Editor's letter: Issue 30

Our editor Jeff Colley's editor's letter from issue 30 received some particularly lovely praise, with architect Steve Mardall reaching out to say: "Was moved to write to commend you on your editor’s letter in this issue 30. You’ve perfectly captured the essence of the totality of where we are as a planet and a race. And captured well that subtle consensus of denial and ‘othering’ it, that is a compelling force to fall in line with if one is not to be labelled as a righteous crank. Your words articulate some of my own not formally articulated thoughts, and offer me clarity and impetus going forward." Meanwhile, AECB Carbon Lite Retrofit graduate Paul Forrester tweeted: "What a tremendously powerful piece of writing your editor’s letter is in issue 30 of @phplusmag. When I struggle to articulate all the thoughts, fears and conflicting ideas in my head, I might just show people that instead!" So here it is.

Marc O'Riain: The golden age of solar water heating

Renewable energy technologies are often regarded as new and innovative, but in some instances their roots predate the oil age and go back to the start of the industrial revolution. Dr Marc Ó’Riain finds important insights in past failures of early solar thermal systems.

Is procurement stifling natural building materials?

Is the very nature of the way that construction products are bought and sold limiting the wider proliferation of natural and sustainable materials?

Cuckoos & magpies: state house-buying hits record

Recent headlines suggest first time buyers are being pushed out of the housing market by ‘non-household’ buyers, so-called ‘cuckoo’ funds. Official figures suggest that private companies are not the only competition in the new homes market – there may be a ‘magpie’ out there also.

Ireland's climate action plan: just business as usual?

The government's new climate action plan does not show the level of committment needed to really reduce Ireland's carbon emissions, says Irish Green Building Council CEO Pat Barry. 

The Jodrell Bank grand challenge

During a speech last year Theresa May challenged the construction industry to halve the energy use of new buildings, and to halve the cost of retrofit. But we already know how to meet these challenges, writes Peter Rickaby, and much more difficult tasks lie ahead.

Double talk: a brief history of insulated glazing

In his latest column on the history of low energy building in the 20th century, Dr Marc Ó Riain charts the surprisingly fascinating history of double glazing.

Internet of Things dominates ISH 2019

Today is the last day of ISH, the bi-annual exhibition for the combined topic of water and energy, which is on at the exhibition grounds in Frankfurt. Titled as ISH, it is the world’s leading trade fair for a range of associated topics, materials and services.

Reaching for the first rung

Why is it so difficult to get on the property ladder now compared to 20 years ago? After all, interest rates are lower and house prices are still below where they were in 2007. Architect Mel Reynolds runs through the figures.

A housing boom without the houses?

There was much talk of jobless recovery as economies picked up after the last global recession. Mel Reynolds detects signs of an analogous proposition in the Irish property market: a housing boom that may be close to peaking without much in the way of housebuilding to report.

The utopian Usonian

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

Two houses for the price of one

Housing pundit and architect Mel Reynolds argues that local authority action could be the key to solving the housing crisis.

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.

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.