Isabel Barros Architects - Blog

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Isabel Explains the Concept and Materials of Project Net Zero Home

MEDITE SMARTPLY kindly shared with us the video they prepared featuring our Passive House in Crossabeg – Project Net Zero Home.

Project Net Zero Home is an exemplar new-build house project which aims to achieve Net Zero Carbon utilising MEDITE SMARTPLY products.

The project demonstrates how we can reduce both operational carbon and embodied carbon by using the right products and materials.

Passive House Concept

This house was guided by the Passive House standard, the world‘s leading standard in energy efficient construction. It embodies quality, comfort, and remarkable energy efficiency.

The Passive House – definition

Passive Houses maintain a consistent, comfortable temperature throughout the year with minimal energy usage. These structures achieve this by utilizing passive heating methods, optimizing sunlight exposure, leveraging internal heat sources, and employing heat recovery systems, often eliminating the need for traditional heating systems even in harsh winters.

Fabric First Approach

The technical design was focused on fabric efficiency and airtightness.

This project involved meticulous attention to detail in perfecting the building fabric and selecting materials. Each component, from insulation materials to walls, roofs, and floors, was carefully chosen to align with our sustainability goals. The focus was on optimizing energy efficiency as a means to reduce carbon emissions.

Materials

The Project Net Zero Home prioritized the use of wood as a construction material of the future, recognizing its ability to effectively sequester carbon. This included the use of timber products manufactured in Ireland from FSC® certified forests managed by Coillte (MEDITE SMARTPLY PROPASSIV system).

The project aimed to use materials with lower carbon intensities and lower transport-related carbon emissions. Other materials were used for their recyclability at the end of their lifecycle, their performance during use, and their long-term durability.

Airtight and Thermal Bridge Free Design

Airtightness is an important requirement for any energy-efficient building.

The SMARTPLY Propassiv board was instrumental in achieving outstanding airtightness results. Engineered with airtightness in mind, this board offers an integrated vapour barrier which eliminates the need for for additional AVCL (Air and Vapour Control Layer) membranes. It significantly simplifies and streamlines the construction process, enhancing the overall efficiency on site.

Attention to detail and having a construction team working together were also vital to achieve good air tightness results.

One of the main principles of a Passive House design is to achieve a thermal bridge free construction. Therefore, thermal bridges were carefully assessed when designing the thermal envelope, and some had to be assessed using 2D and 3D software.

Building Systems and Passive Systems

This project employed a range of advanced building systems, including the integration of renewable technologies, to ensure optimal performance and sustainability.

A combination of passive strategies, including strategically designed canopies and blinds, played a crucial role in enhancing energy efficiency and comfort. These elements were integrated to maximize shade during summer months, preventing overheating, while allowing ample sunlight in the winter, thereby reducing the need for active heating and cooling systems.


Energy Efficiency Evaluation

The air tightness test returned the impressive result of 0.19 air changes per hour. This is lower than any passive house currently in the Passive House database for Ireland.

The energy balance of the house design was tested using the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP). The Passive House energy threshold for heating is 15 kWh/(m²yr). The heating demand as calculated by the PHPP is 12.7 kWh/(m²yr) for this house.

The house achieved a Building Energy Rating (BER) of A1.


You can learn more details about this project here.


Discover Our Expert Consultations

You’ve asked, and we’ve answered.

We’ve received so many requests for consultations from dreamers, homeowners, and prospective buyers that we’ve now created a dedicated page on our website for this purpose!

Discover our consultation services here.

  • Pre-Purchase Consultation – Considering buying a house? Get the eyes of an expert to evaluate its potential and uncover hidden gems or potential pitfalls.
  • Design Review – This service provides an honest expert second opinion about a design that may have been drawn by you, a builder or another designer. We’ll review your drawings, point out areas of concern, and provide suggestions for how to improve the design.
  • Advice On Planning Issues – Navigating the complexities of Planning Regulations can be a daunting task. This consultation is designed to provide you with expert guidance and solutions.
  • Pre-Design Advice – This consultation offers expert guidance to set a strong foundation for your project. It provides a site assessment, idea exploration, possible planning constraints, discussion on sustainability and energy efficiency considerations, budget planning, etc.
  • Advice On Building Regulations – Understanding the intricacies of Building Regulations can be challenging; this consultation aims to provide expert insights and effective strategies in this domain.
  • Advice On Conservation Issues – Applies to historic/old buildings and protected structures. It offers expert advice on best conservation practices and techniques topreserve your heritage assets.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

“Architecture & Design Firm of the Year” Award Two Years in a Row

We are thrilled to announce that Isabel Barros Architects has been awarded the title of Ireland’s Architecture & Design Firm of the Year for the second time in the prestigious Corporate LiveWire Global Awards.

The Corporate LiveWire Global Awards recognize businesses and individuals who have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields. The awards are judged by an independent panel of industry experts who evaluate nominees based on their innovation, quality of service, and overall performance.

The Corporate LiveWire judging panel looks first at whether the business or firm is providing the best in its particular field in terms of quality, efficiency and delivery. The panel takes into consideration the expertise and specialisation of the individuals within the team, the client portfolio and the experience gained from representing these clients, as well as any recent notable achievements.

The judging panel was particularly impressed by the flexibility of Isabel’s architectural services; working on a huge variety of different homes and buildings while always maintaining the same level of expertise and excellence. The judges also acknowledged the humanist and environmental approach adopted across all designs.

Read our feature page in the annual 2022/23 Global Awards publication:

This prestigious recognition reflects our unwavering commitment to innovation, excellence, and sustainable design practices. We are beyond thrilled to share this exciting news!

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