I completed a 2 day workshop in Dublin last week organised through the SEAI in the use of the PHPP Application which is designed to help you to calculate the performance of the house in terms of energy efficiency with the aims of achieving the Passive House standard.
The Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) software is basically an Excel Spreadsheet with a load of hidden formulae & calculations. It needs a good level of expertise with Excel as you’ve an awful lot of data to fill into the system.
Anyhow, after 2 days of calculating, measuring and filling in values you get a few key results which give you the energy requirements of your house and if you’ve achieved the standard to get Passive House accreditation.
- Annual space heating requirement of 15kWh/m2a treated floor area
- The upper limit for total primary energy demand for space and water heating, ventilation, electricity for fans and pumps, appliances and lighting not exceeding 120kWh/m2a, regardless of energy source; and
- The air leakage test results must not exceed 0.6 air changes per hour using 50 Pascal over pressurisation and under pressurisation testing.
I think I am comfortable enough with the software to get a fairly good idea of the overall performance of our house design but the software will help us work out what difference certain types of insulation on the walls/ceiling/floor and window types will make.
I don’t know if we are going for the full Passive House standard and accreditation but we would like to get close enough as the principles and performance of the standard are worthwhile.
We received a letter in the post on the 9th of February from Clare County Council which confirmed the granting of Planning Permission for the house.
Thankfully the terms and conditions are all pretty standard and there is nothing too complicated or unusual in the requirements.
Now we have to get all our costs together and start planning the next phase of the building.. More updates will follow as we select suppliers for the build.
While we await the decision from Clare County Council we are moving along with costing the build of the house and have begun with the collection of quotes for suppliers of the various elements of the building.
We are looking at a possible Structured Insulated Panel construction with the main house structure constructed offsite and then assembled on-site. At present we are looking for suppliers who can provide this type of construction solution and to date we have contacted SIP (Structured Insulated Panels) manufacturers but we haven’t finalised on SIPs yet and still have to review the detailed costs.
Windows & glazing are a critical part of the house design and we are keen to find a supplier for the sliding doors from the dining room to patio area. We have a 4.8m opening and we want to get as much of the area to open while retaining a system that has good thermal performance and reliability. Ideally we want 3 panels with 2 sliding sections but have not found a satisfactory solution .. yet.
As our roof is pretty flat we are looking at some form of flat roof technology and we have contacted Bauder who have been helpful. We await quotes from suppliers on the roof system to see what is possible, affordable, functional, practical.
Other elements include concrete floors, home heating using geothermal and/or solar and/or something else, heat recovery & ventilation, rainwater recovery and wastewater systems.
Yes, the fun has well and truly begun.
Finally completed and submitted to Clare County Council in Ennis on 8th December 2011.
With the excellent support of David McGeown of Five-Seven Architects we have managed to put together a comprehensive proposal and application to Clare County Council for our house.
The Planning application has been registered on the Clare County Council website.