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Sustainable Design for Houses

Be part of the sustainable home revolution!

Sustainable design is the way of the future. Whether you are looking at building, buying, renovating, or simply learning; smart housing design can have enormous ongoing benefits for you and our planet.

This unit aims to develop an awareness of environmental and human health impacts of housing in order to inform critical and creative decision-making in the design and renovation of houses.

You will explore how housing affects our own health and the health of the planet, and how sustainable design can reduce environmental impacts and improve well being. You'll also learn how to make design choices that are more sustainable in relation to your personal needs and circumstances.

*Images: Crump Treehouse in Dynnyrne, Tasmania, by Crump Architects. Photography: Andrew Knott.


Offered Entirely Online
Sustainable Design for Houses is offered entirely online as part of the Diploma of Sustainable Living. You can complete the entire Certificate online, from anywhere in the world!


Support Sustainable Development
This unit is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development goals, helping to build literacy of sustainability at a global level that we are dedicated to supporting through our island state and its extraordinary beauty.


What is Sustainable Design for Houses about?

Sustainable Design YouTube video

Published: 28 March 2017 | Duration: 3:35m

Location: Online

Next unit start date: visit the unit page Sustainable Design for Houses

General Enquiries:
Course.Info@utas.edu.au
1300 363 864

What students say...

"I have very much wanted to do things sustainably for some time, but felt overwhelmed by the apparent complexity of the choices.


This unit taught me that there are ways to make sustainable choices while keeping my own tastes, needs, & priorities in the picture - that I can have a home that I love as well as one that is sustainable."

What you will learn...

On successful completion of this unit you will be able to:

  • Identify relationships between the design and construction of homes and their impact on the environment and human health.
  • Define key principles of sustainable design relevant to the design and construction of individual dwellings.
  • Explain the rationale for judgements about sustainable design priorities for houses in relation to a range of environmental and social context.
  • Integrate sustainable design priorities in a design brief related to the design, renovation or retrofit of a home.

Once you've completed this unit...

Build on your practical knowledge of sustainable design with Sustainable Design for Houses and Landscapes. In this follow on unit you will expanding your thinking to houses within landscapes - both natural and constructed - and how they interact with climate, biodiversity, human health and urban and regional food systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply?

This unit is available to Australian citizens, NZ citizens, Permanent Residents and Humanitarian Visa Holders provided all studies are on-shore in Australia. You will need to have access to a computer and a reliable internet connection.

What are the dates for this unit?

Please see the unit page for start dates.

When do applications close for the next offering of this unit?

Please see the unit page for applications close date. It is highly recommended you apply for the next offering by the Sunday prior to applications closing. This is to allow enough time for your application to be processed, an offer sent, and for you to accept and enrol in time to commence the unit when it starts.

Are there any pre-requisites for the unit?

There are no subject pre-requisites, although you must meet the General Entry Requirements of the University as you are enrolling in the Undergraduate Certificate in Sustainable Living in order to study this unit. If you require any further information, please see the Admission Requirements.

What will I be required to do when studying in this unit?

All units have a different level of expected study time, please visit the Sustainable Living page.

I don't own a computer; can I still apply for the unit?

You will need to have access to a computer to complete this unit. If you don't have your own computer, perhaps someone in your family or a friend has one, or you could use a computer at your local library, on campus in student areas, or at the university library.

You also require a reliable internet connection. You should expect to download about 1-2 GB of data each month while studying the unit online.

Do I need to be available online at specific times?

Generally, you can complete the unit work in your own time. Please note that content is usually released on a weekly or fortnightly basis. The unit coordinators may choose to present some content in the form of a live web conference. You will be made aware of this via news items during the semester.

Are there exams or assignments?

There will be ongoing assessments throughout the semester. Assessments could include such items as online quizzes composed of multiple-choice and short answer questions (some of which may be time-limited), and online discussion forums. There are no exams for this unit.

Is there any face-to-face teaching?

No. This unit is entirely online.

Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

The Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) is a compulsory fee for student services and amenities of a non-academic nature such as employment and career advice, financial advice, childcare, food services and sporting and recreational activities. View the Student Fees Policy.

Students commencing in 2021 will receive a Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) - $46.20 per unit which can be deferred to SA-HELP.

How do I apply for this unit?

This is a unit within the Diploma of Sustainable Living.

If you are already admitted into the Diploma, you can start on step three.

Step one: Apply for Diploma of Sustainable Living:

Step two: Receive your application outcome by email

  • You will be notified of the outcome of your application by email, which may take up to 10 working days.
  • If your application is successful, your email will prompt you to log back in to eApplication and accept your offer.
  • After you accept your offer, you will receive your Student ID number, username and password.

Step three: Enrol in your chosen unit

  • Use your University username and password to log in to eStudent.
  • Once you have logged in to eStudent, you will need to follow the steps to accept the terms and conditions, complete your eCAF and answer the survey question on your parents’ education level before enrolling in the unit.
  • eStudent has a link to the enrolment guide, or you can find more information at enrolling.

Step four: You are now ready to study!

For assistance with any of the process, please contact us by email course.info@utas.edu.au, phone 1300 363 864, or via the Contact Us online form.

What supporting documents do I need to apply?

If you are required to provide Citizenship documentation (if you have changed citizenship and are now an Australian citizen) or Permanent residency documentation (if you are not an Australian citizen but living under a permanent residency visa in Australia) you can scan and email them to us at course.info@utas.edu.au.

When do applications close?

It is highly recommended you apply for the next offering 2 weeks prior to the start dateThis is to allow enough time for your application to be processed, an offer sent, and for you to accept and enrol in time to commence the unit on time.

How will I know if my application is successful?

Once your application has been assessed, if you have been successful you will receive an email from the University with details on how to respond to your offer in eApplication. If you accept your offer, you will receive details about your new University of Tasmania student username, email address and password. You will use your username and password to access eStudent to complete your enrolment, and to access the course content through the MyLO online learning platform.

Please allow 10 working days for us to process your application. If you have not received a response after 10 working days, please contact us by email course.info@utas.edu.au, phone 1300 363 864, or via the Contact Us online form.

What happens if my application is not successful? Will someone contact me?

All applicants will be advised about the outcome of their application.

What happens if I begin the unit after the official start date?

This unit is delivered entirely online and for this reason, you can control your study to suit you and make up for any time you may have missed. Please note however that there will be assessment tasks due on certain dates, so please contact us by email course.info@utas.edu.au, phone 1300 363 864, or via the Contact Us online form to discuss starting the unit late.

How do I get started?

Once you have accepted your offer, you need to enrol in this unit in eStudent.

The enrolment steps are outlined below:

  1. Login to eStudent using your University username and password and navigate to the Study tab.
  1. Choose Manage Study Plan and complete any actions showing at the top of your screen before enrolling.
  2. Select the unit and add it to your study planner.
  1. Confirm study period and tick the enrolment box on the right, ensuring you save all changes on your study plan.
  1. Confirm your enrolment in the Current Enrolment tab to ensure you are correctly enrolled.

If you have any questions or need support with the process, please contact us by email course.info@utas.edu.au, phone 1300 363 864, or via the Contact Us online form.

I have received a login and password but I can't access MyLO, UTAS email or eStudent, what do I do?

Please contact the UTAS IT Service Desk for assistance: Ph +61 3 6226 2600 (8:30am - 6:00pm weekdays and 10:00am - 1:00pm weekends and Tasmanian state wide public holidays) or 1300 304 903 (local call charge within Tasmania).

I am a previous student and haven't received a username and password, what do I do?

If you have studied with UTAS before, your login details will be the same as they were previously.

If you have forgotten your login details, please contact please contact the UTAS IT Service Desk for assistance: Ph +61 3 6226 2600 (8:30am - 6:00pm weekdays and 10:00am - 1:00pm weekends and Tasmanian state wide public holidays) or 1300 304 903 (local call charge within Tasmania).

What is an eCAF?

The eCAF (electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) is a government form that is available online through eStudent. Even though there is no cost to a student undertaking this unit, completing the form is a mandatory requirement for all Commonwealth supported students.

What is Census date?

Every unit offered by a university has a published census date. Census date is the last day a student can withdraw from a unit without receiving a financial penalty.  The census date for the offering of this unit can be found at the Key University Dates 2021.

For withdrawal enquiries after census date, please contact us by email course.info@utas.edu.au, phone 1300 363 864, or via the Contact Us online form. Studying How do I pass the unit without having final exams?

There will be ongoing assessments throughout the semester. Assessments could include such items as online quizzes composed of multiple-choice and short answer questions (some of which may be time-limited), online discussion forums and/or presenting your work.

What will I be required to do when studying in this unit?

All units have a different level of expected study time, please visit the Diploma of Sustainable Living page.

How do I pass the unit without having final exams?

There will be ongoing assessments throughout the semester. Assessments could include such items as online quizzes composed of multiple-choice and short answer questions (some of which may be time-limited), online discussion forums and/or presenting your work.

What does online learning look like?

Online learning may involve combining online lectures, tutorials, workshops, group work, problem-based learning or practical exercises with other approaches such as:

  • Video-conferencing
  • Resource-based learning (for example using print, video and audio)
  • Independent/group projects
  • Discussion forums

Flexible teaching and learning approaches are:

  • Learner-centred
  • About good teaching and learning practices for all students
  • Less time- and place-dependent than more traditional forms of teaching
  • Ones that increase the learner's responsibility for his or her own learning

Learning modules will be scheduled for release across the semester (often weekly or fortnightly).

When do I receive my unit outline?

Unit outlines will be available on the student unit website (MyLO) when study commences.

I have started studying this unit and I am struggling to keep up. Where can I get help?

Please contact your lecturer in the first instance.

Alternatively, please contact us by email course.info@utas.edu.au or phone 1300 363 864 we will be able to assist you with other options.

What happens if I begin the unit after the official start date?

This unit is delivered fully online. For this reason, you can study flexibly to make up for any time that you may have missed. Please note however that there will be assessment tasks due on certain dates, so please contact us by email course.info@utas.edu.au or phone 1300 363 864, to discuss starting the unit late.

I have completed my unit. How do I obtain my results?

The official release of results will occur on the date specified in the UTAS calendar. These results will be accessible from 9am on the specified date and are accessible via eStudent.

Can I use this unit result as credit towards a degree?

This unit is part of the formal requirements for the Diploma of Sustainable Living.

I wish to enrol in another unit at UTAS. How do I go about this?

You can enrol in further units within the Diploma of Sustainable Living via eStudent.

For further assistance, please contact us by email course.info@utas.edu.au, phone 1300 363 864, or the Contact Us online form.

Can I study just one unit?

Yes you can, but we encourage you to take advantage of all the other great units on offer.

Can I get a copy of my results?

You can access your eStudent account to obtain an informal statement of your results. Further information on academic records and transcripts may be found at Examinations & Results.