John Hearne

John Hearne

Freelance journalist John Hearne has contributed a diverse range of news and feature material to a range of Irish newspapers and magazines. Currently, he is a regular contributor to The Irish Examiner and The Irish Independent, where he writes on tourism, consumer affairs, business and careers.

A green builder's dream green home

This is what you get when one of Ireland’s most experienced low energy builders creates a home for his own family, with help from one of the country’s foremost ecological architects — a modern and elegant passive house that pays detailed attention to sustainability at every turn.

Out of control? Are building control systems properly equipped to deliver safe, healthy and well-constructed buildings?

After a litany of dangerous and high profile building failures in Ireland, many in the country’s building industry looked longingly across the Irish Sea and held up the UK as an example of how to do building control properly. But following a series of embarrassing defects with UK construction projects, it’s clear the British system is far from perfect. So is either of these building control systems properly equipped to deliver safe, healthy and well-constructed buildings?

A2 rated Rathgar scheme goes high end but low energy

Achieving building regulations compliance and a good energy rating is one thing. Delivering a genuinely low energy building is quite another. A new scheme by one of Ireland’s most decorated developers may help show the market a way forward.

DIY Cork builder hits passive & NZEB with first self-build

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.

New build homes face emerging ventilation crisis

Despite increasing standards of insulation and airtightness, housing developers face few requirements to provide better ventilation and indoor air quality for new home buyers — beyond knocking extra holes in walls. But as reports of condensation and mould affecting new housing developments continue to surface in both the UK and Ireland, and research indicates many new homes may have poor indoor air quality, are developers finally waking up to the need for properly engineered ventilation systems?

Deep retrofit transforms big, complex South Dublin home

At first glance, this sprawling house in Blackrock would appear to be a nightmare candidate for a deep energy upgrade — large and sprawling, and with a mix of structures built at different times and with different materials. But guided by the passive house standard, the team behind it managed to turn a G-rated energy guzzler into a healthy and very-low energy family home – complete with an A rating.

Ground-breaking housing scheme captures one developer’s journey to passive

The just-finished second phase of Durkan Residential’s ambitious Silken Park scheme in south-west Dublin bridges the gap between two extremes: while phase one was built to the 2002 building regulations, phase three — which will break ground next year — will comprise 59 passive certified units.

Stylish low energy house squeezed into South Dublin garden

Built in the back garden of two architects, this simple-but-elegant brick house in Blackrock faced the twin challenges of an extremely tight site and less-than-ideal orientation, but with rigorous attention to detail it came close to passive house levels - while delivering impressively low actual heating costs. 

Wicklow step-by-step retrofit reveals new way to go passive

This pioneering deep energy upgrade of a 1960s home in Wicklow will take place in phases over at least five years, with the aim of making it more affordable to go passive by renovating on a step-by-step basis. 

Fermanagh schoolhouse reborn as passive family home

The abandoned husk of a 1960s school building sounds a very long way from a comfortable, ultra low energy family home. Thanks to a remarkable upgrade effort – influenced by reading Passive House Plus – one Fermanagh family are reaping the rewards of one such transformation. 

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