The utopian Usonian

Dr Marc Ó Riain looks at the influence of 20th century architectural giant Frank Lloyd Wright on low energy building design.

Filling the retrofit policy void

The imperative to engage in evidence-based deep retrofit grows by the day. With the UK government dragging its heels, Peter Rickaby finds signs of hope in local initiatives, and in burgeoning Irish efforts.

The House of Tomorrow, 1933

In his third column on visionary eco-buildings of the 20th century, Dr Marc Ó Riain looks at the pioneering passive solar designs of Fred Keck.

Breaking the mould in Thamesmead

The net effect of poor insulation levels, underheating and under-ventilation in buildings poses a major public health threat. Peter Rickaby describes one pioneering London project that’s taking a practical, methodical – and scalable – approach to solving the problem.

Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink

Inertia with state-owned land is exacerbating Ireland’s housing crisis, argues housing commentator and architect Mel Reynolds, in spite of the state possessing enough zoned land to make a major dent in solving the problem.

The prebiotic passive house

As understanding grows of the importance to human health of good bacteria in our environment, and new hospitals in the US start to undergo ‘prebiotic’ treatment, Dr Peter Rickaby asks how long it will be before microbiology becomes a core part of building design.

1948: The Dover Sun House

In his second column on visionary eco-buildings of the 20th century, Dr Marc Ó Riain looks at the Dover Sun House, which used a pioneering salt solution to capture and store solar energy

Is building life cycle assessment about to become easy?

Establishing a building’s overall sustainability ultimately means quantifying the impacts of the materials used to construct it. Up till now, that’s been a laborious, time-consuming process. That might be about to change, explains Irish Green Building Council CEO Pat Barry.

Why housing isn't viable

It is simply not possible for developers to build housing in cities like Dublin and sell it for a reasonable price without making a loss, writes architect Mel Reynolds — instead, we need meaningful affordable housing schemes.

A brave new world: Oil and architecture

Innovations in low energy building were spurred in the 20th century by oil crises, but the political impetus for meaningful change receded once the crises ended, explains Dr Marc Ó Riain, bringing an attendant failure to set meaningful building regulations.

Policy for zero, or zero policy?

The penny is starting to drop that profound energy saving efforts in buildings – right up to zero emissions levels – are both necessary and urgent if the UK is to honour its climate change targets. So what’s holding up meaningful action, asks Peter Rickaby?

What is the AECB Silver Standard?

In the current policy vacuum, many questions have been raised about the future of sustainable construction. Despite this uncertainty, there is a steady growth of interest in the AECB Silver Standard, writes architect Mark Siddall.