Sustainable design may be an on-trend building practice today but the concept has been around for a few decades. The energy crisis of the 1970s triggered the sustainability movement but it took a couple of decades to catch people’s imagination, especially in the residential sector.

Today, sustainability is an essential consideration in building and construction, with the shift in public perception contributing to the increased acceptance and adoption of sustainable building practices. Hebel spoke to Darren Evans from Solar Solutions Design, who has previously designed a number of beautiful homes with Hebel products, on why he believes more homeowners are choosing to build sustainably.

Evans believes the average punter has “a better understanding of what’s good and what’s not, and what direction they should be going as far as energy efficiency goes”. Today’s homeowners have better and easier access to information available on the internet, which allows them to do considerable research before meeting with their architect, designer or builder. Based on their knowledge, they are also able to give their architects or builders a better idea of their expectations and preferences.

“More people are doing their research when it comes to their building options as they want the best possible outcome. When they come across possibilities they’ve never considered before, like Hebel for example, they’re arming themselves with the necessary knowledge to then go to their builder and properly talk through all the options.”

Evans observes that clients buying their second or third home with him have become savvier with a better understanding of sustainable practices, and also have a higher expectation of quality and value.

The potential for cost savings is a major draw for clients in adopting sustainable building features in their home. Evans explains that the promise of saving a lot of money in the long run appeals to his clients; this may come from taking advantage of a block position for solar and ventilation purposes, designing to draw or avoid thermal energy, and selecting the right building materials.

Given Australia’s weather and climate extremes, homeowners prioritise comfort when they are building a new home. However, the rising energy costs also mean they need to find greener and cheaper alternatives to air conditioning.

“In a lot of ways, governments have introduced new incentives to get sustainable building off the ground and educate the general public in being more efficient,” Evans said.

One of the ways governments have supported sustainability is the implementation of efficient performance requirements for new homes. People who are building are now more aware of how efficient their homes are and how they can make them more so when meeting the necessary ratings.

The rise of sustainable design has increased the focus on building materials. Hebel’s popularity, for instance, is due to its energy efficiency compared to other products on the market.

Homeowners also have the flexibility to choose from a much wider range of materials than traditional building products, allowing them options when exploring sustainable design.

Evans adds that he helps his clients make the most of their space so that they can afford to get better insulation and better building materials like Hebel, and end up with a high-quality home within their budget.

For homeowners, sustainability is an excellent approach to building design as it enables houses to work better in their environment, use less energy and be more comfortable.