Trish Dromey talks to the owners of a modern cottage in Co Clare
Not the typical traditional style stone fronted cottage you expect it to be, this home at Doonane in Tulla comes with an A2 energy rating and without central heating. Guiding this detached three-bed property at €385,000, Steve Symes of Green Valley Properties says it is amongst the most energy efficient dwellings being offered for sale in the country.
For the owners who built it in 2016, the A energy rating was all important.
“We had done house renovations and built a B2 energy rated property in 2005 , this time we wanted to build an A rated one,” says the owner, a vet who has since bought an electric car to plug into his A rated house. He researched the technology with the help of a chartered building surveyor, advising on energy efficiency.
“We discovered that we didn’t need central heating and have used high levels of insulation (150mm), heat recovery ventilation and triple glazed alu clad windows to keep the house warm.”
He says the heat recovery ventilation system keeps the house at 21 degrees: “we have a stove which brings it above that but we only use it when it’s really cold.”
In order for the HRV to work efficiently, the house has been sealed with an air tight mebrante. In addition to keeping the house warm, the owner says that the HRV also proves an inexpensive supply of water, keeping the temperature of a 150 litre tank at 55 degrees.
Going the whole way on energy efficiency, the owners also put eight photovoltaic panels on the roof. He says they make a big contribution to the electicity supply and work very well in the summer.
“My only regret is that we don’t get paid for the electricty we contribute to the grid,’’ he says, adding that the surplus is now being used by the electic car in which he has already travelled over 4,700km.
He says the electricity bills are low, but hasn’t yet worked out how much is being used by the the house and how much by the car.
Building the property in 2016, the owners bought a site of just under half an acre with an old cottage and planning permission for this one. “We knocked the cottage that had been built in the 1920s using some limestone from large properties which had been demolished in the area and we used this limestone for the frontage.”
The planning permission with the site was for a traditonal style cottage, as now built, with some high-tech energy saving features as well as a central integrated vacuum unit.
Every room on the ground floor has polished concrete flooring, which the owner says warms to the same temperature as the house and is also easy to maintain.
The central living space is a large L-shaped kitchen/ family room which has white contemporary gloss kitchen units with a breakfast bar and integrated appliances while the living area has a Fuego wood burning stove. There’s also a dining/sitting room with an additional electric heating panel, a study/ bedroom, a wet room and two small utility rooms, one for washing appliances and one for the HRV unit.
The style of the decor is contemporary and all the walls in the house are painted white. “We have used paintings to bring in colour,” explains the owner.
An open tread ash staircase leads to the first floor which has a tiled bathroom and three bedrooms — two with oak laminate flooring and one with carpet, a walk in wardrobe and an en suite.
In the garden there’s a wood shed and a two-storey detached outbuilding , which has a garage/workshop, a utility room and two first floor rooms.
Giving consideration to the environment, the owner has fitted a rainwater collection system to the garage in which he has also installed the electic charging port for his car. Located at the edge of Tulla village, within walking distance of schools and amenites, the property is around 18km from Ennis and 25km from Gort.
The owners are currently completing construction of their second A rated home, next door to this one, on a site with an old cottage they also demolished. It’s very similar to this one.
VERDICT: Stylish and very toasty home.