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Green Home in Ireland

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Energy Smart Buildings

This series is primarily looking into the Building Energy Rating Certificate (BER) which is part on the Energy Performance of Buildings EU Directive. The aim of the Directive is to make the energy performance of a building transparent and available to potential purchasers or tenants. The BER is a check to see how good a building is at using energy and will measure how much energy and carbon the building will use or produce over a given year. The certificate is similar to the energy label for domestic electrical appliances, which rates the energy performance of the appliance from A to G. The BER covers energy use for space heating, water heating, ventilation and lighting, calculated on the basis of standard occupancy and is valid for 10 years from the date of its being issued The certificate is required at the point of sale or rental of a building, or on completion of a new building. The Building Energy Rating is an indication of the energy performance of a specific dwelling and is expressed as primary energy use per unit floor area per year. A Rated properties will tend to be the most energy efficient and will have the lowest energy bills.

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Energy Smart Buildings - PDF 423.19 KB |

Future Proofing our Existing Buildings

There are many benefits in making energy saving improvements in your home. These improvements can reduce your energy use, minimize moisture and condensation problems, limit outdoor noise and more importantly greenhouse gas emissions. Energy-saving renovations can improve your indoor air quality, humidity levels, and your overall comfort level. There are also a range of things that you can do to your house to improve the energy efficiency. For example simple changes like draght proofing doors and windows or blocking unused chimneys and more complex work like installing attic insulation or replacing your boiler.

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Green Homes

Ireland's construction industry has been busy over the last ten years. But has it been the case of constructing quantity but not quality? With the introduction of the building energy rating system people have become more aware of how efficient their homes are. It is possible now to build a house so efficient that it requires no space heating system at all. This type of house is known as a passive house and this standard is achieved by including very high levels of insulation, high performance windows, and a heat recovery ventilation system. However energy is not the only issue when thinking about constructing new houses. The effect on ecology, the water systems, the potential for pollution and available transport facilities are all issues that need to be considered.

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green homes - PDF 383.75 KB |

Solar Design

Your home's windows, walls, and floors can be designed to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. This is called passive solar design or climatic design. Unlike active solar heating systems, passive solar design doesn't involve the use of mechanical and electrical devices, such as pumps, fans, or electrical controls to move the solar heat. Today, the most advanced form of passive solar design has been translated into the Passive House standard. Interest in the Passive House standard has been developing considerably in Ireland over the last few years. This is apparent with the recent set up of the Irish Passive House Academy.

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Solar Design - PDF 432.2 KB |

Warmer Communities

When communities come together they can have a huge impact on how their environment is managed. This activity can bring communities closer together and build up 'Social Capital'. The Green Schools, green flag programme brings schools, both primary and secondary, and communities together to improve the environmental conditions within their neighbourhoods. The Energy Smart Community can enable communities to come together and pool resources to improve the energy efficiency of their homes

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Warmer Homes

In many areas in life we waste heat and power. However the systems that produce the heat and power themselves waste a considerable amount of energy. A ten year old boiler is typically about 60% efficient. That means that 40% of the power it uses is thrown away. An average coal and oil-fired electricity power plant is around 33% efficient which means 67% of the energy from the fossil fuel is never used but the fuel is still burnt and its carbon is emitted. There are new systems available that improve on this efficiency. Condensing boilers and combined heat and power systems are both designed to capture heat produced as a by-product and put it to better use. By replacing an old G rated boiler with a new high efficiency condensing boiler and improving your heating controls, you will significantly cut your home's carbon dioxide emissions and could save more than €200 a year. CHP is the combined production of heat and power in a single process. It takes advantage of the waste heat in the thermo-dynamic conversion and uses it for heating purposes. It therefore typically saves around 25% of the energy that would have been required to produce the electricity.

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Warmer Homes - PDF 406.43 KB |