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.

The slow, heavy gears of deep retrofit start to turn

At SEAI's 2018 deep retrofit conference, there are signs that action to overhaul Ireland's outdated, inefficient building stock is gradually moving forward 

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?

Why construction contracts must change in light of Grenfell

Design-and-build contracts have become increasingly common in construction, a trend that must be reversed in light of the Grenfell Tower fire if we are to deliver safe and high quality buildings, says quantity surveyor Michael McCarthy.

How to make Irish housing genuinely affordable...

The private speculative sector can’t build affordable housing, but there are other ways of achieving this, writes architect Mel Reynolds.

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.

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