Renewable Energy

Static electricity

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The announcement in 2007 of the introduction of Smart electricity metering led to widespread hope that Ireland could set a global example by empowering consumers to cut electricity use and generate their own renewable electricity. John Hearne investigates current progress on the initiative, and discovers signs that Ireland’s approach to smart metering could represent a missed opportunity.

Heat of the Moment

Heating Technologies Explained
John Hearne spoke to a number of independent energy experts to develop an impartial view of the main sustainable heating options.

Critical mass

Critical Mass
Thermal mass can significantly influence a building’s space heating requirement – in some cases the effect is to increase it, and in others to reduce it. Leading energy consultant Ciaran King of Emerald Energy explains how this occurs, and by describing an assessment of the topic, provides some rules of thumb regarding when thermal mass may be beneficial, and when it may be detrimental.

Super powers

Super Powers
The development of sustainable building in Ireland has had to wait for the public to become concerned about energy supply, climate change, and the implications of living in draughty, damp buildings.  Much of the established low energy know-how emanates from countries where cold winters drove innovation. Drawing from 50 years of research and development between the Canadian government and housing industry, the Super E programme may be just what Ireland needs, as John Hearne discovered at a new development in Rosslare.

21st century fox

Detached home gets passive house makeover in Foxrock
Government incentives are crucial to sparking a massive energy upgrade of our housing stock, but practical examples are just as important. Keen to push his home's energy performance to the limits, one Dublin homeowner overhauled his entire building fabric and installed renewable heating systems and heat recovery ventilation. Lenny Antonelli visited the house.

New Power Generation

Richard Douthwaite explains how inadequate conventional energy generation is and reveals the potential that combined heat and power & energy service companies can offer.
Richard Douthwaite explains how inadequate conventional energy generation is and reveals the potential that combined heat and power & energy service companies can offer.

Running out of gas

Why Ireland is unprepared for the impact of gas peak
As we all know, Ireland is currently paying the price for the inability of its political and corporate leaders to take seriously the warning signs of an economy where property investment and borrowing generally got out of control. Looking at policy and commercial investment plans for energy supply and distribution, Richard Douthwaite asks, are the decision makers showing an alarmingly similar attitude to evident gas supply threats?

Bubble Rap

RICHARD DOUTHWAITE proposes measures including energy upgrade of the housing stock  which could help to avoid economic meltdown, and JAY STUART outlines some energy saving measures which could be rolled out.
RICHARD DOUTHWAITE proposes measures including energy upgrade of the housing stock  which could help to avoid economic meltdown, and JAY STUART outlines some energy saving measures which could be rolled out.

On the plus side

MULLINGAR ENERGY PLUS HOUSE TO GENERATE MORE ENERGY THAN IT CONSUMES
Nothing focuses the mind like a target. The growing impact of Building Energy Ratings (BER) is increasingly encouraging Irish people to aim for the highest energy rating they can. Patrick and Niamh Daly’s house in Mullingar takes this trend to the next level, using a myriad of sustainable green materials and technologies to become a net energy producer and go beyond the limit of the BER scale. John Hearne visited the nearly completed house to find out more.

How low can we go?

As our recognition of the problems of dwindling fossil fuel supplies and climate change grows, the need to reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions of our homes becomes increasingly apparent. Leading energy consultant Patrick Waterfield describes why and how we should switch to zero heating homes.
As our recognition of the problems of dwindling fossil fuel supplies and climate change grows, the need to reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions of our homes becomes increasingly apparent. Leading energy consultant Patrick Waterfield describes why and how we should switch to zero heating homes.