In the classic story of the three little pigs, the big bad wolf may have blown down the first little piggy’s house of straw with consummate ease — but he wasn’t reckoning with this pioneering, energy bill-shredding Suffolk project, the UK’s first load-bearing straw bale passive house
The imperative to engage in evidence-based deep retrofit grows by the day. With the UK government dragging its heels, Peter Rickaby finds signs of hope in local initiatives, and in burgeoning Irish efforts.
The default answer when you want to do pretty much anything to a listed building is ‘no’. The default assumption if you want to achieve the Enerphit standard for retrofit is ‘tackle everything’. So how on earth do you retrofit a listed building to within a whisker of the Enerphit standard — with the blessing of the conservation officer?
Old buildings are tricky to upgrade – especially if external insulation’s not allowed. Utilising a combination of cutting edge building physics and a carefully selected palette of insulation materials, one Victorian stone building has been upgraded to the Passive House Institute’s Enerphit standard, slashing heating demand by 90%
At SEAI's 2018 deep retrofit conference, there are signs that action to overhaul Ireland's outdated, inefficient building stock is gradually moving forward
Built in 1850, this home in Dartmoor national park would have relied on local timber supplies for heating until the advent of widely-available central heating. One passive house-flavoured retrofit later, it’s back to its wood-burning roots – only this time with much less wood use, and much higher comfort.
In 2014, one couple decided to give up life in a van and convert an old newsagents in Shrewsbury into a very small low energy home, using the principles of the passive house standard as their guide. So how did it work out, and what is life really like in such a small home?
Simultaneously tackling fuel poverty and climate change requires drastic action on deep retrofitting the existing housing stock – and fast. Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s deep retrofit and renovation of Rochestown House may be Ireland’s most significant retrofit to date – a fact reflected in the project picking up the sustainability award at the 2017 Irish Architecture Awards.
This ambitious experimental retrofit of a Victorian barn high in the hills of West Yorkshire has turned a cavernous, draughty space into a comfortable low energy period home — and cut its heating bills by over 80%.
If the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra has a built embodiment, it’s arguably the recently completed Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun, Dublin – a 1960s boiler house for a much maligned early district heating system that’s been transformed into a sustainability education centre, and that makes use of a remarkably large palette of green materials and sustainable technologies.
Architecture practice vHH has announce that it is planning to adopt the passive house standard on a three-storey extension to the Grade 11 listed Leicester Cathedral, which is due to start on site in July 2019.
On 13 June, in an address about retrofit policy to the joint conference of the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, I suggested that the UK retrofit industry is dangerously incompetent, and that is why we need to implement the Each Home Counts industry review. Little did I know that in less than twenty-four hours those words would come back to haunt me in the most horrific way, writes Dr Peter Rickaby.
SEAI will host Ireland’s first ever deep retrofit conference at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on 21 June.
Homeowners Anne and Patrick Jordan’s ambitious upgrade and extension project in County Kildare took the shell of an 18th century farmhouse and transformed it into an elegant family home with a striking-yet-sensitive modern extension — all while embracing a healthy and fabric-first approach to retrofit combined with clever heating system design that has brought them from a G to an A3 rating.
The SuperHomes Ireland retrofit scheme is open for applications for 2017. The scheme is designed to help homeowners retrofit their properties to an A3 BER standard.
Leading low energy ventilation supplier Sustainable Homes Scotland has advised anyone carrying out a deep retrofit — or building a small low energy dwelling — to consider the benefits of a new generation of decentralised mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) systems.
For a while now, schemes that aim to encourage the mass uptake of home energy upgrades — essential for cutting carbon emissions from our building stock — have tended to fall into two camps: those that focus on shallow measures like cavity wall insulation and new boilers, and deep retrofit like the Passive House Institute’s Enerphit standard. A new Irish retrofit scheme aims to point the way forward by bridging the gap between these two extremes.
An exciting and innovative new deep retrofit project in Solihull has drastically cut the energy consumption of a small block of flats by smoothly and efficiently wrapping the entire structure in both insulation and ventilation ducting, delivering huge energy savings and minimal disturbance to the residents.
At first glance, this sprawling house in Blackrock would appear to be a nightmare candidate for a deep energy upgrade — large and sprawling, and with a mix of structures built at different times and with different materials. But guided by the passive house standard, the team behind it managed to turn a G-rated energy guzzler into a healthy and very-low energy family home – complete with an A rating.
We all do, argues Dr Peter Rickaby, but the goal of mass retrofitting our energy inefficient building stock is hampered by the fact that when it comes to most retrofits, we simply don’t know what we’re trying to achieve.
The AECB (Association for Environment Conscious Building) has invested over five years of extensive research to put together a unique online advanced retrofit training course, which brings together a wealth of knowledge on low energy retrofit and methodology.
This new award-winning two-building extension to a primary school in the south of Wales delivers healthy, ultra low energy school buildings – one of which is passive house certified – while pushing the boundaries of timber engineering.
The deep retrofit of this two-storey 1950s house in Cork City transformed a draughty, poorly-insulated dwelling into a comfortable, low-energy home for one family – coming close to the Enerphit standard in the process.