In the first in a new series of technical articles on some of the key technologies in sustainable building, John Hearne makes the case for wrapping buildings in an external insulation layer, and describes some of the main issues to watch out for.
As demand for super-insulated and airtight building structures grows, insulating concrete formwork (ICF) is rapidly gaining popularity as a method of construction. But what exactly is ICF, what are its key advantages, and why is it so well suited to passive house and low energy construction?
Once poorly understood by the mainstream building industry, airtightness is now increasingly seen as one of the most crucial objectives on any building project. Not only is it vital for energy efficiency, it’s also key for thermal comfort and for protecting a building’s structure from dampness and mould. In this comprehensive guide to airtightness, we look at why it’s so important, how exactly it’s measured, and most importantly, how to achieve it on site.
As electricity supply from renewable sources continues to grow, and electricity grids gradually decarbonise as dirtier fossil fuels are phased out, heating homes with electrical technologies like heat pumps starts to make more sense. And in the mild, temperate climate of Britain and Ireland, air source heat pumps are particularly suitable — especially as new build standards of energy efficiency continue to tighten, meaning new homes need less and less energy to achieve comfortable indoor temperatures. But how do air source heat pumps work, what types are there, and how much do they cost to run? Our in-depth guide attempts...