Licence to skill

The ever-tightening ambitions to integrate sustainability throughout Ireland’s new and existing buildings won’t be realised unless we can find smart, flexible ways to upskill the industry. Lis O’Brien of Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) explains how Digital Academy for Sustainable Built Environment (DASBE) has it cracked.

Adaptation sensation stars

Sometimes a building comes along that asks challenging questions. Chris Croly, building services engineering director of BDP, describes one such example – a building designed to tackle the specific energy profile of offices, while trialling an innovative, dynamically controlled approach to adaptive comfort.

Safety net

At times the need to put roofs over the heads of vulnerable people and the need to tackle climate change and unsustainable resource use can seem in direct opposition. But one new Welsh scheme shows that doesn’t have to be the case.

Hollywood star on 50 years of eco activism

Actor Ed Begley Junior is one of America’s best-known and longest-standing environmental activists. Fresh from lighting up our screens in the final season of Better Call Saul, Begley spoke to Passive House Plus about the roots of his activism, and what drives him on in the face of such adversity.

Grist to the mill

The pioneering Cannock Mill development in Colchester is just the second cohousing project in the UK to achieve passive house certification, making it a leader not just in terms of its thermal performance, but in demonstrating the vital role shared living can play in both building vibrant communities, and in mitigating the climate crisis.

Learning curves

Since Erne Campus opened its doors in September, students of South West College in Enniskillen can now experience one of the world’s most environmentally advanced higher education buildings, and the largest building in the world so far certified to the passive house premium standard, in recognition of both its highly efficient building fabric and the large amount of solar energy it generates.

Measure everything

A new housing scheme designed by Coady Architects in Wicklow has achieved the highest green home certification – while suggesting that the convictions of one practice on a single project can help to transform the industry.

Cambridge choses passive house comfort for Kings’ College students

Most people think of cold, cramped and poor-quality buildings when they think of student accommodation, but two new passive house residences at King’s College, Cambridge are rewriting the rulebook, with their focus on occupant comfort, architectural quality, and an enlightened, long-term view of construction costs.

Seeing the wood for the trees - Placing ecology at the heart of construction

In recent years, as energy efficiency targets for new buildings have tightened, attention has turned to cutting the embodied carbon of buildings by switching from materials like concrete and steel to lower carbon alternatives like timber. But if we are serious about solving the ecological emergency as well as stabilising the climate, we must look even further than embodied carbon, and think more deeply about the core values we apply to materials and buildings, and the manner in which we use them.

By Lenny Antonelli & AECB CEO Andy Simmonds

Up with the lark

Lark Rise is an elegant new passive house in rural Buckinghamshire designed by bere:architects, but it is more than ‘just’ a passive house. Because it produces and stores so much of its own energy through on-site solar power, it is a certified passive house ‘plus’, and in this article, its architect Justin Bere explains how dwellings like this can play a key role in decarbonising our economies and societies in the coming decades.

Inside the UK’s largest passive school

With a decade of experience designing primary schools to the passive house standard under their belt, Architype have now designed the UK’s first passive secondary school — and all of the evidence suggests there is no better way to ensure a healthy, comfortable environment that is supremely conducive to learning.

Sea change — luxury passive scheme on the Devon coast

Built mostly with clay blocks and sited above the sandy shores of Seaton, on the Devon coast, this new development of eight high-end apartments not only meets the passive house ‘plus’ standard — meaning it pairs the requisite ultra-low energy fabric with a substantial amount of renewable energy generation — but it also boasts serious attention to the use of ecological and healthy material.

Pilot light - Pioneering Donegal deep retrofit a roaring success

A rundown 1970s scheme of one-bedroom, single storey social housing units in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, has been transformed into a pioneering development of cosy, A-rated, NZEB-busting homes. The pioneering project – the first completed under Ireland’s deep retrofit pilot scheme – also breathed new life into an unloved green area and is expected to help fuel a regeneration project in the town.

Doctor's orders - The complex relationship between energy retrofits and human health

There is no shortage of anecdotal evidence that home energy retrofits, done well, can improve the health of those who receive them — and equally there are horror stories about shoddy upgrades causing damp, mould and illness. But what does the evidence say about how energy upgrades effect occupant health, and what lessons can be learned for the future of how we renovate our homes? Kate de Selincourt reports.

Developing story - Life inside Ireland's largest low energy housing scheme

Over the last decade, Cosgrave Developments have set about building a new neighbourhood near the south Dublin seaside town of Dún Laoghaire. Honey Park and Cualanor are two adjacent schemes comprising nearly 2,000 low energy homes, one of which houses this magazine’s editor, who has found a scheme with green credentials that go far beyond a good energy rating.

Tanzanian children's eco village aims to inspire low carbon example

In 2016, three British sustainable building experts were asked to design a new school, housing and other facilities for an eco village in Tanzania that caters to the country’s orphans. They aimed to take the principles of passive house design and apply them in a low-cost, lowtech manner to demonstrate that sustainable, comfortable and affordable buildings could be accessible to the people of rural Tanzania.

This is the story of the project so far.

Social skills - The A1 rapid build council homes that are sustainability all-rounders

In the midst of a national housing crisis, this new development in Dún Laoghaire sets a hopeful and inspiring example: high quality, high density, rapid build social housing that needs almost no energy to heat and is within walking distance of shops, services and the seafront. No wonder it was one of the first projects to be certified to a rigorous new sustainability standard.

Passive sheltered scheme 500 years in the making

Taking its cues from the original historic almshouse on site, St John’s Lichfield chose to build their new sheltered housing development for older persons to the passive house standard as part of high-quality design that emphasised community, calm and comfort.

Tipperary Energy Agency at 20

One of Ireland’s pioneering and most consequential green organisations, Tipperary Energy Agency, turned 20 at the end of February, evolving from one man buried in sawdust to a 24 strong team whose efforts are influencing national policy and earning European plaudits. But why has the agency endured and grown, and what lessons can be learned to help others play their part in delivering the transition we so urgently need to low energy buildings and clean energy generation? Two of the central figures in the agency’s development spill the beans, along with some of the many partners the agency has worked with over the years.

The Curly House, West Sussex

Built on a particularly exposed site near Chichester where winter temperatures plummet all too frequently – down as low as minus sixteen – the award-winning Curly House had to overcome several challenges.