As electricity supply from renewable sources continues to grow, and electricity grids gradually decarbonise as dirtier fossil fuels are phased out, heating homes with electrical technologies like heat pumps starts to make more sense. And in the mild, temperate climate of Britain and Ireland, air source heat pumps are particularly suitable — especially as new build standards of energy efficiency continue to tighten, meaning new homes need less and less energy to achieve comfortable indoor temperatures. But how do air source heat pumps work, what types are there, and how much do they cost to run? Our in-depth guide attempts to answer the key questions.
Architect Tom Duffy has long had an interest in green design, and working on a self-build project for himself and his wife he was able to prove a point: making a modest family home to the highest standards need not cost the earth.
Assessment of thermal bridges is the low hanging fruit lining the path to passive house and low-energy building, according to leading thermal modeller Andy Lundberg of Passivate, who says that taking the time to understand thermal bridging and to minimise and calculate it properly is essential to delivering cost optimal low energy buildings without an Achilles heel.
Rising from the shell of the stalled riverside headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank, Ireland’s financial regulator could be accused of insensitivity for choosing as its new home a site that became a toxic symbol of the banking crisis, but the building is not without virtue: it comfortably surpasses the proposed nearly zero energy building standard while achieving the onerous Breeam ‘Outstanding’ rating for sustainability.
Unclear definitions for nearly zero energy buildings are confusing the building industry and distracting from delivering better buildings, says architect and DIT lecturer Simon McGuinness.
The penny is starting to drop that profound energy saving efforts in buildings – right up to zero emissions levels – are both necessary and urgent if the UK is to honour its climate change targets. So what’s holding up meaningful action, asks Peter Rickaby?
Homeowner Brendan Murphy started self-building his Cork passive house way back in 2010, long before the standard was trendy, and even chose to completely forgo a water-based heating system. So what did he learn from the experience — and how has the house been performing since?
The extra cost of building to certified passive house levels – while also scoring an A1 BER – is as low as 0.1%, research at Ulster University has shown.
Specialist low energy building product manufacturers Quinn Building Products have been announced as the main sponsors of the World nZEB Forum, which combines pre-forum workshops on 15 November and a conference on 16 November.
Designed around an existing timber chalet, this striking contemporary house managed to go passive on a budget for one lucky family of six, all while inadvertently blitzing Ireland’s forthcoming nearly zero energy building standard.
This large family home in south Dublin proves that big homes don’t need to be cold and draughty, comfortably beating Ireland’s planned nearly zero energy building standard for 2021 — even though it was finished in 2015.
At a time when the industry’s under increasing pressure to deliver cost-effective, robust, low energy homes at breakneck speed, one new west Dublin project is leading the way – while picking off sustainability targets for fun.
In the fifth instalment of her column on designing and building a passive house for her family, Nessa Duggan talks about the importance of getting good advice — on everything from airtight sliding doors down to your choice of timber flooring.
In the second instalment of this column, architect and DIT lecturer Simon McGuinness outlines the key priorities for the industry to learn in order to deliver successful ultra low energy buildings in 2017 and beyond.
Despite having no construction experience, self-builder Eamonn Fleming decided he could build a new family home more cheaply — and with better attention to detail — if he did it himself. And even though he didn’t set out to build a passive house, he managed to meet the standard while doing almost all of the work in conjunction with his father, while exceeding the targets of Ireland’s nearly zero energy building definition.
At the time of going to press, the Department of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government was set to imminently launch a public consultation on a major revision to Part L of the building regulations for buildings other than dwellings.
The construction industry is unwittingly facing the prospect of immediate, dramatic changes to how buildings are designed and constructed to comply with imminent EU energy efficiency deadlines. In the first article in our new Dispatches section – where we’ll attempt to probe and investigate in detail the burning issues arising from Ireland’s transition to sustainable building – Passive House Plus investigates.
Words: Jeff Colley & Lenny Antonelli
This year’s NZEB Open Doors event takes place from 11-13 November across Ireland. The event sees dozens of cutting edge, low energy buildings open their doors for members of the public to visit and experience for themselves.
Thirty leading environmental and energy groups have written to the new secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy Greg Clark urging the government to maintain its commitment to crucial EU targets on energy post Brexit — including the demand that all new buildings be ‘nearly zero energy’ (NZEB) from 2021.
The Tory government's decision to scrap the proposed zero carbon standard for new dwellings might appear to be a kick in the teeth for green building — but could the move present an opportunity for a better standard to step in?