Design Approaches

A Breath of Fresh Air

O310-BreathOfFreshAirTITLE.jpg
Prestige commercial buildings can place a heavy toll on the environment, typically relying in Ireland on carbon intensive grid electricity to power air conditioning systems throughout the warmer parts of the year and inefficient electric lighting – often all year around. Completed in November 2004, software company SAP’s Galway offices offer a rare opportunity to find out how a natural ventilated and low energy lighting building is working in practice, as John Hearne reveals.

Force of Habit

Limerick convent keeps faith in green design
Two years ago Construct Ireland ran a case study on Mater Orchard, a Mercy Sisters convent building that successfully balanced cutting edge technologies with pragmatic green design. Such was the success of that building, its architects were commissioned by Mercy Sisters in Limerick to repeat the feat. John Hearne visited the freshly completed building to find out how they fared

All systems go

0406-All-Systems-Go-SMALL.jpg
Some buildings, by their nature, tend to have larger energy requirements. Occupied around the clock, with occupants who feel the cold, nursing homes are a case in point. John Hearne visited a north Dublin building where a range of different sustainable technologies operate in tandem to deliver the residents’ heating and hot water requirements

Southern comfort

Timber eco home fuses south facing with south Dublin
Sustainable building at its best is about much more than just energy and carbon emissions, and involves considering location, form, orientation and the use of healthy, environmentally friendly materials. Mike Haslam of trail-blazing ecological architects Solearth describes a family home which scores highly on every front

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.

Navan Credit Union

Architect Paul Leech explains why the new Navan Credit Union is arguably Ireland’s most innovative sustainable building to date, and outlines his hopes that the experience gained from this project can help the construction industry to realise sustainable building in Ireland.

Early Developer

0304-earlydevelopertitle.jpg
In September, Sustainable Energy Ireland launched a major energy efficient housing development in Tuam, Co Galway. Houses in the development are over 70% more energy efficient than houses built to standard Building Regulations requirements. Construct Ireland’s John Hearne describes.

Safe as Houses

0305-energyefficienthousepricestitle.jpg
Conventional wisdom dictates that higher construction costs — for instance to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions — would either squeeze developers’ profit margins or increase house prices. Tom Dunne, Head of DIT’s School of Real Estate and Construction Economics, reveals how misguided this view could be...

Born again bungalow

Born Again Bungalow
Few words in the vocabulary of Ireland’s built environment come with more baggage than ‘bungalow’. For many people, it embodies a total disregard for good architecture and the environment, in part due to its association with isolated one-off housing. John Hearne visited a house in Mayo that mixes considered design with a host of modern technologies to breathe new life into the form.

Mixing It Up

Designing out carbon made easy
As Building Regulations tighten on carbon emissions, energy reduction and mandatory renewable energy targets, the task for designers becomes harder and harder. Bobby Gilbert of Bobby Gilbert and Associates explains how a new design tool is making sustainable design easier.