John Cradden

John is a freelance journalist and also currently contributes to a number of publications, including: Irish Independent, Sunday Times, Irish Times, Sunday Business Post, You and Your Money, Businessplus magazine and Technology Ireland magazine

18th century ruin becomes stylish low-energy home

Homeowners Anne and Patrick Jordan’s ambitious upgrade and extension project in County Kildare took the shell of an 18th century farmhouse and transformed it into an elegant family home with a striking-yet-sensitive modern extension — all while embracing a healthy and fabric-first approach to retrofit combined with clever heating system design that has brought them from a G to an A3 rating.

SuperHomes scheme: a blueprint for cost-effective deep retrofit?

For a while now, schemes that aim to encourage the mass uptake of home energy upgrades — essential for cutting carbon emissions from our building stock — have tended to fall into two camps: those that focus on shallow measures like cavity wall insulation and new boilers, and deep retrofit like the Passive House Institute’s Enerphit standard. A new Irish retrofit scheme aims to point the way forward by bridging the gap between these two extremes.

West Cork passive house raises design bar

The most celebrated architecture of the 20th century belongs firmly to the oil age, a heady mix of glass and steel and no need to have regard to comfort, given the availability of cheap fossil energy to fuel heating & cooling systems. But in the 21st century our buildings must adapt to and mitigate against climate change. That needn’t mean compromising on design, as one West Cork passive house shows 

North Dublin sheltered housing provides passive care

As people get older, their thermal energy need increases: elderly people tend to spend more time at home, and to feel the cold more. As one new sheltered housing scheme demonstrates, passive houses may be the answer. 

Simple-yet-stylish West Berkshire passive house that bore a business

This new timber frame home in the south of England met the passive house standard despite a less-than-optimum orientation, launched a brand new design-and-build venture between its architect and project manager, and embraced a subtle-yet-elegant design that maintains a simple passive house form while drawing inspiration from the local vernacular. 

How to stimulate deep retrofit

There was a time when governments thought that simply offering grants for cavity wall insulation and heating system upgrades would be enough to stimulate mass upgrade of our building stock. But ‘shallow’ measures such as these may not be sufficient to drastically cut carbon emissions and make a real difference to occupant comfort and health, and convincing homeowners to upgrade their homes to a much higher standard will require a clever mix of psychology and smart financing 

Cork bungalow upgrade phased over 12 years

It’s taken Mick Kiernan more than 10 years to upgrade his Cork bungalow, and it’s still not finished. But along the way he discovered the passive house standard and let its principles guide his way towards a warm, airtight and healthy home. 

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