On the need for (moisture) balance

Dr Peter Rickaby writes on the varied and complex challenges of retrofitting older buildings.

A precursor to the passive house

In his latest column on the development of passive and solar buildings in the 20th century, Dr Marc O’Riain looks at what might be considered an early prototype in the development of passive houses: the 1974 Philips Experimental House.

Is affordable housing a policy blind spot?

Dublin City Council built just 45 social housing units in 2019. In his latest column, Mel Reynolds analyses the state’s surprising reluctance to build its own homes.

The condensation myth stars

Condensation within the structure of buildings is a lot more complex than condensation in a sweaty pub on a Friday night, writes building physics expert Toby Cambray.

Will we really build back better?

As governments rush to jump-start their economies, there is a danger that important lessons for how to retrofit homes will be lost in the rush to build. But there is a better way, writes Dr Peter Rickaby.

The world’s first ‘zero energy’ house

Returning to his regular series on the evolution of sustainable building during the 20th century, Dr Marc Ó Riain takes a look at the first serious attempt to build a house with net zero energy use.

The science of filters

How do ventilation filters work, and can they help to protect us against Covid-19? Toby Cambray weighs in on the physics of a subject that is more complex and interesting than you might expect.

Will we ever return to normal?

Covid-19 has inadvertently given us a glimpse of what sustainable living patterns might look like, and we must seize this opportunity for long-lasting positive change, says Dr Peter Rickaby.

We need better building performance metrics

The way we currently do post-occupancy evaluation of buildings is inadequate, says Professor Fionn Stevenson — we need new ways to measure the environmental impact of buildings, and how resilient they are to climate change.

Towards greener homes — the role of green finance

For anyone interested in climate action, the government’s commitment to halve Ireland’s emissions by 2030 and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 was one of the highlights of the year. But we won’t reach this objective focusing exclusively on energy efficiency — we must turn our attention to cutting embodied carbon too, and this wil be a major focus of the Irish Green Building Council's Better Homes conference next Friday, 27 November. 

Are we the virus?

Taking a temporary detour from his series of columns on the history of sustainable building and renewable energy, Dr Marc Ó Riain takes a look at Covid-19 from the perspective of Gaia theory, and at the relationship between collapsing ecosystems and the emergence of new infectious diseases.

Zero in - technical virtual tour of a net zero passive house "plus"

Architect Mel Reynolds's stunning new passive mews in South Dublin is featured in the new issue of Passive House Plus magazine. You can view a technically detailed virtual tour of the property below - including detailed descriptions and construction photos of the build. To view the case study in the digital version of the new issue click here (Irish edition) and here (UK edition).

Speculative effort - technical virtual tour of a developer-built Enerphit

An extraordinary A1 upgrade in Cork City  is Ireland's first developer-led Enerphit. The attention to detail taken in its construction is something to behold. See below for a detailed technical virtual tour, including tags showing sequences of construction shots that reveal what makes this building so special. To view the case study in our digital magazine click here (Irish edition) and here (UK edition.

Are lower land values the silver lining of the crisis?

While the Covid-19 crisis has undoubtedly caused a huge amount of human suffering and economic damage, it has brought some upsides too. Mel Reynolds speculates on how much land prices may fall, and what the positive and negative impacts may be.

Getting to net zero carbon

The UK government has committed to a legally binding target of being “net zero carbon” by 2050. Peter Rickaby ponders the steps needed to get there, and what the goal means for our homes, offices and other buildings.

Environmental activism - tracing the roots of today's climate activism

While the green wave visible at ballot boxes and street marches in 2019 reflects an apparent escalation in public consciousness on the need for urgent, decisive environmental action, the roots of today’s environmental consciousness stretch back over half a century, explains Dr Marc Ó Riain.

How humanity can save itself from itself

We are in the grip of a global emergency. The science is clear, and thousands of lives have already been lost. The public are demanding firm and bold leadership, but a laissez-faire attitude on the part of western governments has delayed and watered down our response, with calamitous consequences.

Culture shock & knowledge transfer

What are the consequences for the built environment, and the climate, of the lack of communication between research and industry, asks Dr Peter Rickaby – and what can be done about it?

The first oil crisis

In the latest instalment of his series on the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy in the 20th century, Dr Marc Ó Riain reports on the seismic impact caused by the 1973 oil crisis.

Marketplace + companies featured in this article

Precision Heating

Precision Heating is recognised as a leading supplier of heating and renewable energy products, to both residential and commercial customers throughout the whole of Ireland.

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