Housing minister addresses first nZEBRA conference
The inaugural nZEBRA conference was held in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford on 2 March, and aimed to draw attention among policy makers, building designers and construction professionals to the rapidly approaching introduction of nearly zero energy building (nZEB) standards in Ireland.
This article was originally published in issue 20 of Passive House Plus magazine. Want immediate access to all back issues and exclusive extra content? Click here to subscribe for as little as €10, or click here to receive the next issue free of charge
The conference was organised by nZEBRA, a recently established consulting and education firm specialising in nZEBs and servicing the Irish, UK and US markets, spearheaded by Passive House Academy founders Tomás O’Leary and Art McCormack, along with thermal bridging expert Andy Lundberg of Passivate. The conference included presentations on nZEB policy, case studies, costings, performance monitoring and real-life experiences of nZEB dwellers.
The EU’s recast energy performance of buildings directive requires that all new public buildings completed after the end of 2018 be nZEB-compliant, while the rule will apply to all new buildings completed after the end of 2020. Member states are entitled, within limits, to come up with their own definition of nZEB.
Speaking at the conference, Minister Coveney said that the “benefits associated with nearly zero energy homes such as improved levels of comfort, drier less damp indoor air quality and reduced energy and heating bills have a very positive effect on health and wellbeing of our citizens.”
He spoke about the housing crisis, and said that “while it is important we deliver housing in a short timeframe it is equally important that we deliver quality, durable and energy efficient housing”.
Coveney said the government would soon draft a bill to put Ireland’s construction industry register on a statutory footing, providing legislation for the registration of builders, contractors and specialist subcontractors. An even larger nZEBRA conference is now being planned for later in 2017, Tomás O’Leary told Passive House Plus, which will examine how nZEB policy applies to larger buildings, and will aim to draw international attendees.
Speakers at the conference included Minister for Housing Simon Coveney, former European Parliament president Pat Cox, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland CEO Jim Gannon, Construction Industry Federation director general Tom Parlon, Wexford County Council chief executive Tom Enright, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown county architect Andrée Dargan, Department of Housing advisor Seán Armstrong, Michael Bennett Construction QS Seamus Mullins, University of Ulster academic Dr Shane Colclough, EnEffect director Dragomir Tzanev, ILTP Consulting MD Christy O’Sullivan, and all three nZEBRA directors, along with the owners of two separate nZEBs which share the rare distinction of being A1 rated passive houses – Monica Hackett and Francis Clauson.
(Above) Pictured at the nZEBRA conference are (l-r) SEAI CEO Jim Gannon; Department of Housing advisor Seán Armstrong; Wexford County Council’s Enniscorthy district manager Liz Hore; nZEBRA director Tomás O’Leary; Wexford County Council chairman Paddy Kavanagh; housing minister Simon Coveney; Wexford County Council chief executive Tom Enright; minister of state Paul Kehoe; and Construction Industry Federation director general Tom Parlon.