BELOW: Timber frame building with breather membrane prior to cladding / Airtight membrane sealed with tape before plasterboard / Sheeps wool insulation. Note timber construction is only suited to specific project types.

BUILDING REGULATIONS: The standards contained in guidance on the conservation of Fuel and Energy have been increased in dwellings from December 1st 2011. They incorporate many elements that our office have been incorporating into our projects for years. If implemented correctly CO2 omissions from dwellings confirming to these requirements are substantially reduced. It is important that the building is designed and detailed by professionals with the necessary skills to ensure this compliance. David Wright is part time tutor in Architectural Technology, School of Architecture, Bolton Street. which is at the forefront in teaching good construction practice.

GRANTS: There are government grants currently available from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Upgrading insulation, boilers and heating controls should be considered by all Homeowners when planning works to your home.

CHOOSING MATERIALS: We strive to encourage clients to use environmentally sustainable materials if they do not compromise the project. We are not dogmatic but guide clients to make informed choices on the materials used, to consider their cost, durability, maintenance, embodied energy and aesthetics over the lifetime of the building.

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ENERGY EFFICIENT DESIGN: We design buildings with the aim of achieving a high level of thermal performance, in excess of the minimum standards using innovative design and detailing and without adversely affecting the budget. Good thermal performance of the buildings designed by our office ensures that the end user benefits with reduced fuel bills indefinitely.

We have completed highly insulated and airtight houses designed to be virtually independent of fossil fuels Heating and hot water required are provided by a log fired boiler with an accumulator tank which complements the under-floor heating. It was not economically viable in this project to include every measure for a fully passive house and informed decisions were made on what elements represented best value for money. We believe that the most appropriate guidelines for sustainable house building at the current time is the UK standard “Code for Sustainable Homes /Nov 2010” as it contains a broad range of categories indicating how they are weighted according to their environmental impact. The recently published S.R.54;2014 “Code of`practice for the Energy Efficient retrofit of dwellings” from NSAI is also applicable.


ABOVE: Condensation risk analysis which is needed  when specifying high levels of insulation to ensure the good performance and longevity of the structure. This example is concrete construction with external insulation.

ABOVE: Rear elevation (Prior to completion)

In this home passive solar gain is optimised with the orientation of the house on the site with a predominance of glazing to the south. Polished concrete floors and Calcinated gypsum / wood fibre boards were used instead of traditional gypsum plasterboard which act as a thermal buffer.

High level of insulation, elimination of cold bridges and minimal levels of air leakage are used in conjunction with a heat recovery system. The thicker the insulation used the greater the negative impact of thermal bridges & other construction imperfections on the thermal performance. It is important that levels of uncontrolled air leakage are contained in the context of the greater the levels of insulation. A pressurisation test were carried out to ensure air tightness of the external envelope before the wall linings were completed.

Environment               DAVID WRIGHT ARCHITECTS