Building towards a more sustainable and energy-efficient future

  • 2020

  • Service
    Public Sector Services

Designed By:

  • NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
  • Meld Studios

Commissioned By:

The Collaborative Sustainable Housing Initiative

(NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment)

Designed In:


New homes are a major contributor to global warming. While builders in New South Wales are designing energy-efficient homes to address this problem, they struggle to sell the benefits to homebuyers. This service engages builders and homebuyers to co-design solutions to this challenge.

  • MORE
  • While forward-thinking builders are designing energy-efficient homes, they've had little luck selling them via a strategy that focuses on the technological aspects of these homes, as well as the advantages of "being sustainable". Our challenge was to enable builders to understand what it is that makes an energy-efficient home appealing to homebuyers, so they can translate these benefits into their organisation's marketing materials (e.g. ads, brochures, and display home banners), as well as into quick conversations busy salespeople—who may not care about energy efficiency— would be prepared to weave into the types of conversations they are already having with homebuyers.

  • We worked with homebuyers and builders to co-design solutions to increase sales of energy-efficient homes, including: Forums where builders can come together to understand homebuyer psychology, sales and marketing techniques, and new technologies. Customisable sales & marketing materials/templates to help builders communicate the connection between the energy-efficient features of the homes (e.g. insulation, draught-proofing, solar panels) and some key elements we discovered homebuyers see as desirable in their ‘dream’ homes: light, comfort and long-term savings. Training to help time-poor salespeople quickly articulate the benefits of energy-efficient homes, during the course of their normal conversations with homebuyers, to increase their sales.

  • Together, the services and tools we’ve designed: Reduce the life-time environmental footprint of tens of thousands of new homes across NSW by: -Reassuring builders that there’s a market for energy-efficient homes, thereby encouraging them to build more of these homes. -Giving builders the confidence and know-how to sell more energy efficient homes. Ensure that more people benefit from living in an energy efficient home: -That naturally stays warmer in winter and cooler in summer. -With lots of natural lighting. -With lower long-term running costs, which frees up money for other purposes.

  • Co-Design across an entire industry One of the major barriers to adoption of change is the extent to which it can be integrated into existing ways of thinking and working. This is particularly true when those affected represent an entire industry, including direct competitors with different ideologies, approaches and products. This change was co-designed with leaders, sustainability, sales and marketing professionals across NSW. We tested and refined prototypes of the tools and services we were designing with this group of stakeholders. The result is a change that can be integrated into today’s practices and processes and therefore paves the way towards industry-wide change. Insight-informed Our designs will allow builders to move beyond technical specifications and a reliance of the word "sustainability", instead focusing on tangible benefits homebuyers want in their new homes. This shifting of language and focus is borne from our design process, which enabled us to deeply understand homebuyer needs and aspirations. Finding the right sponsor This project also explored the ongoing role of NSW Government - who commissioned this work - in supporting industry-wide change by bringing industry players together. E.g. Involving peak industry body Housing Industry Association, as they may help to encourage builders into embracing the change.