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Energy Efficient Housing, South East Perth


City of Gosnells

City of Gosnells, Western Australia

Project stage



Start date: 17 January 2018
End date: 22 May 2019

Project value

Australian Government funding:


  • City of Armadale
  • Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale
  • BCG Building

Focus area

  • City and community planning
  • Natural environmental data and measurement (air quality, dust, noise, waterways)

Project type

  • Community engagement
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Smart energy (solar power, energy storage, batteries)
  • Smart building (intelligent, sustainable, management, performance)

Technology type

  • Internet of Things
  • Wi-Fi
  • Environmental sensors

Open data link

Project link

Project summary

Are you living in a hot house? Is your home as comfortable as it could be?

The answers to these questions vary based on climate and geography, making it difficult to find the right advice. Home builders and renovators are confronted by many choices and need short, snappy advice to make sustainable choices.

Using internet of things devices we have captured the temperature inside two similar homes, differing in roof colour. The temperature and complimentary messages are streamed to a digital billboard in real-time.

The challenge

Builders are overwhelmed with decisions and have limited time and attention to incorporate sustainability into their homes. This is complicated by a lack of information at the point of purchase. Builders and renovators need to recognise that sustainability should be built into their homes and independently seek information. Available information falls broadly into two categories either from commercial entities (with a vested interest) or published at a national or international scale (with unknown local relevance).

To address these challenges it is necessary to undertake impartial, local research and present it to home builders. To encourage builders who would not otherwise consider sustainability when building, the information should be interesting and engaging as well as factual. The website www.switchyourthinking.com is presenting this information in an easy to use way, relevant for the Perth climate (also applicable to Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and Adelaide).


A digital billboard put sustainability front and centre for builders and renovators in summer 2018/19. Attention-grabbing advice, in high traffic areas, guides home builders to make choices that will result in a comfortable and energy efficient home. Locally relevant information is distilled and displayed as eye-catching graphics. Drone footage showing the impact of roof colour, data-informed graphics updated in real time (see picture) and tips rotate across the digital billboard. This project delivers essential facts about sustainable building, without getting bogged down in details or complex ideas. The information is available to a passive audience, so builders do not have to go out of their way to seek information or look at multiple publications. Find all the information you need at www.switchyourthinking.com.

To encourage professionals in the field of energy efficiency, planning and building more detailed information is available on the website www.switchyourthinking.com The website displays recent data visualised at a glance and available for download for personal use.


The benefits of building sustainable homes can reach individuals and communities. For the home occupant, a sustainable home can reduce electricity bills and improve comfort. The project has found that a home with a lighter coloured roof spends more time in the thermal comfort zone (23-27 degrees Celsius) and inside the home it is up to 5 degrees Celsius higher on hot summer days. On a neighbourhood-wide scale building sustainable homes can reduce urban heat-island effects.

This project provides proof of concept for linking internet of things devices to smart signs, which could be replicated around the world. The project used out-of-the-box product and Microsoft Power BI and Azure to transform data into user friendly outputs.


A dedicated webpage (www.switchyourthinking.com/smart-cities) has been built to display the data and step builders quickly and simply through green building principles. The full dataset is available for practitioners to download from the webpage.

The data collected through the project has revealed:
1. During the peak of summer afternoon, a house with a darker roof is up to 5 degrees Celsius hotter indoors .
2. In summer, a house with a darker roof 1 degree Celsius hotter indoors (24 hour average).
3. Having a darker coloured roof is estimated to increase air-conditioning cost by 10%.
4. In summer, a house with a darker coloured roof is outside of the living temperature considered healthy and comfortable (ASHRAE standard 55-1992) 28% of the day.
A lighter coloured roof spends 18% of the day outside the same standard
5. When building a new home, a lighter coloured roof will require no investment but will lower the running costs and improve comfort in the home during summer.
6. Insulation (R5.0) reduces heat transfer into the home by 10 degrees Celsius (compared to roof surface temperature).
7. Most home builders are not aware of the impact that roof colour will have on the temperature inside their home and further education of builders and buyers is needed.
8. Existing information about green (sustainable) building is not reaching most home builders.

Contact details

Name: Jessie Parrish
Email: mail@switchyourthinking.com