The 17 Things

Zoning simply means the presence of doors or partitions that can be closed to create zones that can be separately heated and cooled when required instead of the whole house. It is important that both rooms and floors can be zoned.

No 5: Zoning

The 17 Things

What Is It?

Zoning simply means that the rooms in your home have doors or partitions that can be closed. This creates spatial zones that can be separately cooled or heated when required instead of having to cool or heat the whole house. There are two main types of zoning; the ability to close off rooms, and to be able to isolate between each level of the home.

It is a principal of passive design.

Zoning-floor-plan

The red crosses identify where adding zoning makes the house more comfortable. In this 2-storey design it is difficult to zone off the first floor from the ground floor due to the open stairwell and void being such a strong feature.

How will it help me reduce my running costs and increase my comfort?

Activating zones by simply closing doors or partitions (between rooms or between levels of the home) can help regulate temperature in your home by limiting the space that needs to be heated or cooled. This brings concentrated comfort and reduced running costs.

Some staircase designs have folding doors so you can zone each level of the house.

Some staircase designs have folding doors so you can zone each level of the house.
Image credits to ©iStock.com/Naphat_Jorjee

It is important that both rooms and floors can be zoned. As hot air rises and cold air falls, this can cause significant changes in temperature between the ground floor rooms and the first floor rooms, known as convection.

Different door systems can offer the benefits of zoning while still providing an open and light environment. And remember you only need to “zone off” rooms and floors during the months when you need to heat or cool your home to become comfortable; the rest of the year they can be open. So zoning works both ways; closing it off and then being able to open them up to enable cross-ventilation. It’s all about how you use your house to adapt to climate changes.

What professional should I talk to about this?

The Centre for Liveability Real Estate always recommends you consult further with any relevant specialist design or building consultants or assessors before making any decision regarding your specific property based on the Liveability Property Marketing Features™.

There are many architects and building designers, and an increasing number of builders, who understand passive design and are skilled in techniques to improve it. They include HIA GreenSmart builders and designersMaster Builders Green Living buildersBDA and BDAV (VIC only) building designers.

Finding the potential in existing homes is not difficult, especially if the house has “good bones” – good, basic materials and a layout that can be easily altered to take advantage of zoning. You may even find that the doors have been removed years ago and are still in the garage!

Is there anything I need to know before I meet with them?

Creating new openings for doors or partitions may require renovation to your home so having any existing plans of the house will also help them conceptualise a design solution. Being clear about what you want to achieve is always important, as is having a clear understanding of these basic 17 Things™.

What is the price range I can expect?

Some professionals may give you some very preliminary advice for free, others may only indicate the sorts of solutions they may provide, so you will need to work this out when you first speak to them. Generally, you get the advice you have paid for, so don’t be afraid to pay a moderate amount (at least some hundreds of dollars) for a site-specific and detailed analysis of your home and its potential for improvement, pending inclusion of a broader assessment of other issues (refer to other items in the list of the 17 Things™).

Where can I find more information?

There are several good sources for further reading, but the single best place to start is Your Home: Australia’s Guide to Environmentally Sustainable Homes, with its excellent introduction.

You can see Liveability for more tips, including little things to do for each room of your home before and after you have zoned the areas for efficiency and a guide to draught sealing.

Sustainability Victoria’s Smarter Renovation also has information on smarter renovation designs that include zoning and tips for draught sealing.

If I already have this feature, is there anything I need to know about using it effectively?

Zoning needs you to make it come alive. Get the whole family involved in closing doors when they are leaving an area that is “zoned off” to create a lovely cool space in summer or a warm and cosy place in winter. It can only be activated when doors and partitions are closed so be conscious that you should close off rooms and the floors when needed.

To help make zoning even more effective you can also seal spaces under the door which are letting in draughts. This can be done using draught sealers available at local hardware stores. Make sure to seek advice from your local retailer before application.

Does this work better when combined with any of the other 17 Things™?

Zoning is really about giving you control; opening doors and partitions can help cool breezes to flow through the home and between floors while closing them off will create zones that can help warm or cool rooms faster using efficient heating and cooling devices.  It works best when combined with No. 4 Cross-ventilation and No. 10 Efficient Heating and Cooling Devices. It also works well when combined with No. 6 Insulation.

Will this feature be recognised when I sell my property?

Yes; Liveability Real Estate Specialist sales agents and property managers have been upskilled to identify an additional 17 Things™ on top of a standard property appraisal. So if you have invested in any of the 17 Things™ this means your property will be appraised and marketed with real skill and with the best marketing resources for online and print media.

You can book a free property appraisal with a Liveability Real Estate Specialist any time you’re ready to sell or even if you’re not planning to sell for a couple of years. Each of the 17 Things™ has appraisal benchmarks (relevant to existing and new homes) which have been set by relevant industry partners to make sure we deliver a high standard of property marketing. So your Liveability Real Estate Specialist will work through this appraisal checklist with you as they move through your home. It’s a great chance for you to let them know about all the property features you have invested in.


Any questions?

We’re here to help! Just send us your enquiry.

What Is It?

Zoning simply means that the rooms in your home have doors or partitions that can be closed. This creates spatial zones that can be separately cooled or heated when required instead of having to cool or heat the whole house. There are two main types of zoning; the ability to close off rooms, and to be able to isolate between each level of the home.

It is a principal of passive design.

Zoning-floor-plan

The red crosses identify where adding zoning makes the house more comfortable. In this 2-storey design it is difficult to zone off the first floor from the ground floor due to the open stairwell and void being such a strong feature.

How will it help me reduce my running costs and increase my comfort?

Activating zones by simply closing doors or partitions (between rooms or between levels of the home) can help regulate temperature in your home by limiting the space that needs to be cooled. This brings concentrated comfort and reduced running costs.

Some staircase designs have folding doors so you can zone each level of the house.

Some staircase designs have folding doors so you can zone each level of the house.
Image credits to ©iStock.com/Naphat_Jorjee

It is important that both rooms and floors can be zoned. As hot air rises and cold air falls, this can cause significant changes in temperature between the ground floor rooms and the first floor rooms, known as convection.

Different door systems can offer the benefits of zoning while still providing an open and light environment. And remember you only need to “zone off” rooms and floors during the months when you need to cool your home to become comfortable; the rest of the year they can be open. So zoning works both ways; closing it off and then being able to open them up to enable cross ventilation. It’s all about how you use your house to adapt to climate changes.

What professional should I talk to about this?

The Centre for Liveability Real Estate always recommends you consult further with any relevant specialist design or building consultants or assessors before making any decision regarding your specific property based on the Liveability Property Marketing Features™.

There are many architects and building designers, and an increasing number of builders, who understand passive design and are skilled in techniques to improve it. They include HIA GreenSmart builders and designersMaster Builders Green Living builders and BDA building designers.

Finding the potential in existing homes is not difficult, especially if the house has “good bones” – good, basic materials and a layout that can be easily altered to take advantage of zoning. You may even find that the doors have been removed years ago and are still in the garage!

Is there anything I need to know before I meet with them?

Creating new openings for doors or partitions may require renovation to your home so having any existing plans of the house will also help them conceptualise a design solution. Being clear about what you want to achieve is always important, as is having a clear understanding of these basic 17 Things™.

What is the price range I can expect?

Some professionals may give you some very preliminary advice for free, others may only indicate the sorts of solutions they may provide, so you will need to work this out when you first speak to them. Generally, you get the advice you have paid for, so don’t be afraid to pay a moderate amount (at least some hundreds of dollars) for a site-specific and detailed analysis of your home and its potential for improvement, pending inclusion of a broader assessment of other issues (refer to other items in the list of the 17 Things™).

Where can I find more information?

There are several good sources for further reading, but the single best place to start is Your Home: Australia’s Guide to Environmentally Sustainable Homes, with its excellent introduction.

You can see Liveability for more tips, including little things you can do for each room of your home before and after you have zoned the areas for efficiency and a guide to draught sealing.

Your local council and state or territory government may also have free information available for you to download, such as the Queensland Government and their tips for smart and sustainable homes. Make sure to look out for resources specific to the tropical climate.

If I already have this feature, is there anything I need to know about using it effectively?

Zoning needs you to make it come alive. Get the whole family involved in closing doors when they are leaving an area that is “zoned off” to create a lovely cool. It can only be activated when doors and partitions are closed so be conscious that you should close off rooms and the floors when needed.

To help make zoning even more effective you can also seal spaces under the door which are letting cool air escape. This can be done using draught sealers available at local hardware stores. Make sure to seek advice from your local retailer before application.

Does this work better when combined with any of the other 17 Things™?

Zoning is really about giving you control; opening doors and partitions can help cool breezes to flow through the home and between floors while closing them off will create zones that can help cool rooms faster using efficient heating and cooling devices.  It works best when combined with No. 4 Cross-Ventilation and No. 10 Efficient Heating and Cooling Devices.

Will this feature be recognised when I sell my property?

Yes; Liveability Real Estate Specialist sales agents and property managers have been upskilled to identify an additional 17 Things™ on top of a standard property appraisal. So if you have invested in any of the 17 Things™ this means your property will be appraised and marketed with real skill and with the best marketing resources for online and print media.

You can book a free property appraisal with a Liveability Real Estate Specialist any time you’re ready to sell or even if you’re not planning to sell for a couple of years. Each of the 17 Things™ has appraisal benchmarks (relevant to existing and new homes) which have been set by relevant industry partners to make sure we deliver a high standard of property marketing. So your Liveability Real Estate Specialist will work through this appraisal checklist with you as they move through your home. It’s a great chance for you to let them know about all the property features you have invested in.


Any questions?

We’re here to help! Just send us your enquiry.

The 17 Things

The 17 Things

The 17 Things™ are property features that have the potential to reduce running costs and increase comfort if used correctly. You can discuss incorporating these into your renovation with with your architect, building designer or builder. The real estate industry is now identifying these Liveability Property Features™at point of sale or rent through agents that have completed additional training as Liveability Real Estate Specialists.