A Striking Passive House Mornington
Detached 5 Bed Passivhaus residence approx 298 m2
With its asymmetrical shape, this beautiful five-bedroom house in Mornington, Co. Meath presented real construction challenges, which were overcome with expertise and ingenuity.
This building meets the specific certified building standards set by the Passivhaus Institut in Germany, meaning that it employs the highest levels of energy efficiency, insulation, and airtightness to maintain a comfortable climate with the minimum of energy input, particularly from fossil fuels. Usually these exacting requirements are achieved by minimising the building’s footprint and the number of corners and junctions; but this house has a cantilevered upper storey, a large floor-plan, and large sliding panels which open the ground floor to the exterior.
A Challenge Calls for a Champion
The solution adopted by GEM Construction was to appoint an ‘airtightness champion’ on site, whose task was to ensure that all employees and subcontractors understood the importance of the Passive House standards, to ensure the house’s airtightness. As a result of this careful approach the house successfully achieves the Passivhaus standard for airtightness, which is defined as 0.6 h-1 @ 50 Pa; this means that the air is changed at the rate of 0.6 air changes per hour, under test conditions (which require a pressure differential of 50 Pascals when subject to a “blower door” air tightness test).
Renewable Energy and Natural Materials
- With larch cladding, the house has structural glazing to the kitchen/diner, which can be opened (on the south side of the house) with mono and treble lift and slide thermally broken aluminium doors.
- Aluclad windows are used elsewhere.
- The house is heated by a perimeter heating loop linked to floor thermostats to compensate for the heat loss near the structural glazing.
- All the hot water and heat in the house comes from the rooftop solar array and a Brunner wood burning stove.
- The heating system meets the Passivhaus standard for heat loss, which is less than 15 kWh per square metre per year.
The architect, Patrick Lloyd, praised GEM Construction for their attention to detail in meeting the exacting standards of the house. “The standard of workmanship that was required in relation to airtightness on this build was incredible.”