Dampness reduction via better ventilation seen to be key
A disastrous failed external insulation contract run under a government energy saving scheme has affected up to 390 homes in Preston with water penetration, mould and damp.
After a litany of dangerous and high profile building failures in Ireland, many in the country’s building industry looked longingly across the Irish Sea and held up the UK as an example of how to do building control properly. But following a series of embarrassing defects with UK construction projects, it’s clear the British system is far from perfect. So is either of these building control systems properly equipped to deliver safe, healthy and well-constructed buildings?
Low energy building isn’t complicated, but it’s easy to get wrong. Since Irish house builders downed tools en masse when the last boom ended, energy efficiency standards for new homes have seen unprecedented rises of 40% in 2008 and 60% in 2011, shooting far ahead of the UK. But with signs of a new boom emerging, can the industry get to grips with this brave new world of insulation, airtightness and thermal bridging and deliver healthy low-energy homes — or are damp and mould set to become the norm in new build?
Fuel poverty has “come of age” in the last 3 years and great strides have been made in understanding the scale of the problem, Christine Liddell, professor of psychology at Ulster University, said in her keynote address to the Energy Action conference in Dublin Castle on Monday, 6 February.
Citing British research as an example, she stressed that any investment made in tackling fuel poverty would be recouped by the state.
Ron and Collette Wardle started suffering ill health almost immediately after a sloppy energy upgrade. But reading a copy of Construct Ireland started a chain of events that led to the couple getting a brand new ventilation system — and seeing a marked improvement in their health.
Whether we reside permanently in an existing residence or are looking to build a new home, it is vital that we consider the well being of the occupants as well as the environment. RTE presenter Duncan Stewart stresses the importance of a healthy home.