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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 Tag: Nearly Zero Energy Buildings

Planning Granted for Sunday Well House, Lucan

Paul Mulhern

We have recently secured planning permission from Fingal County Council for a two-storey detached, five-bedroom house at Sunday Well, Barnhill Cross Road, Lucan, Co. Dublin on behalf of private clients in association with Future Analytics Consulting.

The site is located to the north of the River Liffey in a stunning sylvan setting at the foot of wooded escarpment, allowing the dwelling to comfortably nestle within the Liffey valley landscape.

The site is located within Zoning Objective “HA” (High Amenity) of the Fingal Development Plan 2011-2017 which seeks to protect and enhance high amenity areas. This translates to a constrictive procedural policy context for development proposals.

Building on previous permission for demolition of an existing dwelling, the consenting strategy incorporated amendments to the previously approved scheme and construction of a replacement two-storey detached 478sqm five-bedroom house, a 37.5sqm relocated garage, revised elevational detail, and changes to landscaping with ancillary development works.

Our role was to prepare designs for a large family dwelling of traditional form with subtle contemporary detailing and the highest quality materials and finishes.  The proposals respond to the client's extensive accommodation brief and the highly sensitive nature of the site by minimising visual impact and placing all rooms to maximise views towards the river and carefully consider orientation.  The house will be built to A2 ("Nearly Zero Energy") standards.

The work involved:

  • Development of client's brief
  • Site assessment and analysis
  • House design and preparation of planning application drawings
  • Coordination with planning consultant
  • Flood risk assessment in conjunction with specialist consultant
  • Landscape design in conjunction with Landscape Design Services.
  • Preparation of Visual Assessment study for High Amenity area in conjunction with Landscape Design Services.

We are now progressing with a construction drawings and specification package to take the project to tender stage and construction on site.

The house was designed by Paul Mulhern, Architect, MRIAI.

Proposed Ground Floor Plan - Click to Enlarge.

Proposed First Floor Plan - Click to Enlarge.

NZEB - Nearly Zero Energy Buildings in Ireland

Paul Mulhern

Today we've been at the nZEB-15 National Retrofit Conference at Dublin Institute of Technology listening to the latest research, developments and education in this energy retrofit technology for Irish buildings.

Introduction video - Near Zero Energy Buildings

Some Information on Nearly Zero Energy Buildings standards in Ireland:

From January, 1st 2019 every new public building will have to be designed to nearly zero energy building standards. Also, all other new buildings will have to comply with the new nearly zero energy buildings standards from January, 1st 2021. This arises from the Recast European Performance of Buildings Directive 2010/30/EU.

For a typical dwelling this will equate to 45 kWh/m2/annum and an Energy Performance Coefficient (EPC) and Carbon Performance Coefficient (CPC) of 0.302 and 0.305 in accordance with the common general framework set out in Annex I of Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings (Recast). This takes account of the energy load for space heating, water heating, fixed lighting and ventilation. A very significant proportion of which will be covered from renewable energy sources produced on-site or nearby. (Ref: Towards Nearly Zero Energy Buildings in Ireland – Planning for 2020 and beyond

 The proposed improvement from current building  standards  to  an intermediate and final NZEB target for buildings other than dwellings are:

Targets will be further refined when developing new the technical performance standard TGD L – Buildings other than Dwellings. (Source: Towards NZEB in Ireland- Planning for 2020 and beyond)

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)

The EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD - 2002/91/EC) is the main European legislative instrument for improving the energy efficiency of Europe's building stock. Under the Directive, the following obligations were introduced in all Member States:

  • A methodology to calculate and rate the integrated energy performance of buildings
  • A system of energy certification for new and existing buildings, with display requirements for public buildings
  • Regular inspections of heating and air-conditioning systems
  • Minimum energy performance standards for new buildings and for existing buildings that undergo major renovation with a useful floor area over 1000m2

The EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) was transposed into Irish Law from 2006 onwards.

From 2013, the EPBD was superseded by the Recast EPBD and S.I. No 666 of 2006 was superseded by S.I. 243 of 2012.  See more at: http://www.seai.ie/Your_Building/EPBD

Changes in the Building Regulations in Ireland

Building Regulations were first introduced in Ireland in 1976 in Draft form and revised draft Regulations were introduced in 1981. The Building Regulations were formally revised in 1991, 1997, 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2011.

There have been significant step changes in the Irish Building Regulations since 2005. Technical Guidance Document Part L (TGD L), of the 2008 Regulations required a 40% reduction in primary energy use compared to a reference dwelling specified in the TGD Part L 2005 Regulations. TGD L of the 2011 Regulations require a 60% reduction in the primary energy us. The gradual improvements leading to NZEB standards for dwellings are summarised in the table below. 

Energy_Building_Regulations_Improvements.png

*These energy values are for a typical two storey semi-detached house.

Information from NZEB Open Doors Ireland.

Aggressive Passive House Strategies

Paul Mulhern

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is to make the Passive House energy efficiency standard compulsory for all new buildings – Dublin City Council to follow suit.

Passive House Diagram.

Passive House Diagram.

Dublin local authority Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has voted to make the passive house standard mandatory for all new buildings in the area as part of its 2016 Draft Development Plan. 

Council policy will be that all development in new buildings should be built to the Passive House standard. The motion also stated that Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs) and other lower energy standards may be considered as appropriate alternatives.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has a record of requiring higher energy efficiency standards than the national Building Regulations demand.

It was one of the first local authorities, in 2007, to demand that buildings be constructed to higher energy efficiency standards than the national regulations, passing 40% energy and carbon reduction targets, along with mandatory renewable energy systems. 

Local authorities are permitted to set energy efficiency standards above levels in building regulations as a planning condition.

The current national Building Regulations require that anyone building a new home has to achieve a 60% energy reduction and install a renewable energy system to comply with building regulations anyway. Compliance with “Part L” of the regulations typically means an A2 or A3 BER [Building Energy Rating], bringing construction costs up to passive house levels, but with no guarantee that the building will actually work to Passive House certified standards – a standard that is firmly rooted in building science.

Assuming that the passive house clause makes it into the final version of the development plan, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council would become the first local authority in the world outside of continental Europe to make the passive house standard compulsory. 

Meanwhile, Dublin City Council seems set to follow Dún Laoghaire’s lead -

The Green Party group of councilors have proposed a motion, that states: "Unless exceptional circumstances apply, the council will require new buildings to reach the passive house standard or equivalent, with the exception of buildings that are exempted from BER ratings as defined by SEAI. By equivalent we mean approaches supported by robust evidence (such as monitoring studies) to demonstrate their efficacy, with particular regard to indoor air quality, energy performance, and the prevention of surface/interstitial condensation."

The new policy is to be included in a draft of the development plan due to be brought before the council in July, before a public consultation period begins in September.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Development Plan 2016

Hofler Architects