The government should follow the lead of Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council and ensure that new homes and commercial buildings nationally are built to passive house standards, according to the Passive House Association of Ireland.
The standards, significantly more stringent than those currently imposed on builders by the Planning and Development Act, means offices and homes are up to 90% cheaper to heat.
The benefits of passive house technology were outlined yesterday at the opening of the German-Irish Passive House and Energy Efficient Buildings Conference being held in Dún Laoghaire.
Although sceptical at first, councillors adopted the standards a year ago in an amendment to the draft county development plan after seeing a passive home heated for less than the cost of running a toaster.
“We engaged with Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown councillors on foot of their development plan and organised visits to a passive house and made a presentation there,” said Shane Colclough, chairman of the association.
“The response was amazing. Some had regarded it as a German standard but when they saw the benefits they knew it was a no-brainer and there was huge cross-party support for it.”
Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown is the first local authority to adopt the passive standard. Others have been slow to follow suit. According to Mr Colclough, whichever minister is responsible for the environment in the next government needs to ensure it is rolled out nationally.
“It has been a proven technology for the past 25 years and can be applied to any building whether it is built of timber, logs, blocks, or concrete,” said Mr Colclough, adding that there is a vibrant community of passive designers and builders here in Ireland.
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