Many of us grew up in traditional homes designed using old building technologies in Ireland. Today it’s now possible to create living spaces that are exceptionally well insulated such that natural sunlight is enough to keep your home warm and comfortable all year round. Passive heating can massively reduce your energy costs and transform your living experience. And while it may not always be easy to achieve full passive heating in an older home, you may be able to reap much of the benefits in a new home extension.
How Passive Heating Works
Passive heating is firstly about patching up the ‘leaks’ in your home. That is, identifying areas where heat can escape. Once this is achieved, you can then look at natural heating such as solar gain as a source of free heat energy. To ‘plug those leaks’, the first step is to insulate. Attic insulation comes first since heat rises and this is followed by insulating the walls. Most homes in Ireland today have some degree of insulation in the attic. Some have wall insulation to some extent. However, it’s amazing how much heat can still escape from seemingly tiny gaps.
The next step in plugging those leaks is to improve airtightness. Your design and build team will install an airtight membrane throughout the building. Using testing equipment, they will identify areas where heat can still escape through walls, windows, doors and attic spaces. They will then plug that up so that your home becomes draught-proof. Cold chills can become a thing of the past.
If you have south-facing windows in your home, you may get all the heat you need during the day. For example, with an open-plan living space and large windows built with modern materials (such as highly insulated triple glazed windows), your highly insulated, airtight home will store up that natural heat. And you may only need a very small amount of heating in the evenings to keep things comfortable.
A Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificate helps to classify your home’s energy efficiency. It rates a home from an A1 Rating to a G rating. A G-rated home has virtually no insulation aside from its bare walls and roof. An A-rated home can be quite difficult to achieve through a renovation as you are working with a pre-existing structure. It’s much easier to achieve an A rating with a house built from scratch using all the modern technologies and materials. However, anything above a B2 rating is excellent and will feel extremely comfortable even in the worst of our Irish weather. Despite the challenge, we have achieved an A-rating on many renovations.