Irish blogs - passivehouseplus.ie

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.

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.

How humanity can save itself from itself

We are in the grip of a global emergency. The science is clear, and thousands of lives have already been lost. The public are demanding firm and bold leadership, but a laissez-faire attitude on the part of western governments has delayed and watered down our response, with calamitous consequences.

Culture shock & knowledge transfer

What are the consequences for the built environment, and the climate, of the lack of communication between research and industry, asks Dr Peter Rickaby – and what can be done about it?

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.

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.

Is the O’Devaney Gardens deal social vandalism?

The redevelopment of O’Devaney Gardens in Dublin City has grabbed headlines. Commentary has focused on the low levels of social housing proposed, high prices for private homes, and developer profit. But what is the cost to the state, asks Mel Reynolds, and is this sustainable?

Managing moisture: why we must learn the four Cs

Moisture problems are the Achilles heel of many new builds and retrofits, explains Dr Peter Rickaby – problems that can be exacerbated with poorly-conceived energy efficiency efforts, and which may become more prevalent due to climate breakdown.

Reflections on sustainable Nordic architecture

It’s no coincidence that Nordic countries are some of the most advanced in the world when it comes to low energy design. In this article, three assistant professors of architecture based in Denmark and Finland discuss areas where we can learn from our Nordic neighbours — and where we might return the favour.

Rebuilding Ireland mishap significantly inflating HAP figures

Mark Twain popularised the saying “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics”. Mel Reynolds explains why Department of Housing statistics on HAP may be grossly inflating the state’s impact on tackling the housing crisis.

Editor's letter: Issue 30

Our editor Jeff Colley's editor's letter from issue 30 received some particularly lovely praise, with architect Steve Mardall reaching out to say: "Was moved to write to commend you on your editor’s letter in this issue 30. You’ve perfectly captured the essence of the totality of where we are as a planet and a race. And captured well that subtle consensus of denial and ‘othering’ it, that is a compelling force to fall in line with if one is not to be labelled as a righteous crank. Your words articulate some of my own not formally articulated thoughts, and offer me clarity and impetus going forward." Meanwhile, AECB Carbon Lite Retrofit graduate Paul Forrester tweeted: "What a tremendously powerful piece of writing your editor’s letter is in issue 30 of @phplusmag. When I struggle to articulate all the thoughts, fears and conflicting ideas in my head, I might just show people that instead!" So here it is.

Mapping the efficiency of Europe’s buildings

A new free-to-use online tool aims to map the energy performance of Europe’s buildings, with the goal of helping to stimulate large-scale deep retrofit, writes project manager Michael Hanratty.

Marc O'Riain: The golden age of solar water heating

Renewable energy technologies are often regarded as new and innovative, but in some instances their roots predate the oil age and go back to the start of the industrial revolution. Dr Marc Ó’Riain finds important insights in past failures of early solar thermal systems.

Cuckoos & magpies: state house-buying hits record

Recent headlines suggest first time buyers are being pushed out of the housing market by ‘non-household’ buyers, so-called ‘cuckoo’ funds. Official figures suggest that private companies are not the only competition in the new homes market – there may be a ‘magpie’ out there also.

Internet of Things dominates ISH 2019

Today is the last day of ISH, the bi-annual exhibition for the combined topic of water and energy, which is on at the exhibition grounds in Frankfurt. Titled as ISH, it is the world’s leading trade fair for a range of associated topics, materials and services.

Reaching for the first rung

Why is it so difficult to get on the property ladder now compared to 20 years ago? After all, interest rates are lower and house prices are still below where they were in 2007. Architect Mel Reynolds runs through the figures.

A housing boom without the houses?

There was much talk of jobless recovery as economies picked up after the last global recession. Mel Reynolds detects signs of an analogous proposition in the Irish property market: a housing boom that may be close to peaking without much in the way of housebuilding to report.

The utopian Usonian

Dr Marc Ó Riain looks at the influence of 20th century architectural giant Frank Lloyd Wright on low energy building design.

Two houses for the price of one

Housing pundit and architect Mel Reynolds argues that local authority action could be the key to solving the housing crisis.

The House of Tomorrow, 1933

In his third column on visionary eco-buildings of the 20th century, Dr Marc Ó Riain looks at the pioneering passive solar designs of Fred Keck.

Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink

Inertia with state-owned land is exacerbating Ireland’s housing crisis, argues housing commentator and architect Mel Reynolds, in spite of the state possessing enough zoned land to make a major dent in solving the problem.

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