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PhD Research

Sustainable Housing for Equity and Energy Efficiency


Phillipa Watson

School: School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania
Sponsors: The Office of Energy Planning and Conservation and the University of Tasmania


‘Sustainable Housing for Equity and Energy Efficiency’ is a PhD research project currently underway at the University of Tasmania in the School of Geography and Environment Studies. The project is investigating opportunities for social and environmental improvements in the existing Tasmanian housing stock.

The renewal or retrofitting of existing housing, under sustainable guidelines, offers the opportunity for improvement in occupants’ quality of life and a reduction of ecological and economic impacts.

The research asks:

What drives and impedes sustainable housing renewal in Tasmania and how can we facilitate relevant sustainable action?

Links to sustainable built environment information is provided below:

Tasmanian Sustainable Living Organisations

Sustainable Living Tasmania is an organisation that provides support for sustainable living practices for homes and businesses -

Up2me the Environment Challenge is led by the Sustainable Living Tasmania Centre and the Tasmania Government and challenges people to change their lifestyles -

Launceston Environment Centre - 

Home Energy Management

Sustainable Living Tasmania

Home Energy Guide - (click on “Home Energy Guide’)

Sustainable Living Guides - 

NABERS HOME - National Australian Built Environment Rating System (a government environmental assessment tool) (Can be used to assess the energy and water efficiency of your home and suggests ways to reduce energy and water use)

Aurora Energy Residential Energy Saving Tips -

Tasmanian Government Department of Primary Industries and Water Environmental Quality:  Use Woodheaters Properly -

Home Water Management

Australian, Sate and Territory Governments:
Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) Scheme

Australian Government and Building and Construction Industry Your Home Manual:

Australian Government Department of Environment and Water Resources Greenhouse Challenge Plus Fact Sheet #6: Water Efficiency

Sydney Water 10 easy Ways to Save Water in Your Home

CSIRO House Water Expert Software

Environmental Design and Living Resources

The Australian Council of Built Environment Design Professionals has a subscription to the Environment Design Guide that presents information on built environment issues. 

The Your Home Guide is published by the Australian Government and provides information on environmentally considered house design. It is a joint initiative of the Australian Government and the design and construction industries.

NSW Government Our Environment It’s a Living Thing: Easy Guides Resource Centre

Victorian Government: Sustainability Victoria 

Retrofitting Houses

Making Your Home Sustainable: A guide to Retrofitting by Derek Wrigley presents practical ways to retrofit for improved comfort and efficiency in your home. This is an original book and provides useful information hard to find elsewhere. It is available from the website “Derek Wrigley Design”  (2005 Scribe Publications, Melbourne) 

(See also the work of Anthony Weaver, referenced below)

Resource Efficiency for Organisations (Tasmania)

The CleanBiz program is helping to encourage the efficient use of materials, energy and water by Tasmanian organisations.

Office Water Management

Australian Government Water efficiency guide: office and public buildings Department of the Environment and Heritage 

Tasmanian Government Policy

Tasmania Together

Affordable housing strategy for Tasmania

Tasmania Online Library: Sustainable development 

Australian Government Policy

National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development

Federal, State and Territory Governments, National Framework for Energy Efficiency 

Climate Change

Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology Climate Change 

Climatic Context

Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology (useful for rainfall, temperatures and prevailing wind information) 

University of Tasmania

Thermal Mass and Thermoregulation: A Study of Thermal Comfort in Temperate Climate Residential Buildings is a PhD research project by Sam Parsons in the Geography and Environmental Studies School.

Weaver, A. 2004 Retrofitting Conventional Houses Inexpensively to Improve Energy Efficiency Masters Thesis, School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania (Copies available at the University of Tasmania Library).