The deepest greenest retrofit ever?

With obsessive attention to preserving and restoring the original fabric of these two Victorian townhouses, and a commitment to shunning petrochemicals and using only natural materials, could this be the most wildly ambitious and sustainable passive retrofit ever undertaken in the UK?

Holy Trinity

Situated in a stunning location in the west of Ireland, between Galway Bay and the limestone hills of the Burren, this project provided a complex challenge in three parts: deep retrofit an old cottage into a yoga studio, reinvigorate its original extension, and build a new barrel-roofed passive-grade extension — then make it all work together as one unified home and workspace.

Good Mews story in Dún Laoghaire

An award-winning social housing development in South Dublin points to a sustainable way out of Ireland’s housing crisis.

Deep green passive house defies all weather

With Old Holloway Cottage, located in rural Herefordshire, architect Juraj Mikurcik and his wife Joyce have lovingly crafted a beautiful-yet-simple passive home that is constructed from timber, insulated with straw, and finished with a palette of natural, durable materials — and all for a surprisingly small budget.

Passive Wexford bungalow with a hint of the exotic

Appearances can be deceptive, and with his second A1-rated passive house in County Wexford, architect Zeno Winkens has designed a fairly traditional Irish home that also manages to include some unique design touches.

The PH+ guide to airtightness

Once poorly understood by the mainstream building industry, airtightness is now increasingly seen as one of the most crucial objectives on any building project. Not only is it vital for energy efficiency, it’s also key for thermal comfort and for protecting a building’s structure from dampness and mould. In this comprehensive guide to airtightness, we look at why it’s so important, how exactly it’s measured, and most importantly, how to achieve it on site.

Wood works - Sleek but large Herts passive house goes heavy on timber

The Deerings, a large new certified passive house in the Hertfordshire village of Harpenden, is the stunning result of meticulous attention to design, energy efficiency and ecological materials by its architects, builders and a homeowner so taken by the experience that it led to an investment in an innovative passive house start-up.

Running AMOC

How the potential shutdown of ocean currents, fuelled by melting ice caps, could dramatically change our climate.

Elegant Mayo ‘longhouse’ gets A1 rating

The home of a local passive house builder, this super low energy home in County Mayo is inspired by traditional building forms in the west of Ireland — and it blitzed Ireland’s nearly zero energy building standard a whole five years before it was set to become mandatory.

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.

The UK's first green oak passive house

Choosing newly-harvested green oak — which shrinks and moves as it dries — for the millimetre-precise demands of passive house construction was a bold move by Phil Garnett and his wife Yvonne, but one that ultimately gave them one of the most unique and ground-breaking passive homes in the UK.

Armagh passive house hides in plain sight

A new family home in County Armagh blends together a traditional, clustered farmhouse style and a modern aesthetic so seamlessly, you would never even guess it’s a certified passive house.

Home farm

While a tight budget meant some of the more ambitious eco features planned for this simple and graceful new farmhouse had to be dropped, it still manages to meet Ireland’s standard for nearly zero energy buildings (nZEBs) thanks to a combination of superb detailing and fabric-first design.

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.

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.