Energy Aspect Living: Energy-Efficient Homes
More than walls and floors
“To us a home is more that the structure. It is a place that maximises what nature provides us for free, and provides its owners with comfortable year round living with minimal need for external inputs.” This was the philosophy that shaped the home that Donna Bartsch and husband Danny Pauley wanted to build for themselves. However, they soon found that there were few builders offering the approach to building that they sought. Rather than compromise on their dream, they identified an opportunity to provide the same services to other people as they themselves wanted. Of course, it helped that Danny’s skills in carpentry and horticulture complemented Donna’s background in environmental science, and in 2007 Energy Aspect Living was born.
“When business commenced there was a limited awareness of the benefits of building a home to be energy efficient,” says Donna. “Today people are more aware and are actively looking for ways to reduce living expenses and to live sustainably.” She identifies two motives for their clients: doing the right thing by the environment and reducing their ongoing living expenses. “Both objectives can be achieved by building a home in balance with nature. It doesn’t necessarily have to cost more to build for energy efficiency, it just takes some good and well informed planning early in the design phase followed by good quality construction.”
And you don’t need to build or renovate to gain efficiencies. Donna identifies a number of simple things that people can do to reduce energy use in existing homes. “Seal around doors, invest in good quality curtains, install pelmets over windows and insulate the roof space.” She also recommends zoning areas for heating and cooling and closing doors to the living rooms to only heat or cool the rooms where you spend most of your time.
When it comes to new homes or renovations, Danny and Donna’s goal is to make it easy and convenient for occupiers to save energy.
Builders with attitude
Energy Aspect Living practices what it preaches. They minimise waste both in the office and on construction sites. They have reduced building waste to such an extent that they build without using a skip. Any waste that can’t be avoided is recycled.
Ensuring the energy performance of a home or renovation is as good as it can be is largely a matter of attitude. It also relies on good technique and attention to detail. “We understand materials and how they can be best applied to improve performance of the home,” says Donna. “With new products hitting the market we are also willing to try new techniques if they help us improve energy efficiency.”
Good understanding and knowledge of design as well as construction ensures each home is built to plan. Donna says that there are often details in plans that enhance energy efficiency performance and it is important that these are implemented during construction. Too often they get overlooked by builders who don’t understand the reasons why the details are there.
“We commenced business to provide leadership in energy efficient and sustainable building,” says Donna. “For us there is no other way to build or renovate. Sustainability always has been and will continue to be our passion and our focus.”
Focus is one thing. It also took hard work and determination to build the business, but it’s paid off with Energy Aspect Living continuing to grow and regularly adding to their swag of awards. That growth is also opening up opportunities for like-minded tradespeople to join their team.
Donna’s and Danny’s plans are to keep offering the same products and services they do today, but to achieve a larger share of the market. “It’s all about helping more people live a sustainable lifestyle,” says Donna.
All images: Energy Aspect Living