Wexford passive house wins Isover energy efficiency award

Isover Ireland held their annual Energy Efficiency Awards in Dublin on Friday 1 March in Dublin. The awards recognise low energy renovation and new build projects in both the residential and commercial sectors. Isover award ceremonies are held in individual countries, with national winners going forward to Isover's European Energy Efficiency Awards. At the Dublin ceremony, Isover announced that the 2014 European awards will take place in Ireland.

LEED silver home graces Utah canyon

Located in Emigration Canyon above Salt Lake City, Utah, this contemporary family home of 232 square metres was built for a couple with young children, and was designed to maximise views of the canyon.

Socioeconomic factors hindering UK passive house growth, report claims

The passive house standard may be growing in popularity, but the UK could struggle to follow Germany’s lead and build large numbers of passive homes because of its different social, political and financial drivers and general attitudes, according to a report published by the NHBC Foundation.

What makes wood products so sustainable?

Truly efficient building design starts with sustainable materials, writes SmartPly's George Watson. Truly sustainable materials not only stand the test of time and make a positive contribution to the performance of buildings, he says, but have a low level of embodied energy and can be specified with confidence in their legal, sustainable and health and safety credentials.

Circulation & readership: our approach explained

Circulation and readership aren’t the same thing, though some people conflate them.

Circulation’s easy to measure – if you’re willing to subject your magazine to the scrutiny of independent auditing – but readership’s another matter. So let’s deal with circulation first.

Treehouses for grown-ups

Who wouldn't love a treehouse to escape to, whatever your age? Seen as a way to combine modern living with design that fits neatly in its landscape, architect-designed treehouses seem to be all the rage right now - whether as secluded escapes or permanent residences.

Why Construct Ireland is becoming Passive House Plus

We’ve just published the final issue of Construct Ireland. I say those words not with despondency but with excitement. Mercifully, we haven’t fallen victim to the decline of the construction industry, like so many other construction magazines. Nor are we suffering the fate anticipated for so many magazine titles, with collapses in sales, subscriptions and advertising revenue from print versions not being countered by sufficient income from websites or apps.

Meeting Part L compliance with solar electricity in apartments and large houses

Using solar thermal systems to meet the Part L renewable energy requirement in apartment blocks can be problematic. Long pipe runs in apartment blocks drastically reduce the efficiency and increase the cost of installation. Unoccupied dwellings have overheating problems, and the entire system requires regular maintenance. Photovoltaic systems suffer none of these disadvantages, and are simple and quick to install.

76% of new builds go passive or near passive

Over three out of four domestic new build enquiries to Construct Ireland are from people aiming for certified passive or near passive standards, the latest data from our reader enquiry service reveals.

The enquiry system connects readers looking to build or upgrade with the sustainable product and service providers who advertise in the latest issue of Construct Ireland.

Tiny homes: a documentary

Hey everyone, check out this trailer for Tiny, a documentary about "one man’s attempt to build a tiny house from scratch in the mountains of Colorado".  According to its website, the film is a "a meditation on the relationship of home to environment". It's set to be released later this summer. I blogged about the small house movement before here.


Central Bank pay double for Anglo site, green regenerative proposal shunned


The Central Bank's reported €8m bid for the site on which the defunct Anglo Irish Bank's ghost HQ sits may be double the market value, it has been claimed.

Architect Paschal Mahoney – who is heading up the innovative Trees on the Quays proposal to create a landmark vertical park from the iconic concrete shell for the Anglo HQ – had an independent valuation of the site done as part of a proposal to turn the defunct structure into a symbol and catalyst of Ireland's regeneration.

"I've heard from several sources that people have valued it and the price the Central Bank are offering may be about twice the actual value," Mahoney told Construct Ireland. "We've had it independently valued too. The price being offered is almost twice what the valuers have told us its worth. The taxpayer would be paying €8m for something we already own."

Are local authorities ignoring government BER advice?

Construct Ireland this week wrote to every local authority in the country to ask whether they follow Department of Environment advice to request building energy rating calculations at an early stage in the construction of every dwelling. The advice is designed to help ensure homes comply with Part L of the building regulations, which deal with energy efficiency.

Last year, the department told Construct Ireland that only eleven of the country's local authorities follow this "best practice", which was suggested in a circular letter sent out by department officials in 2009. The letter read:

"There is a possibility that some completed dwellings with be found by Building Control Officers (BCOs) to be non-compliant with Part L. This presents a practical difficulty in that remedial action may be difficult and expensive to achieve. In order to avoid such a situation, it is considered that best practice from an enforcement point of view would be for BCOs to ask for the Deap calculations at an early stage in the construction process. It will be readily apparent from the Deap calculations as to whether the design of the proposed building is fully compliant with Part L."