Sleek Tipperary home with promising monitoring result

Architect Donal Ryan’s new low energy home in Thurles, Co. Tipperary attempts to marry design and passive house principles, a fact that’s manifest in its minimally-glazed yet striking north-facing façade.

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.

Three year old passive house, Dunmore East, Co. Waterford

Featured in a case study in Passive House Plus not long after it was completed in 2015, quantity surveyor John Carney’s passive house on the windswept but sunny Waterford coast has now been occupied for almost three years.

The PH+ guide to insulating concrete formwork

As demand for super-insulated and airtight building structures grows, insulating concrete formwork (ICF) is rapidly gaining popularity as a method of construction. But what exactly is ICF, what are its key advantages, and why is it so well suited to passive house and low energy construction?

Future proof: designing buildings that withstand climate change

Over the past year cold snaps, heat waves and severe storms have all brought the reality of the climate crisis home to the UK and Ireland. But with the climate changing in fast and uncertain ways, how can we construct buildings that will remain resilient — and keep their occupants healthy and comfortable — long into the future?

Slope and glory

When architect Tony Godwin wandered into a seminar on the passive house standard at Ecobuild ten years ago, it was the start of a journey that would eventually see him design and build his own passive home on a sloping site — and learn some hard lessons along the way to achieving a comfortable, ultra-low energy family home with tiny energy bills.

All bales, no bills

In the classic story of the three little pigs, the big bad wolf may have blown down the first little piggy’s house of straw with consummate ease — but he wasn’t reckoning with this pioneering, energy bill-shredding Suffolk project, the UK’s first load-bearing straw bale passive house

South Dublin passive house rises out of the ordinary

This skilfully designed new passive house in Blackrock manages to be lightfilled and strikingly contemporary while taking its design inspiration from the very ordinary Dublin street on which it sits.

The Galway passive house inspired by a water tower

Generational differences in taste were successfully married by a concern for energy efficiency in this contemporary, award-winning passive house in An Spidéal, which comes within a whisker of the nZEB standard.

International: Issue 25

A selection of passive & eco builds from around the world, this issue features a boat designed according to passive house principles, with the artic climate in mind, and a contemporary passive house by Key Architects on Japan’s rural Shikoku Island.

Historic London house gets near passive transformation

The default answer when you want to do pretty much anything to a listed building is ‘no’. The default assumption if you want to achieve the Enerphit standard for retrofit is ‘tackle everything’. So how on earth do you retrofit a listed building to within a whisker of the Enerphit standard — with the blessing of the conservation officer?

Victorian stone building becomes Enerphit youth hostel

Old buildings are tricky to upgrade – especially if external insulation’s not allowed. Utilising a combination of cutting edge building physics and a carefully selected palette of insulation materials, one Victorian stone building has been upgraded to the Passive House Institute’s Enerphit standard, slashing heating demand by 90%

Granite-hewn Victorian home upgraded to PHI low energy standard

Built in 1850, this home in Dartmoor national park would have relied on local timber supplies for heating until the advent of widely-available central heating. One passive house-flavoured retrofit later, it’s back to its wood-burning roots – only this time with much less wood use, and much higher comfort.

Essex village becomes eco-pioneer with latest passive house scheme

Hastoe Housing, a trailblazer in the development of affordable passive housing, have completed their second scheme in the Essex village of Wimbish — 11 houses whose simple and traditional building methods and materials mask cutting-edge energy efficiency.

From derelict shop to tiny low energy home

In 2014, one couple decided to give up life in a van and convert an old newsagents in Shrewsbury into a very small low energy home, using the principles of the passive house standard as their guide. So how did it work out, and what is life really like in such a small home?

The PH+ guide to air source heat pumps

As electricity supply from renewable sources continues to grow, and electricity grids gradually decarbonise as dirtier fossil fuels are phased out, heating homes with electrical technologies like heat pumps starts to make more sense. And in the mild, temperate climate of Britain and Ireland, air source heat pumps are particularly suitable — especially as new build standards of energy efficiency continue to tighten, meaning new homes need less and less energy to achieve comfortable indoor temperatures. But how do air source heat pumps work, what types are there, and how much do they cost to run? Our in-depth guide attempts to answer the key questions.

Architect returns to roots with A1 rated 'house of the people'

Architect Tom Duffy has long had an interest in green design, and working on a self-build project for himself and his wife he was able to prove a point: making a modest family home to the highest standards need not cost the earth.

Thermal bridging: risk & opportunity

Assessment of thermal bridges is the low hanging fruit lining the path to passive house and low-energy building, according to leading thermal modeller Andy Lundberg of Passivate, who says that taking the time to understand thermal bridging and to minimise and calculate it properly is essential to delivering cost optimal low energy buildings without an Achilles heel.

Ireland's new central bank hits nZEB & BREEAM outstanding eco rating

Rising from the shell of the stalled riverside headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank, Ireland’s financial regulator could be accused of insensitivity for choosing as its new home a site that became a toxic symbol of the banking crisis, but the building is not without virtue: it comfortably surpasses the proposed nearly zero energy building standard while achieving the onerous Breeam ‘Outstanding’ rating for sustainability.

International: Issue 24

A selection of passive & eco builds from around the world, this issue features a rustic holiday home in New Zealand designed using the key principles of passive house design, and the 26-storey House at Cornell Tech, New York, now the tallest certified passive building in the world.

The dazzling Dalkey home with a hidden agenda

Even in the era of climate change, there still appears to be something of a split in the world of architects between those who prioritise sustainability, energy efficiency and occupant health, and those who put design and aesthetics first. So it’s refreshing to find that the designer of this contemporary Dublin home put so much attention on insulation, airtightness and indoor air quality — as well as good looks.

Fire compartmentation & timber framed party walls

In his latest column, architect and DIT lecturer Simon McGuinness says that careful planning and attention to detail is essential for timber frame party walls to properly prevent the spread of fire.

The housing crisis - what is to be done?

Almost a decade after the economic crash, every political party in Ireland now recognises the country is in the middle of a full-blown housing crisis. Similar problems exist in the UK market, but for different reasons. Now, if the political will to fix things has finally arrived, the question remains — what can actually be done about it?

Worcester school hall is UK's first 'multi-comfort' building

This unique sports and drama hall, inspired by the architecture of local buildings, was built to a new standard that aims to ensure buildings deliver all round health and comfort to their users.