From the Construct Ireland archives


Welcome to the archive of Construct Ireland, the award-winning Irish green building magazine which spawned Passive House Plus. The feature articles in these archives span from 2003 to 2011, including case studies on hundreds of Irish sustainable buildings and dozens of investigative pieces on everything from green design and building methods, to the economic arguments for low energy construction. While these articles appeared in an Irish publication, the vast majority of the content is relevant to our new audience in the UK and further afield. That said, readers from some regions should take care when reading some of the design advice - lots of south facing glazing in New Zealand may not be the wisest choice, for instance. Dip in, and enjoy!

Hollow victory

Hollow Victory
Much of the housing built around Dublin over the last forty years has been built of single-leaf nine-inch hollow block construction – which are both notoriously energy inefficient and extremely difficult to insulate effectively without causing damp problems. Lenny Antonelli visited a hollow block house which has been ecologically renovated to protect occupant health whilst shooting to the top of the energy rating scale.

Heaven sent

Heaven Sent
When it comes to redeveloping old buildings, green designers face two choices: replace existing structures with modern, energy efficient buildings or refurbish and avoid the embodied energy and waste of demolition and new construction. Lenny Antonelli visited a redeveloped convent in Booterstown, County Dublin that combines the best of both approaches.

Passive assessment

Passive Assessment
Built in 2004, Tomás O’Leary's house in Wicklow was the first in the country to be certified by the Passive House Institute — but how would it fare when subjected to a BER assessment six years later?

Heavy electricity

Heavy Electricity
SEAI recently proposed a series of changes to Deap — the software tool used to calculate BERs — including a reduction in its primary energy factor. But while this will benefit electrically-powered heating devices, some in the industry still feel systems such as heat pumps are disadvantaged by Deap and the BER system

Passivhaus or passive solar house?

Passivhaus Or Passive Solar House
Few concepts in sustainable design have caught on like the passive house. Since the construction of the first passive house in Germany in 1990, an estimated 15 to 20,000 houses have been built to what is arguably the world’s leading low energy building standard. Drawing from his experience in sustainable building since the early 1980s, Bill Quigley of NuTech Renewables posits an alternative approach.

Sustainable Sewage

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There’s rather more to designing a sustainable building than specifying low-embodied energy materials and making sure it will require little energy and maintenance in use. Low water demand and the ability to get the nutrients discharged in the sewage back to the land are important too.

Healthy cottage upgraded

Cottage Upgrade
In 2005 Construct Ireland profiled the timber frame extension to Hannah and Martin Naughton’s Meath cottage. Five years later we’re returning to profile the upgrade of the original bungalow — a renovation that demonstrates how to detail dry lining without running the risk of mould growth

Killeagh, Co. Cork

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The rapidly growing public interest in sustainable building is finally starting to impact on property developers. Bill Quigley of Nutech Consultants describes an innovative 200 house development currently on site in Co. Cork where forward-thinking developers J & W Leahy Brothers have decided that the market is ready for low energy, low CO2 buildings.

Group effort

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With the age of cheap and abundant fossil fuel energy coming to an end, district heating, where a development is heated from a single, centralised heat source is becoming an increasingly attractive option due to the capital and running cost, efficiency and environmental benefits it can offer. Paraic Davis of Davis Associates mechanical and electrical engineers explains why district heating has become a viable and increasingly popular choice in Ireland.

Occupied Territory

John Hearne explains how truly low energy buildings can succeed or fail depending on how they engage with their occupants.
John Hearne explains how truly low energy buildings can succeed or fail depending on how they engage with their occupants.

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