Helen Lloyd-Martin from design firm 3D Environment is a big advocate for Hebel, believing it to be the obvious choice for the eco-conscious. However, the benefits of using Hebel go beyond reducing our impact on the environment – it can also have a dramatic effect on her client's energy bills as well.
With energy prices doubling over the past decade, households across Australia are being hit with larger bills. Helen has seen first-hand how much this has affected Australian homeowners.
“Ridiculous energy bills are just a given, but I’ve had clients come to me with a quarterly energy bill from their previous homes of over $2,000, which to me is absolutely horrifying,” Helen explained.
Despite the hike in energy costs, Helen is at a loss how usage could be so high, even for larger houses, and points to poor design as a major culprit.
From houses that do not have a single north facing window to brick veneer walls that aren’t properly insulated, Helen is of the opinion that are a lot of houses being built aren’t in line with current thinking in sustainable building and it’s hitting homeowners in their back pockets.
Instead of an uninsulated brick veneer wall, a simple improvement would be to replace the brick with Hebel block or Hebel PowerPanelXL.
There is also a long-standing preconception that eco-friendly designs are only for high end builds, but Helen has proved that incorporating passive design is achievable on any budget.
You don’t have to have all the bells and whistles to achieve good passive design. Most people don’t have the budget for that anyway. The techniques I use are really simple, and many of the choices I make in terms of [sustainable] design and materials selection are not costing a lot more.
Helen finds it a little frustrating that many in the building industry aren’t embracing sustainability, because there is definitely a market for it. Her firm, 3D Environment, has won projects over the years, through her reputation as an energy efficient designer, and through recommendations from previous clients who have discovered the “life-changing benefits” of passive design.
Helen’s specialty in sustainable design has not only helped her clients build more eco-conscious homes, but has also impacted the way she lives herself. Her 21-year-old home is built with Hebel blocks and has provided her family with a sustainable, quiet and very comfortable home to live in year-round. Helen finds it rewarding to offer her clients similar benefits, and also help them reduce growing energy costs, which will surely benefit them in the uncertain years to come.