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Official magazine of EascaEasca
Eamon Ryan's eco upgrade E-mail
Tuesday, 15 November 2011

a model showing the design of the upgraded house, with the extension configured as a kitchen/family room and utility space
A model showing the design of the upgraded house, with the extension configured as a kitchen/family room and utility space


Victoria paints an unappealing picture of the house before the renovation. "It was absolutely freezing. I had to wear a coat all winter."

It's far more comfortable following the renovation. "There's so little need for a heating system," she says. The house's main heat source is a gasifying log boiler. But Victoria says the smaller wood stove in the kitchen is enough to provide much of the house's heat.

"The stove heats the house, it's absolutely incredible. The insulation is incredible in the house, it's just so warm."

But despite their energy inefficiency, Victoria was insistent on keeping the house's open fireplaces. "They're an intrinsic period feature and I wouldn't get rid of them on aesthetic grounds."

She was also excited about having an outdoor studio — well away from the main house — where she could work. The green-roofed outbuilding is at the very bottom of the garden, close to the River Dodder.

She's particularly impressed by the performance of the solar thermal collectors. "The solar panels are just absolutely amazing. You just think everybody should have solar panels. You have piping hot water the whole time." A keen gardener, she's also happy to have an abundant supply of harvested rainwater.

Set down near the banks of the River Dodder, the timber frame studio is sufficiently detached and secluded from the main house, located at the bottom of the garden. A sedum roof further helps it to blend in with its green surroundings
Set down near the banks of the River Dodder, the timber frame studio is sufficiently detached and secluded from the main house, located at the bottom of the garden. A sedum roof further helps it to blend in with its green surroundings


Eamon recognizes that such an extensive upgrade can mean an expensive initial outlay, but he says that when you plan to live in a house for the next 20 years, the economics makes sense in the long run.

"We've got a smart meter and one of the things I've noticed is how that changes your behaviour," he adds. "You start to be conscious of how you're using energy."

"You also become aware that there's the underlying use of electricity in the house. You start thinking: 'How can I really switch everything off?'”



 

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