The CSR Hebel PowerPanel system was used in a wall cladding application at a new home in Ceres, Victoria to provide excellent thermal and acoustic performance. The Barrabool Hills Estate project not only received a 7.6 Star rating but also proved that an energy efficient and fire resistant home could also be a beautiful home.

Owner-builder Glenn Batson sought a home that would be a showpiece for indoor and outdoor entertaining, while taking advantage of the 180-degree views of the surrounding hills. Sustainability and energy efficiency were also very important aspects, with an emphasis on reducing the need for heating and cooling. With the large site situated amongst rolling hills in the rural setting of Ceres, the home design also needed to take into account the wind coming in from the south west.

The design incorporated as much northerly aspect as possible to maximise energy efficiency. Solar passive design used for the placement of rooms allowed for comfortable living, while the northern deck created the indoor/outdoor living area sought by the client. Timber double glazed windows were used throughout, with a louvre shading system installed to shade the northern windows in summer, while allowing the winter sun to penetrate into the home. A concrete slab, Hebel PowerPanel wall system with great thermal properties, and a strategically placed masonry internal wall have been integrated to gain excellent levels of thermal mass.

All the building materials used in the 240m² project incorporated various aspects of efficiency and sustainability, blending with the surrounding rural environment, especially the sandstone blocks and muted render tones capturing the subtle tones of the landscape. Hebel was the preferred building material for the external cladding, offering a 30% lower environmental impact than concrete or brick veneer.

The Hebel PowerPanelXL system is a high performance masonry panel system, which provides solid, secure, steel-reinforced walls boasting strong acoustic values for added privacy and sound insulation. Offering up to three times the insulation R-value of a traditional 110mm house brick, the unique combination of thermal resistance and thermal mass assists in reducing energy costs.

These thermal mass elements trap the winter gain within the home, helping stabilise internal temperatures from day to day, while maintaining a comfortable living environment throughout the year.

Project highlights of the Barrabool Hills Estate home also include the use of correct insulation in different areas of the home such as a combination of breathable reflective foil and R1.5 polyester bulk insulation for the wall, and a combination of R2.5 polyester bulk insulation with Concertina double sided foil insulation for the ceiling; roof ventilation enabled by a thermostatically controlled roof fan that switches on when the roof space exceeds a set temperature; windows on the hot western side of the house kept to an absolute minimum with the garage also acting as a buffer to stop the summer sun from overheating the house in the afternoon; internal spaces filled with ample natural light, with white used to emphasise the rich colour of the timber flooring and timber windows; and clean lines creating a simple, yet stunning indoor living area overlooking the rolling hills.

The project also harnessed the natural benefits of the sun and rain with solar power cells and a huge water tank installed to minimise the home’s environmental footprint. The 130,000L water tank harvests all the rain from the roof of the home and shed and supplies all of the home’s water needs. A specialised heat recovery ventilation system installed in the home circulates the air from the northern rooms to the rest of the home, while replacing stale air with fresh air, creating a user defined humidity level for a comfortable home all year round.

CSR Hebel PowerPanelXL wall system

A strong reinforced aerated concrete panel system, Hebel PowerPanelXL, when combined with reflected house wrap and R1.5 insulation gives an outstanding overall wall system value of more than R3. Being aerated concrete, the product is considered a lightweight material and can be installed easily.

Darren Evans from Solar Solutions Design chose Hebel for the external wall cladding in this project for a variety of reasons including ease of installation; thermal qualities ensuring even and controlled comfort levels; rendered finish eliminating any movement; and fire resistance, which is important for buildings in rural areas prone to bushfires.

The use of the energy efficient Hebel PowerPanelXL wall system in the project has reduced the heating and cooling needs of the homeowner, lowering ongoing costs by about 50 per cent. This house has showcased that excellent energy efficiency can be achieved in the suburbs at an affordable rate without compromising the style, comfort, health and lifestyle demands of clients.