Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation Systems

The Denby Dale case study in the UK used a Paul MHRV system, which is 92% efficient. The unit was located in the garage and a rigid galvanised ductwork system was used throughout the house utilising the timber I-beam construction.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guest Lecture - Peter Smith of Ecological Building Systems

Many thanks to Peter Smith of Ecological Building Systems who gave a very informative talk to the students on Year 3 of the B.Sc. in Construction Management and B.Sc. in Quantity Surveying and the M.Sc. in Environmental Systems. He outlined the principles of building tight and ventilating right, highlighting the advantages of using the Pro Clima Intello Plus membranes as well as the various other airtight products available including Solitex Plus membrane, Tescon Profil tape, Orcon F adhesive, Contega PV sealing tape, Roflect grommets and Duplex tape. The WUFI software was used to illustrate the how it can be used to measure: the drying time of masonry with trapped construction moisture; the danger of interstitial condensation; the influence of driving rain on exterior building components; the effect of repair and retrofit measures and the hygrothermal performance of roof and wall assemblies under unanticipated use or in different climate zones.

He also outlined the advantages of natural insulation materials that are hydroscopic e.g. Gutex insulation products. He also discussed the difficulties on the ground of trying to refurbish to the passive standard. Ecological Building Systems have produced a series of videos providing a step-by-step walkthrough of the installation procedures of making a building airtight.

Again many thanks to Peter!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Low Carbon Construction in the UK

The Morrell Report published in November 2010 sets out the challenge faced by the UK Construction Industry in contributing to a future low carbon economy.

Another excellent publication discussing zero carbon is Redefining Zero by Simon Sturgis and Gareth Roberts.

ModCell at EcoBuild 2011

One of the more interesting construction techniques on display at EcoBuild 2011 was the ModCell concept. This concept takes the use of straw and hemp and combines it with modern methods of construction to provide innovation solutions for both residential and non-residential buildings.
The BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials at the University of Bath have been carrying out a fantastic research project into the use of these materials as potential future building solutions to achieve zero carbon construction. Their website contains excellent resources including videos and image galleries on the research done so far and is well worth checking out. It would be interesting to apply this concept to Passive House Design and Construction as it would certainly help to lower the associated embodied energy of the construction process.

Site Visit to Passive House Project in Galway

Earlier this morning, Cyril Mannion of Passive House Builders hosted an excellent and very informative site visit for the students taking the Passive House Design and Construction module on the M.Sc. in Environmental Systems at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. The site visit consisted of a tour of a passive house project currently under construction in Salthill in Galway.

Many thanks to Cyril and please note that there was no construction activity today on site; hence the lack of hard hats on heads!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lohan Joinery at EcoBuild 2011

Lohan Joinery, a local company based in Carnmore also had stand at EcoBuild 2011, which was very busy over the three days.

Ecological Building Systems at EcoBuild 2011

Great to see a number of Irish companies displaying their wares at EcoBuild 2011. Ecological Building Systems had an excellent stand and were very busy over the three days.

They have also produced a series of excellent videos outlining the installation procedures for their Intello Plus membranes (click on the 'installation' tab to access the videos). Niall Crossan of Ecological Building Systems has kindly agreed to give a guest lecture on airtightness to the students on the M.Sc. in Environmental Systems and B.Sc. in Construction Management/Construction Economics and Quantity Surveying on the 24th of March, so we are looking forward to that.

Reflections on EcoBuild 2011

Just returned from excellent EcoBuild 2011, held this year in the massive ExCel Conference Centre in London. The interest in Passive House design and construction has really exploded this year and it was a constant theme throughout all the displays, seminars and conference presentations. The highlight was the presence of the man himself, Wolfgang Feist, who gave an overview of the international development of the passive house concept on Thursday.

Adam Tilford from the BRE outlined the background to the development of 22 new UK climate data sets, which highlighted the importance of considering the micro climates that exist in the UK (and Ireland). These datasets are due for release (free of charge!) in the next month or so. The BRE also managed to get an interview with Professor Feist after his presentation.