Passive House Design

John Morehead attended the first Passive House (PH) ‘Certified European Passive House Designer’ accredited course held during Autumn 2009 at the Strathclyde University, Glasgow and qualified as a Certified European Passive House Designer in December, 2009.

The PH concept is effectively putting some science on what we at Wain Morehead Architects Limited had already been practicing in the design of our low energy buildings, the principles being the same but the insulation standards and air permeability requirements being brought to entirely new levels, well beyond the requirements of the Building Regulations. In late 2009 a project we had on site readily achieved the 10w/m2 specific heating load requirement and 15kWh/m2a Heating demand criteria, without any design changes! The energy required to boil a kettle is all that is required to maintain comfort levels in this dwelling at -10ºC. The well insulated envelope ensures that heat losses can be offset by the use of highly efficient heat recovery ventilation systems and solar gain, together with the heat generated by the inhabitants and appliances within the building. The Irish climate is particularly suitable for Passive House design but the loads and energy demand varies significantly depending on where the project is constructed. The availability of solar gain locally, in Ireland, can be surprisingly high. Passive House design principles achieve a positive balance between the solar gains and losses through windows. Our clients are well aware of the positive energy balance we have naturally incorporated into our designs and are reaping the benefits of this.

In 2012, our first Certified Passive House project (the first in the region), a new-build family home in Carrigaline, was selected as a Finalist in the Green Building Awards, in the category of ‘Green Residential Building Award’.

In 2016, a further two, fully Certified Passive House dwellings were completed, one in West Cork, overlooking the Roaring Water Bay and the other in Cork City. Both dwellings received an A1 BER rating.

We were again selected as a finalist in the Green Awards for 2013. The selected project was Bresnan’s Butchers in Douglas Village Shopping Centre, which involved the reconstruction of a severely damaged Butcher’s shop following the June 2012 flood. A number of key areas were identified where, through careful design consideration, the energy efficiency, air quality, comfort levels and ecologically friendly cleaning approaches in such a facility could be significantly improved. Extensive use of thermal bridge modelling and a holistic approach to cold room integration, low energy lighting and thermal capacity of ground floor slabs brought the design and performance of this Butcher’s shop to Passive House levels of performance. The building energy performance of the unit since the renovation has been significantly improved, with the overall unit thermal envelope loads reducing by 82%.

Enerphit – The Passive House Certificate for Retrofits

We can tailor-fit solutions to meet the less onerous PH Enerphit criteria, for the upgrade of existing buildings to meet passive house retrofit standards.

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Cork City Passive House Rain Chain

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West Cork Passive House

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Burren House