Ireland - passivehouseplus.ie

Hell's kitchen - Why cooking can destroy indoor air quality stars

When it comes to air pollution, we tend to worry most about things like traffic fumes and solid fuel burning — or when it comes to indoor air, condensation, damp and mould. But one of the biggest threats in the air we breathe comes from something we are exposed to almost every day, but rarely think about: cooking. John Hearne reports on the evidence for how cooking affects indoor air quality, and what we can do about it.

Are lower land values the silver lining of the crisis?

While the Covid-19 crisis has undoubtedly caused a huge amount of human suffering and economic damage, it has brought some upsides too. Mel Reynolds speculates on how much land prices may fall, and what the positive and negative impacts may be.

Dead air - airborne covid 19 and poorly ventilated buildings stars

In the early stages of the Covid-19 crisis, there was little official recognition that airborne transmission was a risk. Has that view changed, and what role will building ventilation play when winter approaches?

Coasting home - Beautifully designed Hampshire home breezes past passive standard

‘Architecture is the blissful moment when the site and brief come together,’ says architect Ruth Butler of the challenge she and her engineer husband faced in designing their family home, on a difficult urban site by the Hampshire coast. But it was a challenge they met and exceeded, because even though they hadn’t even planned to build a passive house, they soon realised the design was on course to meet the onerous energy standard anyway.

Double standards - Mayo home takes passive approach to NZEB

Sited on the side of a hill in the west of Ireland, a new home that meets the NZEB and passive house standards boasts a locally-made and super-insulated timber-frame, and is designed to fold cleverly into the rural landscape.

Supporting green building’s upskilling

Over the past couple of months, the Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) has been focusing on helping those in the industry to upskill during the lockdown.

2020 feels pivotal for passive house - Barry McCarron, PHAI

Passive house veteran Barry McCarron has just taken over as chairperson of the Passive House Association of Ireland for a three-year term. But he believes the unique convergence of national and international events makes 2020 particularly critical for delivering a sustainable built environment.

Victoria Falls - 19th century home drops energy demand by 94%

This ambitious renovation and extension of a single-storey Dublin redbrick, bringing it up to an A1 rating while far exceeding the new build NZEB standard, provides a beautifully-detailed blueprint for delivering warmth, comfort, and healthy indoor air — as well as extra space and living density — in historic city centre properties.

Circular economy plans come into focus

The European Commission has adopted the EU’s new circular economy action plan, a major part of the European Green deal. The action plan aims to make the EU economy produce more durable, longerlasting, repairable consumer products, and maximise the use of recycled material.

Programme for government aims for 500,000 retrofits

The proposed programme for government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party contains a commitment to upgrade at least 500,000 homes to a B2 energy rating by 2030, among a series of commitments on the built environment.

Daikin Ireland launches new CPD webinars

Daikin Ireland is running a new regular series of online CPD webinars to enable remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. The latest dates for June webinars have just been announced.

Saint Gobain launches online technical academy

Saint-Gobain Technical Academy has announced the launch of its new online academy, which the company says will “continue its commitment to equipping building professionals with key knowledge about the sustainable building agenda as well as the vital skills needed to deliver it”.

SEAI Energy Awards 2020 open for entries

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has launched its annual SEAI Energy Awards and is calling on climate action champions to showcase their achievements. Now in their 17th year, the SEAI Energy Awards recognise and reward excellence in sustainable energy in business, community, research, buildings, renewables and public sector.

Evidence of COVID-19 infections in poorly ventilated spaces

The airborne transmission of COVID-19 may be a risk in enclosed spaces with air recirculation or poor fresh air ventilation, with one study concluding that airborne transmission may have occurred in 48.3% of people in a poorly ventilated office and 34.3% of passengers on an air conditioned bus.

An Post to enter retrofit market

An Post has announced the launch of a new "green hub" providing end-to-end project management and money-saving advice for all levels of home retrofitting, along with a low-cost loan rate. The state-owned company said that this one-stop-shop approach will cover loan-only or full retrofit services, from initial home assessments to completed works, along with SEAI grant application and payment process.

Environmental activism - tracing the roots of today's climate activism

While the green wave visible at ballot boxes and street marches in 2019 reflects an apparent escalation in public consciousness on the need for urgent, decisive environmental action, the roots of today’s environmental consciousness stretch back over half a century, explains Dr Marc Ó Riain.

Office romance - Passive house supplier walks the walk with new office & factory

When Welsh sustainable building specialists PYC decided to start making their own timber frames, they got down to work designing and building their own factory. Once that was finished, it was time to test their system on their first order: to build their own passive house certified offices right next door – and to be bold enough to decide not to install central heating.

Flat pack hijack

Flat-pack furniture has become a fixture of modern living, but what happens when the same concept is applied to housing – and when the client is an architect seeking to build to passive house and nearly zero energy building levels?

Stirling Work - The passive social housing scheme that won British architecture’s top award

Early in October, Norwich City Council’s Goldsmith Street development become both the first passive house and the first social housing project to win the Stirling Prize, British architecture’s most coveted award, with the judges calling it “high-quality architecture in its purest, most environmentally and socially conscious form”. Leading building energy expert Dr Peter Rickaby visited the scheme for Passive House Plus to see this ground-breaking project for himself.

Mies en Scéne - Iconic Dublin offices get deep green treatment

The deep and comprehensive refurbishment of the Miesian Plaza complex on Dublin’s Baggot Street provides a radical blueprint for how to transform mid-20th century city office buildings into comfortable, healthy and super low energy spaces that support sustainable transport and working patterns.

The first oil crisis

In the latest instalment of his series on the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy in the 20th century, Dr Marc Ó Riain reports on the seismic impact caused by the 1973 oil crisis.

Steeply sustainable - Low carbon passive design wonder on impossible Cork site

The unique split-level, wedge-shaped plan of this striking and award-winning new passive house in Cork isn’t just for show — it is a carefully thought-out response to an extremely challenging site, and an example of how great architecture can create beautiful, sustainable buildings in even the most unlikely of spaces, and with a fraction of the upfront carbon costs of traditional build methods.

Is it too late for sustainability?

Despite the urgency with which radical action is required to transform our built environment, Dr Peter Rickaby says he has never been more optimistic about the possibility of change.

The schism in solar energy

In his latest column on the evolution of solar energy, Dr Marc Ó Riain looks at how the design approaches of architects and engineers diverged in the middle of the century.

Sola open new NZEB showroom

Leading Tipperary-based low energy retrofit contract Sola Energy Solutions have opened a new NZEB showroom designed to showcase the full suite of low energy retrofit & new build options offered by the company.

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