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

Our passive journey #3: Designing our family’s passive house

In the third instalment of Nessa Duggan’s column on designing and building a passive house for her young family, she describes the process of designing a house to suit the family’s lifestyle.

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. 

1950s Cork City house reborn as healthy low-energy home

The deep retrofit of this two-storey 1950s house in Cork City transformed a draughty, poorly-insulated dwelling into a comfortable, low-energy home for one family – coming close to the Enerphit standard in the process. 

Sensitive passive retrofit transforms Victorian North London home

Upgrading a historic home to the passive house standard typically means leaving the façade untouched to preserve the building’s historic appearance, but the team behind this fully passive retrofit in Kensal Green took a totally different approach. 

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. 

One family's passive journey

One young Irish family has taken the decision to build their new home in Co Louth to the passive house standard. In the first of a series of columns, Nessa Duggan explains the thinking behind the decision to go passive. 

Fermanagh schoolhouse reborn as passive family home

The abandoned husk of a 1960s school building sounds a very long way from a comfortable, ultra low energy family home. Thanks to a remarkable upgrade effort – influenced by reading Passive House Plus – one Fermanagh family are reaping the rewards of one such transformation. 

Hastoe Scheme adds to passive affordable housing trend

With a number of trailblazing housing associations and councils building social and affordable housing schemes repeatedly to passive standards, the notion that the world’s leading low energy building standard is the preserve of the well-off doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, as Hastoe’s latest Essex passive house scheme demonstrates. 

Simple-yet-stylish West Berkshire passive house that bore a business

This new timber frame home in the south of England met the passive house standard despite a less-than-optimum orientation, launched a brand new design-and-build venture between its architect and project manager, and embraced a subtle-yet-elegant design that maintains a simple passive house form while drawing inspiration from the local vernacular.