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Use the form on the right to contact SPACIOUS about an initial consultation or email us at:  hello@spacious.ie

 

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54 George's Street Lower
Dublin, County Dublin,
Ireland

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

Dublin Architecture Blog

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

Filtering by Tag: New Build

Simon Open Door Consultations 2017

Paul Mulhern

We took part in the 2017 Simon Open Door Consultations last weekend and are delighted that our donated time and expertise raised precisely €1,080 for the homeless charity. 

Over the lifetime of the annual open door events over €700,000 has been raised for the Simon Communities of Ireland.   Simon Open Door is a fantastic scheme. It benefits both the Simon Communities of Ireland and members of the public. Anyone can sign up and in return for a €90 donation to Simon receive an hour long consultation with a certified RIAI Architect.

This year we did 12 architectural consultations for homeowners who were considering various projects including home remodelling and renovation; house extensions to increase space, bring in more light and connect more fully with their gardens, and a number of proposed new-build houses.  It was interesting and exciting for us all to discuss potential, especially where the homeowners had been previously concerned that they had limited options.

We got fantastic feedback from everyone who attended about the information they got on everything from design potential to planning matters, building costs and the whole process involved in embarking on a building project with an architect.

Since 2005, the Simon Open Door initiative has been a permanent fixture in the calendar of RIAI Architects who, open their offices and offer their time and expertise to members of the public. Every cent raised goes toward's the work of the Simon Communities of Ireland.

SPACIOUS

T: 01-5585205

M: 089 2447264

 

New Family House Design Submitted for Planning - Project Update

Paul Mulhern

We have recently submitted a planning application for a new five-bedroom family home beside the River Liffey near Lucan, Co. Dublin.

The proposal is for a large family house in a sensitive location - the site is zoned High Amenity (HA) which has been applied to areas of Fingal of high landscape value. These are areas which consist of landscapes of special character in which inappropriate development would contribute to a significant diminution of landscape value in the County. The Development Plan contains a number of specific objectives relating to HA zoned land including:

Objective HA01 - Protect High Amenity areas from inappropriate development and reinforce their character, distinctiveness and sense of place.
Objective HA02 - Ensure that development reflects and reinforces the distinctiveness and sense of place of High Amenity Areas, including the retention of important features or characteristics, taking into account the various elements which contribute to its distinctiveness such as geology and landform, habitats, scenic quality, settlement pattern, historic heritage, local vernacular heritage, land-use and tranquility.

The proposed house is considered to be in accordance with this specific policy as it provides for a scheme which has been carefully designed to ensure it does not have the potential to negatively impact the character of this high amenity area.  The house will blend into its existing setting. This will be achieved through carefully considered siting and design, and a comprehensive landscaping scheme which will act to filter views of the proposed built form from the public realm. 

Accommodation includes five double bedrooms with en suites arranged around a grand staircase and landing lit by a double-height window and octagonal roof light.  At ground floor a family kitchen/dining/lounge room is positioned to the southwest with sheltered terraces. Two other reception rooms are positioned to the south and southeast with a TV lounge and private study located to the rear.  A double car garage is located to the northwest.  The house has been designed to achieve an A2 building energy rating.

Ground Floor Layout - Main receptions face south along a east-west axis.

First Floor Layout - Five en suite bedrooms around central hall and stair.

Contact us about your own new house, extension or renovation project here, or check out some of our other projects here.  We are happy to accommodate a no-obligation initial consultation free of charge.

SPACIOUS

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Simon Open Door Day 2016 - Architect Consultations

Paul Mulhern

Unfortunately I'm not around to open my door for the Simon Open Door Day on May 14th & 15th this year.  However, if anyone would like a consultation and can't make those dates either I am happy to facilitate on alternative dates and we can send off your cheque to Simon at the session. More details on this year's Simon Open Door Day below.

Simon Communities of Ireland work with people who experience homelessness and housing exclusion in Ireland. Simon has a vision of society where no one is homeless. All people who are homeless, or at risk of facing homelessness, are given every opportunity to realise their potential to live fulfilled lives in appropriate homes of their own.

The annual Simon Open Door event takes place over Saturday and Sunday, 14th and 15th May 2016. Members of the public can now book a consultation with a RIAI Registered Architect by signing up at www.simonopendoor.ie. The donation of €70.00 will go directly to the Simon Community of Ireland as all Architects are giving their time and expertise for free.

Monies raised through the Simon Open Door campaign will go directly to assist some of the most vulnerable people in our society, those without a place to call home.

You can sign up for an appointment by contacting Paul Mulhern directly HERE or with other registered Architects at www.simonopendoor.ie.  As mentioned above this might suit those who can't make the 14th/15th May dates and we can send off your cheque to Simon at the session.

Read Testimonials about the Simon Open Door.

Join Simon Open Door page in Facebook.

You can expect general advice on:

  • Options and ideas for extending and renovating your home - or building a new house
  • Architect’s fees and services
  • Information on building costs including VAT
  • Discussion on building materials likely to be used
  • Planning requirements or Exempted Development from Planning
  • The documents that will be used for planning; tenders; and building contracts

Here are some other useful links:

Best regards,  Paul.

SPACIOUS Architects.  Co. Dublin

So How the Hell Does a Heat Pump Work?

Paul Mulhern

It’s a complicated process!  A miracle of science!!  And of course you’ll need to know all about the laws of thermodynamics to really understand it…

…but here’s how a heat pump works, in a nut shell.

Layout for a ground source heat pump - tapping into the sun's heat stored in the soil.

Layout for a ground source heat pump - tapping into the sun's heat stored in the soil.

It's starting to get colder out there, so we’re starting to flick the heat on indoors.  We’re currently working on a some new-build houses in Dublin and Meath and are assessing options for heating and the efficiency of these systems through the use of renewables.  Often when we talk to people about how heat pumps can keep your home warm in winter, they get a look of bewilderment on their faces and ask how can that be possible.

People don't usually tell us that they're confused about how a fridge or air conditioner works, even though it's the same exact process - moving heat from a cooler area to a warmer area.

Heat pumps transfer heat by circulating a refrigerant through a cycle of evaporation and condensation.   The refrigerant is the medium that transfers the heatA compressor pumps the refrigerant between two heat exchanger coils. In the first coil, the refrigerant is evaporated at low pressure and absorbs heat from its surroundings (outside). The refrigerant is then compressed as it passes to the other coil, where it condenses at high pressure. It then releases the heat it absorbed earlier in the cycle - usually into the water of your heating system.

But this is Ireland.  It’s winter.  How on earth does it get heat from the outside air?

As the ground and air outside always contain some heat, a heat pump can supply heat to a house even on cold winter days. In fact, air at –18°C contains about 85 percent of the heat it contained at 21°C.

Heat flows whenever you have a temperature differential.  Maybe it’s that we have blinkers here due to our experience with cold outdoor temperatures. When we go outside in winter, our bodies will have a much higher temperature, being at about 37°C, and we then experience cooling. We’re always cooled off by cold outdoor air, so it is hard to imagine that that same air could ever heat anything else up.

The basic physics here is that heat will flow from something warmer to something cooler.  The answer is that, through the physics of the refrigeration cycle, as long as you can lower the temperature of the outdoor air, you can extract useful heat.

The vapour compression cycle

A heat pump exploits the fact that a fluid’s boiling point is affected by pressure. Lowering the pressure lowers the temperature at which the fluid evaporates, changing from liquid to gas: raising the pressure raises the temperature at which it condenses, changing from gas to liquid.

  1. Refrigerant in the evaporator is colder than the heat source. This causes the heat to move from the heat source to the refrigerant as it evaporates.
  2. This vapour moves to the compressor where its temperature and pressure are increased.
  3. The hot vapour now enters the condenser where it rejects heat as it condenses.

The refrigerant then moves to the expansion valve; drops in temperature and pressure; then returns to the evaporator.

The basics of the Vapour Compression Cycle.

The basics of the Vapour Compression Cycle.

Ground source heat pumps

Use a 'closed loop' system of water/anti-freeze to collect the soil heat. Air/water heat pumps collect heat from the outside air. Generally, air temperatures are moderate in Ireland but due to natural frosting of the air heat exchanger during heat collection, it is necessary that these pumps use a small amount of energy to defrost. This leads to a marginal decrease in performance which is offset by a low installation cost.

The initial capital costs of installing a geothermal heat pump system is usually higher than other conventional central heating systems. A large proportion of the outlay will be for the purchase and installation of the ground collector. The system is among the most energy efficient and cost effective heating and cooling systems available.

Typically, 3-4 units of heat are generated for every unit of electricity used by the heat pump to deliver it, and the payback is typically about 8-10 years. The life expectancy of the system is around 20 years. Once installed a heat pump requires very little maintenance and anyone installing a heat pump should speak with their installer regarding a maintenance agreement. Heat pumps operate optimally when a system design approach is taken. It is important that the heat collector and heat distribution systems are correctly sized/installed.  (Refer to top image).

Air to water heat pumps

The evaporator collects heat from the outside air, which is then drawn into the unit by the fan through the evaporator fins and expelled through the front grille. The evaporator has liquid refrigerant passing through it, which is at a considerably lower temperature than the outside air, therefore the air gives up its heat to the refrigerant, which then vaporises.

This preheated vapour now travels to the compressor where it is compressed and upgraded to a much higher temperature.  Cooler water and the now cooler refrigerant returns to its former liquid state but still under high pressure from the compressor.

This high pressure is then released by passing the liquid through the expansion device and from there it returns to the evaporator and the cycle starts again.

Compared with central Europe (where air source heat pumps are already very popular), Ireland has a relatively moderate winter climate. With average winter temperatures of around 5°C, seasonal Co-efficient of performance ( or Efficiency) comparable with ground source (or Geothermal) heat pumps are achievable, without the additional cost of expensive ground loop systems having to be installed in the garden.

What Hofler Architects can do…

We regularly specify heat pumps and other renewable systems for the new-build and domestic extension projects we undertake.  Early in the design stage of a project we are considering which type of renewable technology will work best with the particular needs, the budget and the short and long-term costs.  We will carry out a number of BER studies - (Building Energy Rating) to look at all combinations of systems to determine which solution works best for you.

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Read an eloquent client testimonial here and what the Irish Times have said about some of our sustainable domestic renovation and extension work here.  

If you are planning to extend, renovate or build a new dwelling - Talk to us about your project.  You can contact us at any time here.

Return to our homepage or view our blog articles index page.

SP ACIOUSArchitects, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. 01-5585205

Tel: 01-2809322