Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Week 9 Blog Assignment 2 - Case Studies

This week, the students were assigned their second blog assignment, which is to provide a critical review of a passive house built anywhere in the world. We have a number of case studies from last years class including:
So this year, the students will produce another set of passive house case studies. The passive house database is a good starting point.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Week 8 Passive House Windows and Doors Prezi

Here is the Prezi version of today's lecture. Check Moodle for details on a virtual webinar that is taking place this evening on 'Designing Plant for Passive House', which should be worth a look.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Week 8 Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation Systems Pre-Lecture Resources

Unfortunately, David McHugh of ProAir will not be able to make it in this week but is hoping to make it in next week. This will give us an opportunity to go through the basics of passive windows and doors and heat recovery ventilation systems in class. Have a look at my previous post to refresh your memory on passive windows and doors. Last week, we did mention blower door testing during Tom O'Dwyer's guest lecture. Passipedia has an excellent section on ventilation and why it recommends the exhaust fan system. Michael Hayes of RVR Technology provides a nice introduction to mechanical heat recovery ventilation systems in the videos below.

And check out Bill Butcher's discussion the their selected ventilation system on the Denby Dale Project.
We will have the opportunity to listen to another guest speaker on Tuesday because Aidan Malone will be giving a talk to the 4th-year architectural students on the design and sustainability strategy of the GMIT library in 1041 at 12.30 followed by a tour of the library and we have been invited to tag along.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Week 7 Airtightness Post Guest Lecture Resources

Many thanks to Tom O'Dwyer (in the photographs below) from SIGA who gave an excellent talk and demonstration of airtightness considerations when using different construction methods and materials to the M.Sc. students and final-year Architecture students.

Please refer to my previous blog post for some more detailed information on airtightness and SIGA products. Have a look at this article which discusses the importance of airtightness from a Passive House point of view. The Energy Saving Trust in the UK have produced nice guidelines on improving airtightness in dwellings that is worth a look and of course our own Department of the Environment, Local Community and Government has produced a document on air infiltration and thermal bridging as a supplement to the Building Regulations. Gavin O'Shea of GreenBuild has also produced an excellent document on blower door testing for passive houses. See below the video shown in class on how to carry out a blower door test.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Week 7 Passive House Airtightness and Windows Pre-Lecture Resources

I am really looking forward to having two guest lectures in this week: Tom O'Dwyer from SIGA and Thomas O'Reilly from SmartWin. SIGA have a host of resources on their website including a dedicated YouTube channel. I especially like the comic they produced 'Building Damage Horror..and how to prevent it'. They have also developed a 'construction feature' section where you can click into different applications that will link the product information to installation videos. SIGA were recently involved in the construction of the Irish Rail Train Drivers Building in Portlaoise. SmartWin have recently received their passive certification for their window products. For more information on Passive Windows check out Passipedia and the videos developed by Energyquarter in Ireland and the Green Building Store in the UK.

The 3D detail was produced by Gerard Nicholson as part of a REVIT Summer Competition in GMIT.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Week 6 Site Visit to Timbertech Homes and Ecological Building Systems

Yesterday, we had a fantastic day out visiting a Timbertech Homes development in Straffan, Co. Kildare and Ecological Building Systems in Athboy, Co. Meath. Fergal O'Malley of Timbertech Homes gave us an excellent talk and tour of a timber frame house development consisting of 3 different house types (photographs 1 & 2). He highlighted the main considerations that were taken into account when aiming for low energy construction on a competitive budget.

Photographs 1 and 2  Fergal O'Malley giving his talk to the M.Sc. Environmental System students

 Fergal was ably assisted by Peter Smyth of Ecological Building Systems who came out to the site to discuss the importance of airtightness on site and discuss some of the airtight details that were used on this project (Photographs 3, 4 and 5).

Photographs 3, 4, 5  Airtightness detailing on Timbertech Homes Development

This site visit was followed up by a visit to Ecological Building Systems new training centre, which is a fantastic addition to the knowledge base in Ireland. The centre is still under construction and is due for its official launch in the new year but we got a sneak preview. Niall Crossan, as always (photograph 6) gave us and excellent overview of the different materials and building systems currently available, particularly focusing on airtightness, thermal performance and the control of moisture both in new building and refurbishment projects.

Photograph 6  Niall Crossan of Ecological Building Systems giving his talk to the M.Sc. students

The learning centre has an excellent array of large (photographs 7 and 8) and small detail sections (photographs 9 and 10) as well as a fully kitted house to demonstrate a preliminary airtightness test using the Wincon apparatus (photographs 11 and 12). 

Photographs 7 and 8 showing the large detail sections on show in the Ecological Building Systems Training Centre

Photographs 9 and 10 showing the small detail sections on show in the Ecological Building Systems Training Centre

Photographs 11 and 12 showing the Wincon House

All-in-all, it was a great day out for all the students. Many thanks to Fergal, Peter and Niall for all their help.

Monday, November 7, 2011

International Passive House Open Days 2011

This week is International Passive House Open Day week, where passive houses across the world open their doors to the general public. I am delighted to report that there are a number of houses open around Ireland. Cyril Mannion of Passive House Builders is hosting an open day on Saturday the 12th of November at two of his projects, in Athenry and Salthill. Both are well worth a look.

Week 6 Airtightness and Thermal Imaging Pre-Lecture Resources

In preparation to our site visit to Timbertech Homes Ltd. and Ecological Building Systems on Wednesday, please have a look at the previous posts on airtightness from earlier in the module and from last year's visit by Peter Smyth of Ecological Building Systems. Also, Passipedia has a nice concise section on airtight construction. This article also gives a detailed overview of airtight construction and testing and don't forget the guidelines issued by the Department of the Environment, Communities and Local Government. Energyquarter have also put together a nice two-minute video of the basic principles involved starring Niall Crossan of Ecological Building Systems.