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.

Warm and healthy Devon flats that need no heating

This affordable housing scheme in Exeter not only embraces a suite of healthy and natural materials, but it has vindicated the local council’s embrace of the passive house standard, with many of the units requiring no additional heating whatsoever.

Ecological passive house built on tight budget

Despite some setbacks, this passive house in Roscommon managed to meet the passive house standard for fairly standard costs — all while emphasising natural materials like untreated timber, cellulose and sheep’s wool.

Artfully crafted Tyrone passive house

This new Dungannon home shuns conventional passive house design and embraces the late 19th century Arts and Crafts movement.

Passive research centre acts as living showcase for green tech

A new research centre in Northern Ireland could stake a claim as being one of the greenest buildings on these islands. Not only is it passive, it boasts a whole suite of ecological features, and aims to be at the cutting edge in the research and development of new sustainable and renewable technologies.

Will building boom see low energy failures?

Low energy building isn’t complicated, but it’s easy to get wrong. Since Irish house builders downed tools en masse when the last boom ended, energy efficiency standards for new homes have seen unprecedented rises of 40% in 2008 and 60% in 2011, shooting far ahead of the UK. But with signs of a new boom emerging, can the industry get to grips with this brave new world of insulation, airtightness and thermal bridging and deliver healthy low-energy homes — or are damp and mould set to become the norm in new build?

How to rescue a 1970s bungalow

A passive retrofit in Co Meath offers a template that could be applied across much of the Irish housing stock: a long, dark, 1970s bungalow was transformed into a bright modern home that’s now warm and comfortable.

Passive retrofit emerges from ashes of 80s bungalow

If you’ve ever wanted to take a passive house for a road test, one holiday letting on the coast of west Cork may be too good an opportunity to turn down. The aptly named Sea Spray – an as yet uncertified Enerphit upgraded bungalow – is a bona fide triumph in the face of adversity.

Stunning Meath home defies passive house stereotypes

A simple building form, few junctions and minimal surface area are some of the cornerstones of passive house design — but as this spectacular certified passive house in Co Meath proves, rules are made to be broken.

Traditional Irish cottage looks to the future

Despite its stop-start beginnings, this cottage in the west of Ireland delivers a traditional-but-stylish design with close-to-passive performance.

Modern Galway home delivers ultra low energy bills

When work began on this low energy, super airtight project in Co Galway it faced a tight budget and a market for passive house products that had yet to mature. But in the end its owner Hugh Whiriskey emerged with a comfortable home with stunningly low annual heating and hot water costs of just over a euro per square meter.

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