Sustainable Building Technology

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.

Alive and well

Alive-And-Well
Designing sustainable buildings doesn’t always mean hi-tech solutions. From green roofs to living walls to constructed wetlands, sometimes it’s just a matter of embracing natural solutions. Lenny Antonelli investigates the emerging technologies and designs that use nature to improve the performance of buildings.

Walking on water

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Designing a low-energy public building with passive ventilation and lighting in mind is one thing – making it fit seamlessly into a rural wetland environment is quite another. Lenny Antonelli visited the award-winning Ballybay Wetlands Centre in County Monaghan - a closed-panel timber frame structure designed to sit softly on the surrounding landscape.

Green giant

Bank of America Tower, to be located at One Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan is a US$1 billion project that has been designed to be one of the most highly efficient and ecologically friendly tall buildings in the world. The building, currently under construction, is expected to be complete in 2008.

Jason Walsh got in touch with Cook + Fox Architects in New York, designers of the Bank of America Tower to see how the practice plans to square the circle of designing an environmentally sound high-rise building.

Renewed efforts

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In the future, the high cost and scarcity of fossil energy may force a shift towards retaining and modernising old buildings, thereby avoiding the use of huge amounts of energy to manufacture building materials. John Hearne visited the Belvedere Orphanage, a group of 19th century dwellings whose low energy refurbishment may offer a template for development in the future, by using wood pellet district heating and a host of energy saving measures whilst nonetheless paying great attention to preserving the buildings’ heritage value.

Environmental Authority

Clare County Council show the way with new sustainable offices
As long term readers of Construct Ireland will recall, the mainstreaming in recent years of sustainable design and construction has been exemplified in many innovative local authority offices. John Hearne visited Aras Contae an Chláir, and discovered a building which attempts to holistically minimise environmental impact, with attention paid to more than just energy performance and carbon emissions.

Move on up

Low energy upgrade options in two Dublin homes
High energy prices and growing public eco awareness is leading to a situation where people are giving existing homes energy upgrades on an unprecedented scale. Two recently renovated houses in Dublin are at the extremes of how even the most difficult existing dwellings can be made greener, as Jason Walsh reveals.

Into the limelight

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Hugh Dorrian, member of the Main Committee of the recently launched Building Limes Forum Ireland reveals lime is regaining ground as a key material not only in conservation projects, but in new build.

A place in the sun

Swords housing project with solar heat recovery system & timber frame
The mainstreaming of sustainable building technologies is manifesting itself in a growing number of developers seeking to find the greener option. Jason Walsh describes a recent project where airtight timber frame construction meets high-tech solar thermal in a North Dublin House of Tomorrow funded scheme which is delivering low carbon results

DEAP impact

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At the start of July a key event in the Irish construction industry passed almost entirely unnoticed, with the requirement that the brand new Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure (DEAP) calculation software be used for all planning applications for new homes with immediate effect. The new tool will be used to calculate Building Energy Ratings (BER) under the requirements of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). Patrick Daly, lecturer in Environmental Design in the School of Architecture at DIT Bolton St. reveals his view on DEAP and its impact on the industry.

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