Design Approaches - passivehouseplus.ie

Deconstruct Ireland

Deconstruct Ireland
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.

Insulating Ireland

Insulating Ireland
The vast majority of Irish buildings are in need of substantial energy upgrade work. Given the difficult economic conditions and low public awareness of the cost, comfort and health benefits of a well-designed energy renovation, the notion of upgrading most Irish buildings is a considerable challenge. However, as Lenny Antonelli explains, new ideas are emerging that could stimulate energy upgrade work on an unprecedented scale.

Dream factory

Dream Factory
The rapid emergence of sustainable building in Ireland has been heavily influenced by the techniques of early-adopters extending from Scandinavia, to Canada, to Germany and Austria. John Hearne visited a recently completed timber home in Galway which uses Austrian know-how to couple air-tightness, high levels of insulation and healthy materials with a sustainable approach to heating and ventilation

Acquired taste

Acquired-Taste
The Department of Agriculture’s new Food Safety Centre is a deceptively simple building that combines natural ventilation and lighting with energy efficiency - all on a designed natural landscape that seeks to both boost biodiversity and prevent flooding. Lenny Antonelli visited the County Kildare site to find out more

Good form

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If you are at all worried about keeping construction costs down and lengthening the useable lifespan of your building, it’s critical that energy performance is considered from the earliest stages of planning and design. John Hearne spoke to a number of leading Irish experts in sustainable design about following simple principles of orientation, form and layout to achieve substantial energy improvements for free

Alive and well

Alive-And-Well
Designing sustainable buildings doesn’t always mean hi-tech solutions. From green roofs to living walls to constructed wetlands, sometimes it’s just a matter of embracing natural solutions. Lenny Antonelli investigates the emerging technologies and designs that use nature to improve the performance of buildings.

Southern comfort

Timber eco home fuses south facing with south Dublin
Sustainable building at its best is about much more than just energy and carbon emissions, and involves considering location, form, orientation and the use of healthy, environmentally friendly materials. Mike Haslam of trail-blazing ecological architects Solearth describes a family home which scores highly on every front

Mixing It Up

Designing out carbon made easy
As Building Regulations tighten on carbon emissions, energy reduction and mandatory renewable energy targets, the task for designers becomes harder and harder. Bobby Gilbert of Bobby Gilbert and Associates explains how a new design tool is making sustainable design easier.

In Transit

Transition movement inspires dramatic carbon cuts in house refurb
The Transition Towns movement has recently come to the fore as a model for sustainable development, with communities around the world signing up to reduce carbon emissions and build resilience in a world where climate change and energy security are emerging as real threats. Leading eco designer Joseph Little of Joseph Little Architects describes how the recent refurbishment and extension of a Dublin house addresses many of the movement’s concerns.  

Modern Art

KILLINEY HOMES CONNECT MODERNISM WITH SUSTAINABILITY
Killiney is an area known for both its natural beauty and the desirability of the existing built environment. Jason Walsh visited two new houses in the exclusive south County Dublin village which show it as being at the forefront of the drive to create a lasting beauty.

Force of Habit

Limerick convent keeps faith in green design
Two years ago Construct Ireland ran a case study on Mater Orchard, a Mercy Sisters convent building that successfully balanced cutting edge technologies with pragmatic green design. Such was the success of that building, its architects were commissioned by Mercy Sisters in Limerick to repeat the feat. John Hearne visited the freshly completed building to find out how they fared

Box of Tricks

Wicklow bungalow gets low carbon modernist extension
A typical Irish bungalow built in the early 1990s has been transformed with a green-tinted extension built in the spirit of modernism. Jason Walsh visited Enniskerry, County Wicklow to see how the old and the new were integrated

Bio Logic

Protecting occupant health with building biology
Stricter air-tightness standards might be helping to reduce energy use in new build, but is it leading to higher indoor concentrations of chemical and biological toxins? Lenny Antonelli investigates an emerging approach to building that is combining attention to environmental impact with consideration for the potential health effects of modern building materials and practices.

Municipal Bond

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If the Irish construction industry is truly to rapidly embrace the concept of sustainability, leadership from the public sector will be paramount in setting the right example. John Hearne spoke to the design team of the Opus and RIBA award-winning Cork Civic Offices, a development which keeps carbon emissions and fossil energy consumption to a minimum, and once more puts the public sector at the forefront of innovative sustainable design

Ecology of Scale

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As reported in the previous edition of Construct Ireland, South Dublin County Council is planning the development of an eco-district at Clonburris, on a scale and standard to rival even the best international examples. Fionnuala Lennon, Senior executive planner with South Dublin County Council and project manager of the Clonburris project sheds light on the groundbreaking plans which may prove pivotal in the drive towards a sustainable Ireland.

Green Gains

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In spite of the obvious emergence of technologies and design approaches to reduce the impact of new build, environmental standards remained poor throughout the duration of the housing boom. Now, a unique combination of political will, smart incentives, and a new market of informed and empowered buyers may be about to change that, writes Lenny Antonelli

A Breath of Fresh Air

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Prestige commercial buildings can place a heavy toll on the environment, typically relying in Ireland on carbon intensive grid electricity to power air conditioning systems throughout the warmer parts of the year and inefficient electric lighting – often all year around. Completed in November 2004, software company SAP’s Galway offices offer a rare opportunity to find out how a natural ventilated and low energy lighting building is working in practice, as John Hearne reveals.

Squaring the Circle

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Atop a hill in New Ross, County Wexford, is a beacon for sustainability in large-scale developments, which draws extensively from across the palette of sustainable building options to achieve a building that is notable not just aesthetically, but also in health, energy and environmental impact terms. Jason Walsh visited the new Solar Croi spa, part of the Brandon House Hotel, Health Club and Spa, to find out more.

Green Rooms

Wesport Woods Hotel
Hotels typically take a heavy toll on the environment, with large amounts of energy used for heating, hot water, lighting, air conditioning and laundry, and huge amounts of waste being landfilled each year. John Hearne visited the Westport Woods Hotel and discovered a highly successful approach to reducing environmental impact that is also yielding substantial dividends in terms of cost savings and positive publicity

Modern Age

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Creating the right comfort in buildings for elderly people involves ensuring a warm internal environment, which typically results in high energy consumption. John Hearne visited the new Castle Gardens Retirement Village as it approached completion and found a project that combines complimentary low energy technologies, materials and design to deliver high levels of comfort whilst also keeping running costs, energy consumption and carbon emissions low

Inner Space

An increasing number of sustainable homes are being built in Ireland but many of them are in rural areas, and yet, Ireland is an increasingly urban society.
An increasing number of sustainable homes are being built in Ireland but many of them are in rural areas, and yet, Ireland is an increasingly urban society. Jason Walsh looks at one recent attempt to renovate a small terraced house in inner-city Dublin, bringing it up to modern environmental and energy efficiency standards.

Mixed Signals

As it nears completion, John Hearne visits what is anticipated to be one of the lowest energy buildings in Ireland's recent history.

A Lesson in Energy Efficiency

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The Department of Education has made its commitment to energy efficiency and CO2 reduction clear in developing and bringing into practice targets for primary school design that aim for less than half of the accepted good practice in the field. Project coordinator John Dolan, Senior Engineer with the Department of Education explains how this approach works within normal Departmental budgetary limits to create school buildings that show the way ahead for building designers.

Rest Assured

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Brian Homan, Joint Managing Director of leading consulting engineers Homan O’Brien Associates describes a nursing home currently being built that is adopting a sustainable building approach to deliver healthy, comfortable accommodation at low running costs.

Lime hemp

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Lime-hemp is developing as a bio composite construction material with serious ecological and energy advantages. Patrick Daly, lecturer in Environmental Design at DIT Bolton St. asks if this is the environmental material of the future and explores its mainstreaming potential.

Apartments for Life

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Jason Walsh spoke to David Smith of O'Mahony Pike Architects about the practice's uniquely-designed show apartments for this year's Myhome.ie Spring House and Garden exhibition.

A Class Apart

Galway Bay Solar Apartments
Kevin O’Flaherty’s
development overlooking Galway Bay combines impressive energy saving techniques with the sorts of features that buyers of high-spec homes have grown to expect, as John Hearne discovers.

Early Developer

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In September, Sustainable Energy Ireland launched a major energy efficient housing development in Tuam, Co Galway. Houses in the development are over 70% more energy efficient than houses built to standard Building Regulations requirements. Construct Ireland’s John Hearne describes.

Eco Lodgings

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Construct Ireland’s Jason Walsh visited the Brooklodge in Macreddin, County Wicklow, to find out about how one hotel has found rising fossil fuel costs the perfect reason to invest in a sustainable future.

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