Housing construction and operating costs can be reduced if building codes are designed to meet local expectations of thermal comfort ─ expectations that can vary across cultures and climates. We analysed the energy and thermal comfort performance of 38 recently-built houses in the tropical savanna (Aw) climate of Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia with 4 to 7 star ratings according to the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS). Thermal comfort and personal adaptive behaviours of the 69 occupants were assessed using a questionnaire while, simultaneously, indoor environmental parameters were monitored. Perceptions of thermal comfort were then compared to those predicted from modelling. We found that many people were comfortable in warmer and more humid conditions than is assumed by national building codes, with many people opting for use of fans at set at high speeds instead. Large lots close to parks had the lowest use of air conditioners in the warm seasons, with very little air-conditioner use at other times.