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.

Cutting-edge technology on display at ISH 2017

ISH, the world’s biggest showcase for bathroom design, heating, air-conditioning and renewable energy technology, took place last week in Frankfurt. Leading energy consultant Mark Shirley of 2eva.ie went along to see what was on offer.

Who needs retrofit standards?

We all do, argues Dr Peter Rickaby, but the goal of mass retrofitting our energy inefficient building stock is hampered by the fact that when it comes to most retrofits, we simply don’t know what we’re trying to achieve.

Let’s move beyond the sustainable city oxymoron

A truly sustainable built environment hinges on a multiplicity of factors, not least including the context within which a building sits. Dr Peter Rickaby argues that a focus on cities may lead us in the wrong direction. 

Are social housing retrofit efforts failed by finance models?

Roughly 50,000 excess winter deaths occur annually between the UK and Ireland, with fuel poverty a primary cause. Yet although concerted social housing retrofit efforts could help tackle climate change while preventing thousands of senseless deaths of vulnerable people, flawed financial modelling is letting us down, argues Peter Rickaby.