This paper reports on miniaturized hydrogen sensing platforms, exploring several means of fabricating nanostructured films and evaluating their sensing characteristics. Palladium-sputtered nanoporous organosilicate matrices are fabricated using the polymeric system [polymethylsilsesquioxane (PMSSQ); polypropylene glycol (PPG); propylene glycol methyl ether acetate (PGMEA)] followed by volatilization of the liquid phase, i.e., PGMEA and PPG at their boiling points. In order to provide greater adsorption/desorption sites for the test gas, ultra-dense ZnO nano-brushes with very high aspect ratios are successfully fabricated in the porous template. Thereafter, functionalization of ZnO is performed by sputter coating thin Pd films onto the ZnO surface. Intensive characterization for these nanostructures is performed using FESEM, EDAX, FTIR, TEM and AFM techniques. Comparison of all fabricated sensing platforms for hydrogen gas-dependent responses based on temperature, as well as test gas concentrations at various ppm levels, is performed. Palladium coating of ZnO nano-brushes renders this film highly selective to hydrogen and also improves its sensitivity by a factor of ∼66% relative to the uncoated film. Sensitivity to hydrogen is found to be ∼70% and a selectivity test is performed with CO2 and CH4, with sensitivities of 5% and 7%, respectively. Pd-functionalized ZnO nano-brushes display enhanced hydrogen response behaviour. © 2016, © 2016 Author(s). Licensee InTech.