Our abundance of holiday homes and other vacant dwellings could be used to house Ukrainian refugees, writes Mel Reynolds.
Under its new housing plan, the government wants the state to acquire more land for housebuilding. But why has it failed to use the vast land banks it already owns? Mel Reynolds runs the rule over the figures.
The Department of Housing has come under criticism for draft guidelines which would prevent local authorities from setting sustainable building targets for buildings as a planning condition, with the passive house standard and low carbon cement directly referenced.
Early in October, Norwich City Council’s Goldsmith Street development become both the first passive house and the first social housing project to win the Stirling Prize, British architecture’s most coveted award, with the judges calling it “high-quality architecture in its purest, most environmentally and socially conscious form”. Leading building energy expert Dr Peter Rickaby visited the scheme for Passive House Plus to see this ground-breaking project for himself.
The outgoing Fine Gael government devised an off balance sheet scheme to deliver social housing, but will it deliver value for money? Mel Reynolds crunches the numbers and finds the scheme may almost double the cost compared to a direct build – with no asset left once the lease ends.
The first phase of the hugely ambitious Agar Grove redevelopment in Camden was finished in April 2018. Not only is it the largest passive house scheme in the UK to date, it also aims to be a model for sustainable urban regeneration and for creating liveable spaces at the heart of our cities.
The redevelopment of O’Devaney Gardens in Dublin City has grabbed headlines. Commentary has focused on the low levels of social housing proposed, high prices for private homes, and developer profit. But what is the cost to the state, asks Mel Reynolds, and is this sustainable?
Significantly more new homes (16.5%) were built in Ireland in the first eight months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018 – with double digit declines in Dublin cancelled out by strong growth in the rest of the country, new analysis by Passive House Plus indicates.
Mark Twain popularised the saying “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics”. Mel Reynolds explains why Department of Housing statistics on HAP may be grossly inflating the state’s impact on tackling the housing crisis.
In the midst of a national housing crisis, this new development in Dún Laoghaire sets a hopeful and inspiring example: high quality, high density, rapid build social housing that needs almost no energy to heat and is within walking distance of shops, services and the seafront. No wonder it was one of the first projects to be certified to a rigorous new sustainability standard.
Work is progressing on a house designed by Passive House Plus columnist Mel Reynolds that is expected to be certified to the passive house ‘plus’ standard, and which was financed by Property Bridges, Ireland’s first peer-to-peer lender for development finance.
The pressure to build large volumes of additional housing in response to the housing crisis is driven by false logic and risks undermining both the quality of new homes and UK carbon targets, according to Richard Tibenham, lecturer in building physics at the University of Lincoln and director of Greenlite Energy Assessors.
Recent headlines suggest first time buyers are being pushed out of the housing market by ‘non-household’ buyers, so-called ‘cuckoo’ funds. Official figures suggest that private companies are not the only competition in the new homes market – there may be a ‘magpie’ out there also.
An award-winning social housing development in South Dublin points to a sustainable way out of Ireland’s housing crisis.
Why is it so difficult to get on the property ladder now compared to 20 years ago? After all, interest rates are lower and house prices are still below where they were in 2007. Architect Mel Reynolds runs through the figures.
There was much talk of jobless recovery as economies picked up after the last global recession. Mel Reynolds detects signs of an analogous proposition in the Irish property market: a housing boom that may be close to peaking without much in the way of housebuilding to report.
Property Bridges, a new “peer to peer” property investment company that aims to connect small-scale investors and local developers, has announced the launch of its first investment opportunity — a passive house project in Dublin.
A £2m passive house residential scheme has now been handed over to residents in Shropshire. The mix of one, two and three-bedroom homes in Callaughtons Ash, Much Wenlock, comprises ten homes for social rental and two in shared ownership.
Housing pundit and architect Mel Reynolds argues that local authority action could be the key to solving the housing crisis.
Even the most cursory examination of the figures shows how little housing the state is building, writes architect Mel Reynolds.
Inertia with state-owned land is exacerbating Ireland’s housing crisis, argues housing commentator and architect Mel Reynolds, in spite of the state possessing enough zoned land to make a major dent in solving the problem.
Almost a decade after the economic crash, every political party in Ireland now recognises the country is in the middle of a full-blown housing crisis. Similar problems exist in the UK market, but for different reasons. Now, if the political will to fix things has finally arrived, the question remains — what can actually be done about it?
Simultaneously tackling fuel poverty and climate change requires drastic action on deep retrofitting the existing housing stock – and fast. Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s deep retrofit and renovation of Rochestown House may be Ireland’s most significant retrofit to date – a fact reflected in the project picking up the sustainability award at the 2017 Irish Architecture Awards.
It is simply not possible for developers to build housing in cities like Dublin and sell it for a reasonable price without making a loss, writes architect Mel Reynolds — instead, we need meaningful affordable housing schemes.
A new development of passive housing on the outskirts of Norwich shows how to combine energy efficiency, ecology and affordability on one exemplary site — and why the city continues to be an unlikely leader in pushing passive house construction in the UK.
The first social housing scheme of any kind to top Ireland’s BER scale, this project is a timely reminder that in the midst of a national housing emergency, it is possible to tackle climate change and blitz the forthcoming nearly zero energy building targets, while housing the most vulnerable in society in healthy, fuel poverty-proof homes predicted to incur zero heating cost.