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54 George's Street Lower
Dublin, County Dublin,

01 5585205

Award Wining Architects based in Monkstown, Co.Dublin and working in all surrounding counties.

Specialising in sensitive contemporary design for domestic extensions, renovations, new-build houses and interior design.  We also design and build custom joinery.

RIAI registered architects, project managers & interior designers

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Hofler Architects Dublin  - Our Blog of our news and views.

Filtering by Category: Passiv Haus

Passive House Principles Simply Explained:

Paul Mulhern

With Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and Dublin City Councils set to make Passive House standards mandatory for new buildings in their forthcoming Development Plans - 

“The time has come in Ireland for passive house standards to move from the margins to the mainstream, for building policy and its energy efficiency to become more active by becoming more passive... " - Pat Cox

Passive House or "Passivhaus" buildings provide a high level of occupant comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling. They are built with meticulous attention to detail and rigorous design and construction according to principles developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany, and can be certified through an exacting quality assurance process.

The new-build Passivhaus Standard requires:

  • a maximum space heating and cooling demand of less than 15 kWh/m2.year or a maximum heating and cooling load of 10W/m2
  • a maximum total primary energy demand of 120 kWh/m2/year
  • an air change rate of no more than 0.6 air changes per hour @ 50 Pa

The Passivhaus refurbishment standard, EnerPHit, requires:

  • a maximum space heating and cooling demand of less than 25 kWh/m2.year or a maximum heating and cooling load of 10W/m2
  • a maximum total primary energy demand of 120 kWh/m2/year + heat load factor
  • an air change rate of no more than 1.0 air changes per hour @ 50 Pa

To achieve the Passivhaus Standard in the Ireland typically involves:

  • very high levels of insulation
  • extremely high performance windows with insulated frames
  • airtight building fabric
  • ‘thermal bridge free’ construction
  • a mechanical ventilation system with highly efficient heat recovery

Just bear in mind though:

"It is far more difficult to be simple than to be complicated; far more difficult to sacrifice skill and easy execution in the proper place, than to expand both indiscriminately".  John Ruskin.

Passive House Ireland - Facebook

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Passive House Simply Illustrated

Paul Mulhern

We came across these wonderfully simple illustrations of the principles of Passive House design (Passive Haus) and thought they were well worth sharing.  They are by a U.S. firm, Albert, Righter and Tittman Architects. 

 The illustrations help make the case that green building in the new millennium should be about simplicity: weaving together and maximizing simple technologies rather than relying on fancy gizmos and complex systems.

The first image shows the evolution in building technology over the centuries, from wood-heated homes in the 19th century, to a complex jumble of building systems in 20th century homes, to the promise of simplicity presented by today’s Passive House standard:

It’s all about the envelope.  A central principle of Passive House design is to reduce heat loss by superinsulating homes, creating airtight building envelopes, and eliminating thermal bridges (elements or penetrations that allow heat or cold to leak through the fabric):

With a carefully-designed and executed building envelope in place, almost all the heating needs of a Passive House can be met by body heat, heat from lights and appliances, and solar gain:

The control of these solar gains can be easily regulated though a combination of well considered siting (along the east-west axis), shade-providing overhangs for the highest sun of the summer months, and the careful placement of high-performance windows.  All that’s left is to include heat-recovering mechanical ventilation, a simple system that exhausts spent air and brings in fresh air, all the while capturing and retaining the thermal energy of that exhausted air:

The end result is a comfortable, normal-looking home that saves 75-90% of the energy consumed by a conventional home.

Hofler Architects - Monkstown, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin