In his second column on visionary eco-buildings of the 20th century, Dr Marc Ó Riain looks at the Dover Sun House, which used a pioneering salt solution to capture and store solar energy
Even in the era of climate change, there still appears to be something of a split in the world of architects between those who prioritise sustainability, energy efficiency and occupant health, and those who put design and aesthetics first. So it’s refreshing to find that the designer of this contemporary Dublin home put so much attention on insulation, airtightness and indoor air quality — as well as good looks.
Homeowners Michael and Paula Sheridan say that, living in their farmhouse-inspired Mayo passive house — which includes a highly unorthodox heating system — it’s easy to completely forget how cold it is outside.
Designing a dwelling to take advantage of the sun’s free heat is a big part of what makes a passive house passive. So how do you meet the low energy standard when your narrow site faces away from the sun and is overshadowed by neighbouring houses and trees, while simultaneously hitting an A1 building energy rating – and with a stunning, architecturally expressive design?
Passive house design is often seen as belonging to the world of hi-tech construction — perhaps unfairly, seeing as it emphasises a good building fabric over bolt-on technologies. Straw-bale construction, meanwhile, is usually regarded as the preserve of only the most committed, do-it-yourself eco-builders. To some these two approaches appear to be chalk and cheese, but in fact they are inherently compatible, and more and more projects are now combining the maths-centred approach of passive house with the extensive use of natural materials. In the first of a series of case studies on passive straw-bale dwellings, Lenny Antonelli spoke to architect Fran Bradshaw of Anne Thorne Architects, who designed and built a straw-bale home for herself in Hickling, Norfolk two years ago — and aimed to meet the passive house standard while doing so, with only a single infrared electric panel as the building’s sole active heat source.
We must discard the architectural baggage of the 20th century to solve 21st century problems – argues our columnist Marc Ó Riain – and relearn some lessons from before the advent of oil.
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
The head teachers of an East London school put their interest in sustainable building into practice by adding a new passive house extension — and the results already seem to be paying off for pupils.
This new Dungannon home shuns conventional passive house design and embraces the late 19th century Arts and Crafts movement.
This issue’s international selection of passive and low energy building includes two homes built for retirement —one in Austria, one in New Mexico — a striking house in a Romanian forest, and an out-of-this-world passive-certified dome in tropical south-west China.
A new development in Tipperary aimed to combine excellent levels of airtightness and insulation with generous glazing and natural ventilation to deliver ultra-modern, comfortable, low energy offices. How did it work out?
Three award-winning affordable homes in scenic North Norfolk have achieved passive certification while embracing a unique local style of architecture.
Passive house is no longer just the preserve of the self-builder. With over 300 passive houses built to date in multi unit-schemes and a thousand more on the way – along with major non-domestic builds – increasing numbers of British & Irish developers are going passive. But how will the sector cope with upscaling, and will the most cost-conscious developers be attracted to the standard?
Upgrading and extending a semi-detached house on a tight site in Limerick required ingenuity from architect Patti O’Neill.
High levels of external insulation, abundant natural light and a minimalist approach to ventilation are ensuring that Malahide Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club is as green as its courts
With great attention to energy, materials and water, ABK Architects’ new civic precinct shows that smart green design can show no sign of compromise
Few words in the vocabulary of Ireland’s built environment come with more baggage than ‘bungalow’. For many people, it embodies a total disregard for good architecture and the environment, in part due to its association with isolated one-off housing. John Hearne visited a house in Mayo that mixes considered design with a host of modern technologies to breathe new life into the form.
In the first installment of a new feature on international green buildings, Lenny Antonelli takes a look at five innovative, sustainable and striking buildings from around the world.
The previous edition of Construct Ireland featured an article by leading green architect Joseph Little analysing the insulated dry-lined blockwork walls typical of many homes in Irish housing estates, looking particularly at moisture movement within the external walls. Continuing on from that article, Little looks at the implications of several ways of insulating houses of hollow block construction.
Ill-considered attempts to upgrade a building’s thermal performance can not only fail to save energy, but can also create serious problems for occupant health and building structure alike. Leading green designer Joseph Little of Joseph Little Architects investigates the particular problems associated with dry-lining single-leaf concrete block walls
The environmental impact of the built environment extends far beyond energy consumption and carbon emissions throughout a building’s intended lifespan. Architect and sustainable design consultant Sinéad Cullen of DW EcoCo & BE Architecture explains why there’s a need to design buildings that can be deconstructed rather than destroyed once they reach their end of life, and looks at the obstacles to be overcome to make this happen.