How to prevent condensation & mould

In this first instalment of his brand new ‘Help Desk’ feature, architect and passive house designer Simon McGuinness of Dublin Institute of Technology invites questions on all aspects of passive house, retrofit and low energy building.

SuperHomes scheme: a blueprint for cost-effective deep retrofit?

For a while now, schemes that aim to encourage the mass uptake of home energy upgrades — essential for cutting carbon emissions from our building stock — have tended to fall into two camps: those that focus on shallow measures like cavity wall insulation and new boilers, and deep retrofit like the Passive House Institute’s Enerphit standard. A new Irish retrofit scheme aims to point the way forward by bridging the gap between these two extremes.

Solihull upgrade trials revolutionary retrofit approach

An exciting and innovative new deep retrofit project in Solihull has drastically cut the energy consumption of a small block of flats by smoothly and efficiently wrapping the entire structure in both insulation and ventilation ducting, delivering huge energy savings and minimal disturbance to the residents.

Deep retrofit transforms big, complex South Dublin home

At first glance, this sprawling house in Blackrock would appear to be a nightmare candidate for a deep energy upgrade — large and sprawling, and with a mix of structures built at different times and with different materials. But guided by the passive house standard, the team behind it managed to turn a G-rated energy guzzler into a healthy and very-low energy family home – complete with an A rating.

UK's largest passive building opens to 2,400 students and staff

Completed early this year, the new Centre for Medicine at the University of Leicester is by far the largest single building in the UK to meet the passive house standard — and not surprisingly, its design and construction posed tough new challenges for how to meet the rigorous low energy standard on such a large, complicated building.

Ground-breaking housing scheme captures one developer’s journey to passive

The just-finished second phase of Durkan Residential’s ambitious Silken Park scheme in south-west Dublin bridges the gap between two extremes: while phase one was built to the 2002 building regulations, phase three — which will break ground next year — will comprise 59 passive certified units.

BREEAM excellent building marries sustainability with world-class design

Although Ireland’s energy efficiency requirements for non-residential buildings fall far short of EU requirements, occasionally a progressive client will take matters into their own hands and push the envelope of sustainable design, such as Gas Networks Ireland’s award-winning Finglas offices.

Zero Hour: Industry out of time on profound imminent NZEB changes

The construction industry is unwittingly facing the prospect of immediate, dramatic changes to how buildings are designed and constructed to comply with imminent EU energy efficiency deadlines. In the first article in our new Dispatches section – where we’ll attempt to probe and investigate in detail the burning issues arising from Ireland’s transition to sustainable building – Passive House Plus investigates.

Words: Jeff Colley & Lenny Antonelli

International selection - issue 17

This issue’s round up of the best passive house buildings from around the world features a striking timber frame home in Oregon, a public library in the north of Spain, and a tennis academy in Sweden. 

West Cork passive house raises design bar

The most celebrated architecture of the 20th century belongs firmly to the oil age, a heady mix of glass and steel and no need to have regard to comfort, given the availability of cheap fossil energy to fuel heating & cooling systems. But in the 21st century our buildings must adapt to and mitigate against climate change. That needn’t mean compromising on design, as one West Cork passive house shows 

Stylish low energy house squeezed into South Dublin garden

Built in the back garden of two architects, this simple-but-elegant brick house in Blackrock faced the twin challenges of an extremely tight site and less-than-ideal orientation, but with rigorous attention to detail it came close to passive house levels - while delivering impressively low actual heating costs. 

Chiswick Eco Lodge stitches into historic London street

For this exciting new dwelling in west London, architect Richard Dudzicki faced the challenge of designing a contemporary light-filled home while not offending the sensibilities of its Edwardian surroundings. He also had to meet the passive house standard, too. 

Welsh school fuses passive & eco material innovation

This new award-winning two-building extension to a primary school in the south of Wales delivers healthy, ultra low energy school buildings – one of which is passive house certified – while pushing the boundaries of timber engineering. 

How Brussels went passive

Ten years ago Brussels had some of the most energy inefficient building stock in Europe — now it boasts a groundbreaking policy that means all new buildings in the region must be passive. How did the city do it? 

Why Dublin City’s passive house policy must be retained

The attempts to derail Dublin City Council’s proposed ‘passive house or equivalent’ planning requirement are bad news in the increasingly difficult fight to mitigate against and adapt to climate change – they risk being complicit in new buildings in the city breaching European law. 

Our passive journey #2

In her second column documenting her family’s self-build passive house project, Nessa Duggan details the process of choosing a build system and finding an architect.

North Dublin sheltered housing provides passive care

As people get older, their thermal energy need increases: elderly people tend to spend more time at home, and to feel the cold more. As one new sheltered housing scheme demonstrates, passive houses may be the answer.