Runaway train

Following its commitment to retrofit one quarter of dwellings in the country by 2030, the Irish government has now announced the establishment of four new centres of excellence for retrofit training, building on the training approach developed to help the industry meet the NZEB standard for new buildings. Workers from state-owned company Bord na Móna are among the first to undergo training as the company transitions out of peat extraction.

Senior college

The extensive energy and ventilation upgrade of 12 run-down bungalows at College View sheltered housing scheme in Wexford town not only transformed the lives and comfort of residents, but an extensive period of post-occupancy study has yielded important lessons for future projects.

International - Issue 37

This issue features the University of Chicago’s Warren Woods ecological field station, which was the first passive certified building of its type in North America.

Boxing clever

This all-wood passive-certified home in the village of Kippen was built directly by its architect owners, who not only achieved the passive house standard but did so with an ecological approach that sought to use building materials ultra-efficiently and make it easy to deconstruct and recycle the building at the end of its life.

Spectacular Vernacular stars

A new passive house on Galway Bay beautifully blends vernacular design with touches of Arts & Crafts while still appearing thoroughly contemporary, but under its neat exterior is the thinking of an architectural practice striving to reduce the environmental impact of its buildings, inspired by the Architects Declare pledge.

Playing all the angles stars

Angle House in north London is a wonderful example of sustainable urban housing: modest in scale and built on a run-down site in the heart of north London, it boasts a passive approach to energy efficiency and some beautiful design touches.

Up with the lark stars

Lark Rise is an elegant new passive house in rural Buckinghamshire designed by bere:architects, but it is more than ‘just’ a passive house. Because it produces and stores so much of its own energy through on-site solar power, it is a certified passive house ‘plus’, and in this article, its architect Justin Bere explains how dwellings like this can play a key role in decarbonising our economies and societies in the coming decades.

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.

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.

The PH+ guide to overheating

As awareness of the urgency of the climate crisis grows, efforts to kickstart en masse deep energy efficiency interventions are gathering apace. But poorly conceived low energy building efforts can lead to unintended consequences including overheating – a risk that’s bound to grow as the world warms up. Phi Architecture co-founder Claire Jamieson details the risks and offers some solutions on how to create low energy buildings that are comfortable in summer and winter.

Quantifying the greenness of construction products: the rise of environmental product declarations

Climate breakdown and global ecological crises mean that our efforts to make buildings sustainable must go far beyond operational energy use – including number crunching and drastically reducing environmental impacts of building materials. John Cradden reports on progress in the uptake of the building blocks of life cycle analysis of buildings: Environmental Product Declarations.

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.

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.

Award-winning passive house makes elegant mark on the South Downs

Despite the challenges of getting planning permission within a national park, a new passive house on a hillside in the South Downs managed to woo the planners with a sympathetic, discerning design inspired by a surprising source — two dilapidated old chicken sheds.

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.

Home heating choices and air quality

How we heat our homes has a direct impact on the quality of air that we breathe. This impacts on our health. The impact is both local and national. Burning solid fuel – in an open fireplace or stove – generates fine particle pollution which affects the air in our own home and in the local neighbourhood. There are choices and actions we can take that will reduce this pollution.

We can launch a new eco renaissance

The UN’s Scott Foster says deep retrofit of our building stock, and a sustainable built environment, should be at the heart of our recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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