Teacher ideas: designing a house with low ghg emissions

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What you need

A large sheet of paper and felt markers or access to a computer with a drawing program

Teaching focus

Students apply their understandings about greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions and develop strategies to reduce their emissions.

What to do

Review the Australian Greenhouse Calculator with students. As a class list aspects of the home, the appliances or items and how the students use them, that contribute to ghg emissions.

Then label the identified causes of ghg emissions using a suitable scale to describe the level of ghgs produced such as high, medium or low.

Explain that students are going to design a low ghg emission house using a computer and drawing program, or a sheet of poster paper.

Refer to the annual ghg value, the kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent annually produced by their household calculated by entering data using the Australian Greenhouse Calculator. Explain that they use this data as a comparison at the completion of the designing activity. The students use their new design as the basis for their data entry.

Students could choose Save in bottom navigation bar to save their calculation file. Students then can compare their household ghg emissions to their house designed with low ghg emissions. These files can then be used in the reporting section and viewed as a bar graph. To view the bar graph, students should choose Report in bottom navigation bar.

Bar graph showing greenhouse gas emissions

Bar graph showing greenhouse gas emissions


Prompt students to think about ghg emissions by asking questions such as:

  • How did your new design with low ghg emissions compare with your current household's ghg emissions?
  • What features of your design contribute the most to making it a low-ghg emission home?
  • What behaviours would result in high ghg emissions even when the building is designed as a low-emission home?
  • What is your responsibility when using appliances that require energy?
  • What can you apply now to your own home to make it a low-ghg emission home?

Students could write a brief summary of ten design elements or actions that contributes to lower ghg emissions in the home. They may design a brochure to present their ideas.

Further inquiry

Ask students to conduct a web search and find out what organisations in their state or territory assist home builders and home owners with making their homes more sustainable. Have students research the rating systems that measure the sustainability of homes.