Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Week 5 External Walls and Roof Systems Post-Lecture Resources

Here the Prezi version of the lecture today. Enjoy!

Week 5 External Walls and Roof Systems Post-Lecture Resources

Today, we looked at a number of different systems both for external wall and roof systems. The excellent series of videos from the Green Building Store in the UK again provided an excellent comparative viewpoint using traditional construction methods.

The following 3D images of the external walls and roof details (developed by Gerard Nicholson) of the Denby Dale Passive House provide a nice summary.

We also had a look at alternative solutions such as Insulated Concrete Formwork and Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs) and what role they might play in the design and construction of a passive house. And just when you thought that external insulation was the solution to all your passive problems, Niall Crossan of Ecological Building Systems highlights some issues to watch out for.

Week 5 Blog Assignment 1

The first blog assignment will involve a critical review of an assigned paper in the area of Passive House Design and Construction. The following is the allocation:
1. Henrick Kolberg    
A Case Study on the Effects of Thermal Mass and Climate Change

2. Eimear Hassett 
Traditional, State of the Art, and Future Thermal Building Insulation Materials

3. Diarmuid O' Ceidigh
Impact of Thermal Bypass

4. Jan Gottsche      
Energy Saving Analysis on Thermal Mass Walls

5. John Carroll       
CEPHEUS Measurement Report on 100 Houses

6. Shay Walsh            
Achievable Concepts for Low Carbon Buildings

7. Kevin Cunningham
Primary Energy Implication of Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation System

I will post the blog post brief and rubric on Moodle.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 5 External Walls and Roof Systems Pre-Lecture Resources

This week we will have a look at a number of different thermal envelope options available, concentrating on external wall and roof systems. I refer to again to Energy Quarter's excellent video on the thermal envelope that was in the pre-lecture resources for week 3. The Passive House Institute also provide some useful guidance on thermal insulation requirements on different systems. Below is a video from the RTE programme 'About the House' hosted by Duncan Stewart, which highlights the use of recycled cellulose insulation in a timber frame house in Sligo.

Duncan has featured recycled cellulose insulation in a number of episodes.

Another system used in passive house design and construction is external wall insulation. Here Duncan (again!) looks at external insulation in a refurbishment project.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Week 4 Foundation Systems Post-Lecture Resources

In today's class, we looked at a number of different systems available for foundations, rising walls and ground floors. have produced an excellent video on this highlighting the importance of thermal bridge free design.

Some of the products mentioned by Tomas O'Leary to minimse thermal bridging included an aerated low U Value block e.g.  Quinnlite block (as used by Viking Homes). Another interesting element was for the insulated cantilevered solution for balcony construction. Foamglass was also introduced as a viable thermal break alternative to a standard block rising wall construction. We then looked at the Denby Dale project in the UK, which used traditional construction techniques to achieve the passive standard.

The 3D model was developed by Gerard Nicholson as part of an architectural competition we held in the Department of Building and Civil Engineering over the summer (2011).

Week 4 Foundation Systems Lecture

Following on from today's class, please find the presentation in Prezi for your viewing pleasure!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Week 4 Foundation Systems Pre-Lecture Resources

This week we are going to have a look at the different foundation systems on offer for a passive house approach. Interestingly, the recent revision of the Part L 2011 for residential buildings has reduced the elemental u-values for ground floors as outlined in Table1.

Table 1 Maximum elemental U-value (taken from Technical Guidance Document Part L 2011)

Where the source of space heating is underfloor heating, then a U-value of 0.15W/m2K should be satisfactory (Section from Part L 2011). From a thermal bridge viewpoint, Part L recommends referring to the Acceptable Construction Details and the guidance on limiting thermal bridging and air infiltration provided by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. A number of companies have developed some innovative solutions to providing a foundation with little or no thermal bridging, good air-tightness and good overall energy performance. Viking House and KORE have developed the passive slab which can deliver a U-value of 0.08W/m2K. Passive House Builders have developed their own solution (click into foundation to see detail) which has been successfully used on certified passive houses both in Athenry and Oranmore in County Galway. Aeroboard also provide the Supergrund system for passive house construction.

We will have a look at these systems as well as a few others on offer this week in class.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Launch of the PassiveHousePlans website

Cathal Spellman of E. Spellman and Associates has just launched their new website dedicated to their bespoke passive house designs providing construction costs and proposed heating cost per annum.

Week 3 The Building Fabric Post Lecture Resources

In today's class, we looked at the importance of the area:volume ratio and compactness and how this has a considerable influence on the heating energy demand of buildings. The Building Research Establishment (BRE) have produced a useful tool to calculate your area:volume ratios. To supplement our class discussion on passive solar design principles the SEAI have produced a useful guide Solar Homes Catch the Sun and the Low Carbon Homes Programme in the UK have produced a guide on Passive Solar Estate Layouts. The passipedia resource provides some more information on the thermal insulation building fabric and airtight layers that are required in a passive house.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Week 3 Passive House Thermal Envelope Pre-Lecture Resources

This week, we will focus on appropriate thermal envelope design and construction options for a passive house. Passipedia, the excellent passive house wiki provides an overview of the important concept of energy balance.

Passive Development Ltd. provides a nice short overview presentation on the passive house principles in the following short video.

EnergyQuarter and Tomas O'Leary have produced an excellent series of videos including this one on thermal envelope.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Week 2 Principles of Passive House

Week 2 dealt with an introduction to the principles of Passive House and its design and energy requirements. This was done in parallel with a critical analysis of the recently revised Technical Guidance Document Part L 2011. The lecture below outlines the approach we took, where the students had to prepare a 'cheat sheet' for Part L, which will act as a summary sheet throughout the module.

We also decided to bring the 'inner architect' out of the students by starting the design process in sketching a ground floor and first floor plan for a two-storey house. The design and specification is totally up the student and this will act as a learning platform where we can critically analyse different options available in designing and constructing a passive house. Here are some examples of the initial sketches.

Week 2 Setting up a Blog

For those of you who did not get your blog set up in class, have a look at this short video.

Try to have the blog set up for next week and also your Twitter account and send me a tweet @SitePass when you have done so. Next week, we will look at some sample blog posts that were submitted last year as part of their assessment.

M.Sc. class setting up module blogs and Twitter accounts

In week 2, the class are settung up their own individual blogs and Twitter accounts for future asssessments i.e. blog submissions, and as a learning resource. We are using 'Blogger' to set up the blogs and they will be all linked to the module blog 'SitePass'. The aim of the Twitter accounts (@SitePass) is to set up a community of practice outside the classroom. The 'Plain English' series provides a good starting point when trying to understand the use of blogs and Twitter.