Sleek and striking passive house graces eco village

The eco-village at Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary is no stranger to low energy buildings, and with this passive house, architect Paul McNally set out to prove that energy efficiency and good architecture go hand-in-hand.

International selection - issue 9

This issue’s selection features ultra low energy buildings from Mexico, Germany, New Zealand and Italy, and illustrates how widely the energy efficiency specification can vary in different climate zones.

Airtightness - the sleeping giant of energy efficiency

A building’s airtightness test result isn’t just an indicator of its energy efficiency – it’s an unambiguous indicator of build quality. With a little care in design and on site, airtightness targets that may seem impossibly tough are anything but, argues leading architect and certified passive house designer Simon McGuinness.

Passive retrofit emerges from ashes of 80s bungalow

If you’ve ever wanted to take a passive house for a road test, one holiday letting on the coast of west Cork may be too good an opportunity to turn down. The aptly named Sea Spray – an as yet uncertified Enerphit upgraded bungalow – is a bona fide triumph in the face of adversity.

Stunning Meath home defies passive house stereotypes

A simple building form, few junctions and minimal surface area are some of the cornerstones of passive house design — but as this spectacular certified passive house in Co Meath proves, rules are made to be broken.

Passive office cuts bills by £25k and absenteeism by 13 percent

Anyone who thinks the passive house standard isn’t relevant to non-domestic buildings is missing a trick. One certified passive office in Leicester reveals the significant benefits companies can yield in terms of saving energy, increasing productivity and improving the bottom line.

Mixed use London scheme delivers passive at scale

The latest in a string of passive house projects by social housing providers, Octavia’s Housing’s new mixed-use development at Sulgrave Gardens embraced fabric first design on an awkward London site to help protect occupants against rising fuel costs.

International selection - issue 7

This issue’s Eurocentric selection is drawn from the International Isover Energy Efficiency Awards, including a German renovation that generates an energy surplus, a Danish nature reserve, a Romanian Solar Decathlon entry and a Polish church.

The small passive house problem - a solution?

It’s sometimes said to be hard – perhaps too hard – to get a small house to meet the passive house standard. But a small house will have small heating bills, so why is it hard for a small house to be a passive house? Leading passive house consultants Alan Clarke and Nick Grant delve into the passive house software to find out what’s going on.

How to save social housing blocks

Britain and Ireland’s post-war social housing blocks are seen as ugly and uncomfortable, and suffer from high energy bills, damp and mould. But three ambitious renovation projects show the answer doesn’t always lie in demolition.

Deep retrofit brings Victorian home up to Enerphit

There was a time when insulating an historic property meant treading lightly on its building fabric. But today, guided by building physics, passive house designers continue to push the boundaries of retrofit by bringing old homes up to modern standards of super-insulation. This project is the third such deep retrofit to an historic London property by Green Tomato Energy.

London upgrade future proofs historic building

The general consensus is that it’s not appropriate to upgrade historic buildings to avant garde energy efficiency levels, creating a sense that conservation of the natural and built environments may be mutually exclusive concerns. Not so, argue Arboreal Architecture’s Harry Paticas and passive house engineer Alan Clarke in an updated version of a paper presented at the 2014 International Passive House Conference, about a highly experimental upgrade to a London townhouse that may point to a sustainable solution.

Ireland's 1st hemp-built passive house

For self-builder James Byrne, building to the passive house standard was just one element of an approach that aimed to drastically reduce the environmental impact of his house — built from a hemp and lime system, it also features solar collectors, rainwater harvesting and natural wastewater treatment.

Modern Galway home delivers ultra low energy bills

When work began on this low energy, super airtight project in Co Galway it faced a tight budget and a market for passive house products that had yet to mature. But in the end its owner Hugh Whiriskey emerged with a comfortable home with stunningly low annual heating and hot water costs of just over a euro per square meter.