Archive for Energy

Where to Go When Things Get Green


There are many resources available online to promote sustainable building products, materials and construction techniques. We have reviewed some of them and these are the ones that we have found to be more helpful.




Greenspec logoGreenSpec is the foremost ‘Green Building’ resource in the UK. Independent of companies and trade bodies and launched in 2003 with government funding, GreenSpec promotes sustainable building products, materials and construction techniques.


BRE Green Guide to Specification

bre logoThe Green Guide is part of BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) an accredited environmental rating scheme for buildings in UK. The Green Guide contains more than 1500 specifications used in various types of building. The Green Guide is primarily developed to provide building architects and specifiers environmental impact information to support the material/product specification and selection process.


Architects Journal – Footprint


‘Footprint’ is the sustainability hub of this UK’s best-selling weekly architecture magazine. Topics range from Green News to Green Buildings and Green Products.


Passive House +

logoPHPPassive House Plus is an Irish innovative sustainable magazine about Passivhaus, Passive House technology and more. Articles range from Project cases to Part L – Building Regulations and Product News.



Building4changing logoBuilding4change is an online knowledge hub, dedicated to sustainability, innovation and best practice in the built environment.


Zero Carbon Hub

Zero_Carbon_Hub_logo2Its primary aim is to support the mainstream delivery of low and zero carbon homes in England. Their website provides  guidance and information through publications. It also highlights building profiles with tested innovative solutions.



From Wood to Energy

The Monastery of Klosterneuburg in Austria provides a fantastic example of autonomy, sustainability and a responsibility to both people and nature.

Their biomass heating plant was part of the Renewable Energy Research Trip to Austria.

This underground biomass heating plant built in just twelve months in 2003 not only supplies heating to the monastery but also provides power from renewable biomass to the hospital, the town hall and a leisure center in Klosterneuburg via the utility company.

The plant gets the wooden chips mainly from 4 forest districts nearby the plant (maximum transport distance 10km). The chip containers are filled every 2-3 months.

A 2.5 MW biomass boiler was constructed as well as an electricity and heat generation by an ORC (organic rankine cycle) process producing 200 kW of electrical energy and 1.0 MW of heat. The big boiler (2.5MW) is only used during winter time.

The assessment of the heating requirements of the monastery and of the neighbouring recreational centre “Happyland” resulted in an annual heat requirement of 11,550 MWh per year. In 2010 the biomass plant was able to produce 17,557MWh (see more facts on the images below).

More details about the operation of this biomass plant here.

The entire facility (heating plant, biomass storehouse, wine cellar, parking garage for buses and private vehicles) was built underground. This was a special challenge for the mechanical engineering team and the architectural concept was designed by Heinz Tesar.

 Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass PlantStift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

Access to the underground biomass plant

Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

The wood chips were quite warm to the touch

Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

Hatch from where the chips are unloaded

2011_11_23_Smart City Project Klosterneuburg (25) 2011_11_23_Smart City Project Klosterneuburg (30) 2011_11_23_Smart City Project Klosterneuburg (36) 2011_11_23_Smart City Project Klosterneuburg (37)

Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

Organic Carbon cycle

Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

From the forest to the heating plant

Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

Biomass power generation process

Insulation Materials – All You Need to Know

It is easy to get confused when selecting insulation materials. There are different types of insulation, each with different forms and shapes, and a range of different properties.

Thermal properties are the primary consideration in choosing insulations.

The insulation material you choose depends on:

–  how you will use it,

–  where you will use it (there are recommended U-values for different areas of the building fabric, see below Diagram 1 from Part L of the Irish Building Regulations),

– and how much you are willing to spend.


We want to share with you two of our favourite articles/websites with helpful and unbiased information:

1 – What’s the best insulation material to use in eco renovation? by David Thorpe, and available in SuperHomes.

2 – Insulation materials 1 – Introduction by GreenSpec.


On these websites you can find answers to specific questions like:

Why should I insulate and where?

Which form of insulation material is best to use where?

How much insulation do I need?

What is the best insulation for health and climate?

Which is the best insulation for cost by volume?

What is the best insulation material for thermal performance?


You can also find detailed information about the properties of the different types of insulation:

Insulation materials 2: Plant / animal derived

Insulation materials 3: Mineral

Insulation materials 4: Oil-derived


In Ireland, Part L of the Irish Building Regulations deals with the conservation of fuel and energy. Part L is a complex and important regulation that provides guidance to ensure a better energy performance.

Diagram 1 of Part L summarises the minimum fabric insulation standards applicable in Ireland.

Part L - Irish Building Regulations - Fabric U-values


If you are still confused after reading all this information please contact us  before you make costly decisions. We can review your existing conditions, discuss options and make recommendations to improve the energy performance of your building in a sustainable and cost effective way.

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