The 17 Things

Shade structures can range from awnings to eaves, shutters and shade sails to deciduous trees and other vegetation. These external additions to your home can play an important role in controlling the sun’s heat from entering your home, and reduce your reliance on mechanical cooling.

No 9: Shading or Sun Control

The 17 Things

What Is It?

Example of shading (sail)

Awnings can be fixed or adjustable to help you control the amount of shading you require.

Shading or sun control measures refer to the external additions to your home which limit the sun’s heat from entering your home. External shade structures can range from awnings to eaves, shutters, shade sails, deciduous trees and other vegetation.

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

Seeking a nice shady spot is such a simple and intuitive solution to keeping cool but many of us don’t realise what huge benefits it can bring on a whole house scale. In summer, blocking or reducing the direct heat from the sun with shading means your house is naturally cooler, reducing the demand for artificial heating. With strategically placed shading, you can block up to 90% of all heat coming through your windows.

The type of shading and sun control measures you should use will first depend on the orientation of the room, what climate zone your property is in and what existing shade there is on or nearby your property.

Awning example

This photo shows the north side of a house at midday in March. The eave overhang completely protects the window from sun.

The Best Type of Shading for the North Side: For most of Australia the side of your house which benefits the most with shading is the north.  On the north side you can install horizontal shade structures such as eaves and awnings. In summer these will act like a sun visor to exclude the high and hot summer sun. In winter, the sun, travelling low to the horizon, will still reach under your shade structures to allow in precious winter warmth (see more about how this works).

Contemporary shade sails can be aesthetically pleasing and allow you to choose exactly how much shade you get on any given day – which is particularly useful in spring and autumn. Mechanical awnings also offer choice and convenience. In recent times the science of shading has taken a leap forward with attractive architectural louvres. These have spaces and angles specifically tailored to allow maximum winter warmth and summer shade.

If you’re looking for something more classical or naturalistic, pergolas hung with deciduous vines provide a cool haven, and can be integrated as a beautiful garden feature.

The east and west sides of your house are a little more challenging to shade effectively. At sunrise (east) and sunset (west) the sun hangs low in the sky. That means in summer it’s going to get under horizontal structures for an uncomfortably long period. The trick to shading morning and afternoon sun is fixed “vertical” structures such as trees or shrubs.

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™.

Architects, building designers and landscape architects are skilled in helping you find the right shading for your home. They include HIA GreenSmart builders and designersMaster Builders Green Living buildersBDA and BDAV (VIC only) building designers.

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

Being clear about what you want to achieve is important, as is having a clear understanding of the basics, so you can have confidence they know what they are talking about.

Adding new shading may require renovation to your home so having any existing plans of the house will also help them conceptualise a design solution.

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™).

Good advice of this sort could make many tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of difference to the value of your long-term investment.

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 on shading.

Your local council and state or territory government may also have free information available for you to download.

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

If you already have shading or sun control features, make sure that they complement the orientation in your living rooms to ensure the winter sun gain is maximised while the summer heat gain is minimised.

Simple tweaks to your shading will lead to a decreased need for mechanical cooling inside the home. Additional steps you can take to increase sun control include painting your roof and exterior in lighter colours so they are able to reflect sunlight. Light-coloured roofs can reflect up to 70% of heat gain.

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

Shading and sun control naturally combine with No 8. Windows and when these are both combined with No 3.Orientation then you have the basis for passive shading and heating which controls the direct sunlight that enters the home in summer while maximising it in winter.

With the right shading, you can block the summer heat while letting the winter sun enter your rooms to warm the home naturally.

With the right shading, you can block the summer heat while letting the winter sun enter your rooms to warm the home naturally.

Ideally, the top of the window should be at least 30% of the height (from underside of eaves to sill) below the eaves. Otherwise, that window area will be permanently in shade i.e. receives no solar gain in winter. See the table below for how the rule is applied.

In general, the eave width should be about 450mm – 600mm.

Height of window, door or main glazed areaWidth of eave
900-1200mm450mm
1200–1350mm600mm
1350–2100mm900mm
2100–2700mm (floor to ceiling height window or glass doors)1200mm

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?

Shading or sun control refer to the external additions to your home which limit the sun’s heat from entering your home. External shade structures can range from awnings to eaves, shutters, shade sails, deciduous trees and other vegetation.

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

Seeking a nice shady spot is such a simple and intuitive solution to keeping cool but many of us don’t realise what huge benefits it can bring on a whole house scale. Blocking or reducing the direct heat from the sun with shading reduces the amount of direct sunlight that hits your windows – which means your house is naturally cooler, reducing the demand for artificial heating. With strategically placed shading, you can block up to 90% of all heat coming through your windows.

The type of shading and sun control measures you should use will first depend on the orientation of the room, what climate zone your property is in and what existing shade there is on or nearby your property.

The Best Type of Shading for the North/South and East/West Sides:  In the tropical climates where you experience hot summer days, shading on both the north/south and east/west sides of the property is very important.

On the north and south side of your home, fixed eaves are an effective form of passive shading. These fixed eaves will act like a sun visor to exclude the high and hot summer sun.

The east and west sides of your house are a little more challenging to shade effectively. At sunrise (east) and sunset (west) the sun hangs low in the sky. That means it’s going to get under eaves for an uncomfortably long period. The trick to shading morning and afternoon sun is fixed “vertical” structures such as louvres, blinds and shutters. Deep horizontal shade structures such as deep verandahs and balconies are also an effective solution.

If you’re looking for something more classical or naturalistic, pergolas hung with deciduous vines provide a cool haven, and can be integrated as a beautiful garden feature. Contemporary shade sails can be aesthetically pleasing and allow you to choose exactly how much shade you get on any given day. Mechanical awnings also offer choice and convenience. In recent times the science of shading has taken a leap forward with attractive architectural louvres. These have spaces and angles specifically tailored to allow maximum winter warmth and summer shade.

Another great shading option is a fly roof, which can be used to shade the whole house. This shading option is elevated from the roof so that cool breezes can also flow underneath and through the house.

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™.

Architects, building designers and landscape architects are skilled in helping you find the right shading for your home. They include HIA GreenSmart builders and designers, Master Builders Green Living builders and BDA building designers.

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

Being clear about what you want to achieve is important, as is having a clear understanding of the basics, so you can have confidence they know what they are talking about.

Adding new shading may require renovation to your home so having any existing plans of the house will also help them conceptualise a design solution.

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™).

Good advice of this sort could make many tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of difference to the value of your long-term investment.

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 on shading.

COOLmob also has information on designing for the tropics  that includes shading.

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?

If you already have shading or sun control features, make sure that they complement the orientation of your home to ensure the heat gain is minimised.

Simple tweaks to your shading will lead to a decreased need for mechanical cooling inside the home. Additional steps you can take to increase sun control include painting your roof and exterior in lighter colours so they are able to reflect sunlight. Light-coloured roofs can reflect up to 70% of heat gain.

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

Shading and sun control naturally combine with No 8. Windows and when these are both combined No 3.Orientation then you have the basis for passive shading and heating which controls the direct sunlight that enters the home in summer while maximising it in winter.

In general, the eave width should be about 600mm – 1200mm.

With the right shading, you can block the wet season sun and dry season sun to cool the house naturally.

With the right shading, you can block the wet season sun and dry season sun to cool the house naturally.
Reference for diagram COOLmob www.coolmob.org.au

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.