Wednesday, February 16, 2011

' Out of the Blue' - County Wicklow, A Passive home

With many architects impressed with growing interest of the passive house concept Tomás O'Leary jumped in first to construct the first passive building in Ireland. From here O’Leary developed a company which now specialises in creating these energy efficient homes for others. Many Property owners across Ireland are, due to rising heating and running cost for dwellings, looking for alternative and more energy efficent methods within the home. With BER ratings effecting every building in Ireland from 2009 an energy efficient home is now far more appealing.
The Passive house is the most energy efficent building imaginable. O’Leary’s company, MosArt, began to introduce the method throught Ireland  after his first certified project in Co Wicklow called 'Out of the Blue'. The house has been Tomás's family home since 2005.O’Leary persisted with his vision of a clean, low-energy house and began researching Passive Houses to further his knolledge. The concept is based on minimising heat losses and maximising heat gains from the home. Certified Passive Houses must meet the Passivhaus Standard, a building standard developed by the Passivhaus Institut in Germany.

Even now sixteen years on the building is still a modern, bright, airy and energy efficient home that bears no comparison to the conventional terraced house they lived in previously. The house has attracted huge public interest. Passive housing techniques iclude  the reduction of  heat loss with insulation and by making the house airtight aswell as increase heat gains by taking advantage of free energy like solar power. It must be stated that an airtight Passive House is not a stuffy, the ventilation system within the building prevents this. The heat recovery ventilation system uses the heat from warm stale air leaving the house to heat the fresh cold air coming in.

The house itself is 4,000 sq. ft two storey split level design and was the first Certified Passive House in Ireland. O’Leary ensured a high level of comfort throughout the year using just 10% of the energy of a conventional house was maintained.This was achieved through high levels of insulation, southern orientation, air-tight construction and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery.

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