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EnerPHit
EnerPHit
While the principles of low energy building apply equally for new build and upgrades, the reality is that htting passive levels becomes much trickier when retrofitting. The Passive House Institute have taken this on board and created a retrofit standard that is ambitious but achievable.
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Official magazine of EascaEasca
EnerPHit E-mail
Wednesday, 01 February 2012

1960s Monkstown semi-d eco upgrade & extension

This EnerPHit refurbishment and extension of a two-storey semi-d in Monkstown, Co Dublin started out with green upgrade intentions under SEAI’s now defunct Low Carbon Homes programme. “The client wanted an exemplar building,” architect Joseph Little explains. “She wanted a building that was highly energy efficient and highly sustainable.” Following the demise of the short-lived grant programme midway through the project, it was decided instead to go the EnerPHit route. While the building methods essentially remained the same as proposed, the change of focus highlights significant differences between low carbon and passive house approaches.

1960s Monkstown semi-d eco upgrade & extension

“The Low Carbon Homes programme focused on U-values,” says Little. “We had low thermal bridge and excellent U-values but we realised when we went passive house that we had to have no thermal bridges – as measured from the outside – and excellent U-values.” Little’s approach also involved the specification of low carbon products, though EnerPHit does not impose any such restrictions on materials. The EnerPHit approach also introduced tough airtightness requirements to the project. “We were already going to an airtightness of one air change per hour [at 50 pascals pressure], but we now need to get to an airtightness below that,” he explains.

Proclima Wincon fan to help quality control on site prior to blower door testing
Proclima Wincon fan to help quality control on site prior to blower door testing

The most significant changes were those imposed by the more exacting approach to thermal bridges. The original plan, for example, had involved retaining floor joists and slinging insulation between them using a breather membrane. But with a passive approach, the timber becomes a weak thermal link, and the design team found that the only way of effectively dealing with the thermal bridge was to completely remove the floor and install EPS insulation beneath a new slab. While this approach involved increased waste, Little explains, it did save on labour.

Munster Joinery Future Proof PassiV windows sit proud of the wall to maintain a complete insulation layer
Munster Joinery Future Proof PassiV windows sit proud of the wall to maintain a complete insulation layer



 

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