Case Study

Port Stephens Home



The NatHERS thermal performance target for the Newcastle Climate Zone is:

59.7 Heating MJ/
33.3 Cooling MJ/


The NatHERS thermal performance result for this project was:

52.6 Heating MJ/
20.1 Cooling MJ/

72.7 Total MJ/

Luxury by the Sea

Home to Anchorage Port Stephens, Corlette is where luxury meets the sea. 

A carefully considered blend of natural materials, expanses of glass and a neutral colour palette ensure this spacious coastal haven is not only beautiful designed but also achieves compliance with the National Construction Codes’ (NCC2019) energy efficiency requirements.

Designer: Torren Bell Building Design 

Location: Corlette, Port Stephens NSW 

NCC Climate Zone: 5 – Warm Temperate 

NatHERS Star Rating: 6.3 Stars 

BASIX: Deemed to Satisfy Compliance  

Solar: 2.5Kw minimum BASIX requirement 

Rainwater Tank: 5000L 

The Design

Ocean-inspired hues mixed with white-washed interiors and warming hints of timber help make this Australian home spacious and airy, and perfectly suited to its stunning coastal surroundings.

  • 3 storey coastal home
  • Garage and boat storage area
  • Includes Lift
  • 4 bedrooms
  • 3 bathrooms and powder room
  • Master bed on top floor including ‘craft nook’ (study / desk area) and extended deck area.
  • Rumpus, living and dining areas including an outdoor ‘morning coffee deck’ with servery.


Glass louvres allow fresh sea breezes to flow into the master bedroom whilst plants break up the fresh white palette and add a fresh tropical feel.


Located on the water overlooking the marina where luxury meets the sea, this beautifully designed home boasts stunning views of the Anchorage Port Stephens  

Climate Characteristics

Port Stephens falls into NCC Climate Zone 5, which is described as being a warm temperate, having four distinct seasons.

Summer and winter can exceed human comfort range, whilst spring and autumn are ideal.  Although winter can range from mild too cold with low humidity, summers are predominantly hot to very hot with moderate humidity.

Given both summer and winter can exceed the ‘human comfort range’ it is important to ensure the house is protected from unwanted solar gain throughout the summer months, but also able to receive the warmth of the sun during the winter months.

These are important factors that must be considered by all parties during the design process.

Thermal Solutions

Thermal performance is the amount of heating or cooling that makes the interiors of a home comfortable. In other words, it is a measurement of how efficiently your home can retain heat.

A building with good thermal performance will need less energy to keep the insides warm and comfortable. (CSIRO)

The following thermal performance solutions were incorporated into this project:

  • Use of composite (mixed) thermal mass including concrete slab with low-mass wall construction. 
  • Use roof spaces as a thermal buffer zone by ventilating them in summer and sealing them in winter.
  • Concrete slab on ground with a combination of polished timber, carpets, and tiles throughout.
  • The incorporation of ceiling fans also improves the cooling load during the summer months.
  • R2.0 fibreglass insulation batts to all external walls.
  • R1.30 anticon blanket +90mm reflective air / R4.0 fibreglass insulation batts 
  • 1200mm ceiling fans to all bedrooms, living area and kitchen. 


Windows and Shading 

  • Use passive solar shading on north-facing windows such as an overhang or eave. 
  • Shade all east and west-facing glass in summer with retractable awning. 

Sun Control

Solar control or sun shading is a crucial element as it blocks the sun’s heat energy when it is not desired.  And, because the sun travels different paths across the sky in the winter (low) and summer (high), an overhang can be constructed to utilise and manipulate the heat energy from the sun. 

We recommend considering adjustable shading devices to allow variable solar access in spring and autumn.  

Household Features