2014 UK Passivhaus Conference: in-depth report

The 2014 UK Passivhaus conference, held this year in Stevenage, was, like the previous such events, completely packed. Discussion centred around fine tuning of financing, delivery and performance — and on how to bring the wider construction sector on board the passive house agenda.

Next gen Irish designers & contractors to be steeped in passive house?

I believe the children are our future, as the stomach-churningly saccharine song line goes. If the emerging evidence from recent Irish 2nd level exam papers are anything to go by, the construction studies teachers share that sentiment, and are ensuring that the next generation of Irish designers and contractors will have a detailed understanding of how to design and construct passive houses.

Do Ireland’s energy efficiency regulations penalise energy efficiency?

What’s not to like about building regulations that demand 60% energy savings compared to boom time standards, and mandate the use of renewable energy? Glitches in the guidance documents, that’s what – glitches that unwittingly disincentivise energy efficiency best practice and risk causing building damage and compromising occupant health.

Ireland’s energy roadmap — have your say

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources launched the energy policy green paper for Ireland on May 12, marking the beginning of a ten-week public consultation on the future shape of Ireland’s energy policy.

Getting Passive House into the mainstream

Having spent a year and a half doing research into what houses we should be building in the 21st century, I have never ventured far from the Passive House standard. The reason for this is that it makes sense! That's not to say that I haven't come across criticism.

Climate change: adapt to reduce the risks

April 7 saw the opening of the five-day meeting in Germany, between government representatives and scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to finalise the third report in a four part series, assessing the options for mitigating climate change and the underlying technical, economic and institutional requirements. Last month saw the release of the second report from the IPCC, in Yokohama, Japan on 31 March.

Retrofit buildings instead of building pylons?

In the new issue of Passive House Plus, architect David Hughes argues that instead of investing tens of billions of euro upgrading its electricity infrastructure and building wind farms, Ireland should instead invest the money in the energy retrofit of its building stock.

Have energy ratings become an afterthought?

That’s the question I want to ask today. I’m talking mostly about the situation in Ireland, because it’s the one I’m more familiar with things over here — particularly with regards to building regulations. But the same might apply to the UK.

Will nearly zero energy buildings result in a thermal comfort deficit?

As the UK inches towards zero carbon and nearly zero energy building targets, the construction industry must pay increasing attention to the impacts of regulatory changes on design and construction, argues Passive House Academy founder Tomás O’Leary. But will homes designed using the UK’s national methodology come close to passive house levels of comfort? 

Looking back at this year's passive house days

The International Passive House Days, during which passive buildings around the world open their doors to the public, took place this year from November 8-10. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the event. 

 

Low energy homes in Canada's sub-arctic

In Yellowknife — the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories — January temperatures average -27C. So warm, low energy housing isn't just about cutting carbon, it's about staying alive.

Pushing the E-nvelope

This report on September's Frankfurt Motor Show, from airtightness expert Mark Shirley of 2eva.ie, looks at the latest technology in fuel efficient and electric vehicles, and draws parellels with low energy building

Will 200,000 homes pledge undermine Labour’s green claims?

Ed Miliband has said that the UK will build 200,000 homes per year if Labour gets into government, while promising to make the UK a “world-leading green economy." If such assertions are mutually exclusive, then they must be treated as hollow rhetoric, indistinguishable from David Cameron’s husky hugging stunt and unfulfilled pledge to lead the “greenest government ever.”