Lifting retrofit out of its silo

There has been a sleuth of recent reports on how to retrofit Britain’s existing homes, but we must think deeper than the practical matter of reducing energy and carbon, to how we create beautiful places to live, writes Peter Rickaby.

Let’s bring ventilation in from the cold

Why is there is such antipathy towards putting ventilation at the forefront of our Covid prevention strategy, asks Residential Ventilation Association of Ireland chair and co-founder David McHugh.

ESG: a game changer for sustainable building?

With signs that the corporate world may be starting to move from greenwashing to genuinely grappling with sustainability via environmental, social and governance reporting (ESG), will this create opportunities for the widespread adoption of evidence-based sustainable building? Archie O’Donnell, Passive House Association of Ireland board member and environmental manager with i3PT, finds reasons for optimism.

Housing for who?

Despite an increase in the construction of new homes, the number available for first-time buyers and families to purchase is falling.

Let’s get decarbonisation done

While there is much debate about whether we should prioritise retrofitting homes or installing heat pumps, the climate crisis means we may not have a choice but to do both as fast as possible, writes Toby Cambray.

The Saskatchewan House, 1977

In his latest column on the history of low energy building during the 20th century, Dr Marc Ó Riain looks back at the Saskatchewan House, which was built in Canada in 1977, and established the principle of prioritising energy demand reduction over active systems.

How will we decarbonise heating?

Insulating our homes is critical and must be our first priority, but how do we get the rest of the way to zero carbon? Dr Peter Rickaby investigates the options…

Cutting embodied carbon: doing more with less

We won’t be able to reduce the embodied carbon of construction fast enough just by switching to lower carbon materials, says Pat Barry of the Irish Green Building Council, so we urgently need smart design that allows us to build with less, and to create a genuine circular economy for building materials.

When is an A-rated home really A-rated?

Does the energy rating of homes actually reflect their real-world performance? Dr Shane Colclough, vice chair of the Passive House Association of Ireland, outlines the growing importance of post-occupancy analysis.

Housing for all: a plan in need of a story

Under its new housing plan, the government wants the state to acquire more land for housebuilding. But why has it failed to use the vast land banks it already owns? Mel Reynolds runs the rule over the figures.

Why the Green Homes Grant failed

The Green Homes Grant scheme failed because politicians failed to heed more than a decade of lessons about how to do retrofit well, writes Dr Peter Rickaby, and now there will be an even bigger hill to climb.

On the 3D printing of buildings

Building physics expert Toby Cambray finds himself unconvinced by the merits of a new home in the Netherlands that has been 3D printed with concrete.