Ireland - passivehouseplus.ie

Thermal breaks webinar - watch online

On June 8, 2021 Passive House Plus, in association with Farrat, chaired a hugely informative roundtable on thermal breaks. If you missed it, the video can now be viewed online.

Inside the UK’s largest passive school

With a decade of experience designing primary schools to the passive house standard under their belt, Architype have now designed the UK’s first passive secondary school — and all of the evidence suggests there is no better way to ensure a healthy, comfortable environment that is supremely conducive to learning.

Ecocem gets €22m investment from Bill Gates's climate fund

Irish low carbon cement company Ecocem has announced €22.5 million in equity investment from Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) and Breakthrough Energy Ventures-Europe (BEV-E), venture capital funds that are part Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy coalition, which seeks to accelerate the global drive towards net zero carbon emissions. 

New England rebel - Cork passive house with Vermont roots

A stunning new passive house in Cork breaks the conventions of passive house form with a design that manages to be both dramatic yet discreet at the same time, inspired by a US project to contort itself beautifully into its steeply sloping site.

Evidence base: How air source heat pumps fare in canny retrofits

Air source heat pumps are rapidly becoming one of the dominant technologies in sustainable building, but how well do they perform in real world conditions? Can they be part of the solution to retrofitting homes, given the challenges in making existing homes suitable for low energy heating? A rare monitoring study on a pioneering retrofit scheme offers encouraging signs.

Grant launches online learning academy

Heating technology manufacturer Grant has launched its new eLearning Academy for those working in the plumbing and heating, architectural and construction sectors in Ireland.

Radon in passive houses

Radon is one of the most dangerous indoor air pollutants, yet there is little research on how it is affected by different forms of construction and ventilation. A new study, however, suggests that homes built to the passive house standard are significantly less at risk of radon build-up.

Scottish passive house built with an innovative local timber system

A beautifully detailed and rustic new passive house in the north of Scotland was built with a unique off-site construction system using local timber, and was created by a design-and-build firm that aims to put sustainability at the heart of everything it does.

Zero in - Inspired design offers route to net zero energy living

It sounds like an impossibility: a high density, architectural, zero energy home on the tightest of back garden sites, adaptable to the needs of everyone from empty nesters to a family of six without opening a toolbox. But sometimes a project comes along that redefines what is possible.

International - Issue 35

This issue features an intriguing new passive house apartment building in north-west Spain.

The condensation myth

Condensation within the structure of buildings is a lot more complex than condensation in a sweaty pub on a Friday night, writes building physics expert Toby Cambray.

The science of filters

How do ventilation filters work, and can they help to protect us against Covid-19? Toby Cambray weighs in on the physics of a subject that is more complex and interesting than you might expect.

Dead air - airborne Covid 19 and poorly ventilated buildings

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?

Deep retrofit and stimulus

With governments across Europe looking for ways to jump start their economies following the early impact of Covid-19, attention is increasingly turning to deep retrofit. But while there is strong evidence that deep retrofit could play a major role, the devil will be in the detail – and the challenge of dramatically upscaling a nascent industry shouldn’t be underestimated.

Sea change — luxury passive scheme on the Devon coast

Built mostly with clay blocks and sited above the sandy shores of Seaton, on the Devon coast, this new development of eight high-end apartments not only meets the passive house ‘plus’ standard — meaning it pairs the requisite ultra-low energy fabric with a substantial amount of renewable energy generation — but it also boasts serious attention to the use of ecological and healthy material.

International - Issue 34

This issue features the passive house ‘plus’ certified headquarters of Métropole Rouen Normandie, located on the banks of the Seine in Rouen, France, and designed by Jacques Ferrier Architecture.

Bringing buildings into the circular economy

Embodied carbon is the next great challenge for the building sector. For the group’s latest update, Marion Jammet of the Irish Green Building Council discusses initiatives underway at both Irish and European level to further cut the carbon footprint of the built environment.

New research gives boost to recycled concrete

Results of a new five-year study of recycled concrete show that it performs as well, and in several cases even better, than conventional concrete.

Grenfell inquiry hears of damning test culture

Before it was halted until January 2021, the Grenfell Tower inquiry heard a series of damning testimonies on the culture towards fire safety within leading building material manufacturers and certification bodies in the years leading up to the fire.

Towards greener homes — the role of green finance

For anyone interested in climate action, the government’s commitment to halve Ireland’s emissions by 2030 and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 was one of the highlights of the year. But we won’t reach this objective focusing exclusively on energy efficiency — we must turn our attention to cutting embodied carbon too, and this wil be a major focus of the Irish Green Building Council's Better Homes conference next Friday, 27 November. 

Are we the virus?

Taking a temporary detour from his series of columns on the history of sustainable building and renewable energy, Dr Marc Ó Riain takes a look at Covid-19 from the perspective of Gaia theory, and at the relationship between collapsing ecosystems and the emergence of new infectious diseases.

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