Building requirements for Queensland's climate zones

Consider the climatic conditions of the area where a home is to be built or renovated. The right design can:

  • provide maximum comfort for occupants
  • minimise energy running costs for cooling and heating.

As minimum building standard, you must meet the specific performance requirement P1 of the Queensland Development Code 4.1—Sustainable buildings for the energy efficiency of the building shell in all climate zones.

The climatic conditions across Queensland include:

  • hot and humid in the tropical north
  • warm and mild from central to southern Queensland along the subtropical coast
  • cool and temperate on the Darling Downs
  • hot and dry in the western arid interior.

Under the National Construction Code (NCC), Queensland has 4 key climate zones for building requirements.

  • Climate zone 1: Tropical
  • Climate zone 2: Sub-tropical
  • Climate zone 3: Hot arid
  • Climate zone 5: Warm temperate

Climate zone 4 does not exist in Queensland.

View a map of Queensland's four climate zones as defined by the NCC (as based on local government areas).

Climate zone 1: Tropical

Location

  • The coastal zones north of Mackay including inland areas of Cape York Peninsula and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Description

  • This zone is characterised by hot humid summers, warm winters and high summer rainfall.

Average January maximum temperature1

  • 31.5°C

Average July maximum temperature1

  • 25.8°C

Passive design features

The main aim of dwelling design in this zone is to cool the interior of the home all year round. Passive design features can include:

  • northern orientation for living room, with low-use rooms facing west (e.g. garages, bathroom and laundry)
  • minimise east and west facing walls and windows
  • allow for good ventilation – windows and doorways able to catch breezes
  • ceiling fans and high ceilings
  • wide eaves and awnings to shade the whole house
  • ensure roof space is well-insulated and ventilated (e.g. whirlybirds and eave vents)
  • insulate walls
  • lighter building materials, such as timber and metal
  • high-performance glazing where windows are exposed directly to the sun (e.g. low-e or tinted glazing on eastern and western aspects)
  • if using air conditioning, ensure room is well-insulated and sealed
  • light-coloured roof and walls
  • well-located outdoor living area.

1. Bureau of Meteorology – Cairns (site number: 031011).

Climate zone 2: Sub-tropical

Location

  • The coastal zones south of Mackay including south-east Queensland.

Description

  • This zone is characterised by warm humid summers and mild winters.

Average January maximum temperature2

  • 30.5°C

Average July maximum temperature2

  • 22.0°C

Passive design features

The main aim of dwelling design in this zone is to cool the interior of the home for summer and provide some warmth for winter. Passive design features can include:

  • northern orientation for living room, with low-use rooms facing west (e.g. garages, bathroom and laundry)
  • minimise east and west facing walls and windows
  • allow for good ventilation – windows and doorways able to catch breezes
  • ceiling fans and high ceilings
  • wide eaves and awnings to shade eastern and western side of house in summer, but also allows winter sun inside
  • ensure roof space is well-insulated and ventilated (e.g. whirlybirds and eave vents)
  • insulate walls
  • lighter building materials like timber and metal; with some denser materials for winter warmth, like concrete and bricks
  • high-performance glazing where windows are exposed directly to the sun (e.g. low-e or tinted glazing on eastern and western aspects)
  • when using air conditioning, ensure room is well-insulated and sealed
  • light-coloured roof and walls
  • well-located outdoor living area.

2. Bureau of Meteorology – Brisbane (site number: 040913).

Climate zone 3: Hot arid

Location

  • Interior regions west of The Great Dividing Range.

Description

  • This zone is characterised by hot dry summers and cold winter nights.

Average January maximum temperature3

  • 35.1°C

Average July maximum temperature3

  • 19.7°C

Passive design features

This climate zone presents some complex design issues given its seasonal extremes. To account for these, passive design features can include:

  • northern orientation for living room, with low-use rooms facing west (e.g. garages, bathroom and laundry)
  • minimise east and west facing walls and windows
  • allow for good ventilation – windows and doorways able to catch breezes
  • ceiling fans
  • wide eaves and awnings to shade eastern and western side of house in summer, northern eave provides shade in summer, but also allows winter sun inside
  • ensure roof space is well-insulated and ventilated (e.g. whirlybirds and eave vents)
  • insulate walls
  • lighter building materials, such as timber and metal with some denser materials for winter warmth, such as concrete and bricks
  • high-performance glazing in windows that are exposed directly to the sun (e.g. low-e or tinted glazing on eastern and western aspects)
  • if using air conditioning ensure room is well-insulated and sealed
  • light-coloured roof and walls
  • well-coloured outdoor living area
  • well-located outdoor living area.

3. Bureau of Meteorology - Charleville (site number: 044021).

Climate zone 5: Warm temperate

Location

  • Darling Downs region.

Description

  • This zone is characterised by cool winters and warm summers.

Average January maximum temperature4

  • 28.4°C

Average July maximum temperature4

  • 16.8°C

Passive design features

The main aim of dwelling design in this zone is to keep the home warm in winter. Passive design features can include:

  • northern orientation for living room, with low-use rooms facing west (e.g. garages, bathroom and laundry)
  • minimise east and west facing walls and windows
  • allow for good-ventilation – windows and doorways able to catch breezes
  • ceiling fans
  • wide eaves and awnings to shade eastern and western side of house in summer, northern eave provides shade in summer, but also allows winter sun inside
  • ensure roof space is well-insulated and ventilated (e.g. whirlybirds and eave vents)
  • insulated walls and floors
  • denser building materials, such as concrete and brick
  • high-performance glazing in windows that are exposed directly to the sun (e.g. low-e or tinted glazing on eastern and western aspects)
  • well-sealed doors and windows
  • if using air conditioning, ensure room is well-insulated and sealed
  • light-coloured roof
  • well-located outdoor living area.

4. Bureau of Meteorology - Toowoomba (site number: 041529).

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