Isabel Barros Architects - Blog

design + energy + excellence

Isabel’s Picks for Summer 2019


Explore the options

Isabel's Summer Picks 2019. BIO-FIREPLACE, Planika Pyramid Commerce, bio-ethanol, Ballymount Fireplaces, FOLDING SHUTTERS, Renson Cilium, Mojow, YOKO Inflatable sofa, SOLAR SHOWER, Arkema Dada.


Manufacturer: Planika

Name: Planika Pyramid Commerce

Price range: €1997

Material: Casing – fibreglass polyester laminate white gloss (RAL 9010), glass tube. Burner – stainless steel.

Key features: Fuel – bio-ethanol. Portable unit. No smell / no ash / no smoke. For outdoor / indoor use. Eco-friendly.

Heat output: 1,7 kW / 5733,8 BTU

Available in Ireland from:  Ballymount Fireplaces


Manufacturer: Renson

Name: Cilium® 

Price range: n/a

Material: Aluminium

Key facts: Rustproof. Available in anodized or powder coated versions. Cilium® is powered by 230V motor and belt-drive system.

Available in Ireland from:  Renson


Manufacturer: Mojow

Name: YOKO | Inflatable sofa

Price range: €399

Material: Frame – Black Aluminum. Inflatable Plastic (PVC) Seat.

Key facts: Suitable For Indoor or Outdoor Use. UV protection.

Available to Ireland from:  Archiproducts


Manufacturer: Arkema

Name: Dada

Price range: n/a

Material: Aluminum

Key facts: 40 l capacity. Solar powered.

Available to Ireland from: Arkema


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What’s All the Fuss About the Revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

The amendment of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is one of the most important changes that has occurred in the EU buildings sector in the last 16 years.

Under the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD):

  • EU countries will have to establish stronger long-term renovation strategies, aiming at decarbonising the national building stocks by 2050, and with a solid financial component.
  • A common European scheme for rating the smart readiness of buildings, optional for Member States, will be introduced.
  • Smart technologies will be further promoted, for instance through requirements on the installation of building automation and control systems and on devices that regulate temperature at room level.
  • E-mobility will be supported by introducing minimum requirements for car parks over a certain size and other minimum infrastructure for smaller buildings.
  • EU countries will have to express their national energy performance requirements in ways that allow cross-national comparisons.
  • Health and well-being of building users will be promoted, for instance through an increased consideration of air quality and ventilation.

Other requirements under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive include:

  • All new buildings must be nearly zero-energy buildings by 31 December 2020.
  • Energy performance certificates must be issued when a building is sold or rented, and they must also be included in all advertisements for the sale or rental of buildings.
  • EU countries must establish inspection schemes for heating and air conditioning systems or put in place measures with equivalent effect.
  • EU countries must set cost-optimal minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings, for the major renovation of existing buildings, and for the replacement or retrofit of building elements (heating and cooling systems, roofs, walls and so on).
  • EU countries must draw up lists of national financial measures to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

What is the challenge?

  • The Commission reached an agreement that includes a binding energy efficiency target for the EU for 2030 of 32.5%.
  • The risk of the directive being ineffective is high if countries and local authorities do not enforce it correctly.
  • Around 200 million buildings need to be renovated. EU countries must make energy efficient renovations to at least 3% of the total floor area of buildings owned and occupied by central government.
  • EU governments should only purchase buildings which are highly energy efficient.
  • EU countries must draw up long-term national building renovation strategies which can be included in their National Energy Efficiency Action Plans.
  • Member states are to provide for set system requirements in respect to installation, sizing, adjustment and controls. This applies to heating systems, hot water, air conditioning and large ventilation systems.
  • Cost optimal performance – the integration between cost optimality and high performance technical solutions underpins the deployment of NZEBs.

A Contemporary Composition Using Traditional Forms in Wexford

The site presents a south-facing slope offering open views in a rural landscape. A big tree dominates the northern boundary of the site and the design is strongly related to it.

The neighbouring buildings are dwelling houses with one or two storeys and gable roofs. There are also some farm buildings with corrugated metal near the site.

The Burra Charter

Concept Design

The design aims to create a contemporary composition using traditional forms. The proposal is inspired by the rural location and the traditional single-storey farmhouses with extended layout.

Traditional Farmhouses – Extended Layout
The Burra Charter

Our proposal is for a house that is shaped around the site contours to respect its topography and reduce the visual impact. The proposed gable roofs follow the traditional shapes whilst establishing a visual relationship with the neighbouring houses.

The house is modest in scale and exhibits the simple and functional form of vernacular buildings in Ireland. The projections to south also emulate the traditional lobby-entry protruding from the main house.

A simple palette of materials is proposed – white rendered surfaces and grey/terracotta corrugated metal. The materials aim to connect cultural values with a contemporary built environment.


The house aims to be a ‘Nearly zero-energy building’ (nZEB), this means a building that has a very high energy performance.

The preliminary specifications indicate a Building Energy Rating (BER) of A2 corresponding to an Energy Value of 46.64 KWh/m2/yr. The calculations show an energy performance coefficient (EPC) of 0.273, and a carbon performance coefficient (CPC) of 0.278.

The house is designed and orientated to maximise passive solar gain and natural lighting.

See more animations here.

Do you have a similar project? Talk to us today!

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