential to build side-by-side as a townhouse development.

The orientation of this house places north to the street.

Includes: 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 living areas, 123 m2 (excluding carport)

Banksia House – 3 bedroom + study

Features a large northern facade that gives lots of natural light to the living areas, 3 generous bedrooms and a separate study space. Suits couples or families and supports a dedicated home office.

The orientation of this house places north to the side of the block.

Includes: 3 bedrooms plus study, 2 bathrooms, 1 living area, 172m2 (excluding garage)


Telopea House – 4 bedroom

Features a two-storey home with lots of natural light and sun-filled, flexible living areas. Suits growing families and provides a modern solution to a narrow suburban block.

The orientation of this house places north to the side of the block.

Includes: 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 living areas, 182 m2 (excluding garage)


Design packs

Our design packs are tailored specifically to suit a range of Australian climate conditions—from cool to tropical areas.

Each pack includes the standard home design and shows how changes in the specifications or design can be used to get a higher NatHERS rating.

The packs offer helpful tools and practical examples that assist you to adopt energy-efficient design and climate specific principles during the design process.

How to use Design For Place

  1. Choose your preferred house design – Acacia, Banksia or Telopea
  2. Scroll down to your most relevant climate zone
  3. Download the design pack - this includes the Design options file and the Technical drawings file
  4. Follow the steps in these documents to plan your build with the help of your builder, designer or architect and Your Home.


Design Pack Flowchart

Design options file includes:

  • building specifications
  • energy star rating options
  • key design features
  • window and shading information
  • advice for talking to your designer or builder

Technical drawings file includes:

  • floor, site, roof and set out plans
  • elevations and sections
  • window and door details

IMPORTANT: By downloading these files you are agreeing to the Design For Place Terms of Use.










Read more


While the Commonwealth has exercised reasonable care and skill in the preparation and collation of the house plans and support material, they are supplied on an 'as is' basis, without warranty of any kind.

By viewing, downloading or otherwise using the house plans and/or support material, you accept the following:

  • The Commonwealth disclaims liability, to the extent permitted by law, for any liabilities, losses, damages and costs arising from any reliance on the information contained in house plans and support material.

  • The house plans and support material have been made available as a guide only and do not constitute legal or other professional advice. You should seek legal or other professional advice in relation to your specific circumstances.

  • The Commonwealth accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the house plans and support material, their fitness for a particular purpose, or compliance with any regulatory requirements and standards. They may need modifying to comply with local legal and project requirements and this work will be your responsibility.

  • The house plans and support material represent one option for achieving a 7 star NatHERS energy rating. They do not cover all options and other designs or materials may give similar or better performance.

The Design For Place house plans and support material are only available on this website and are not featured in the Your Home book.