An Teach Glas

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High Performance Zero Carbon Passive House

Low Carbon Construction

As more and more buildings become zero energy building (no energy is required to run them), the energy used in creating the building becomes a substantial contributor to CO2 emissions. Design stage is where many materials are selected and a huge influence can be made in the embodied energy in the building and also the carbon sequestering of the materials. To ensure that the construction of the building is as low carbon as possible the following measures are undertaken:

  • Low energy embodied materials are selected above materials that are energy intensive to manufacture e.g. timber instead of steel.
  • Renewable materials are chosen over materials that deplete natural resources e.g. trees are replanted once felled for building, thereby not depleting the natural resources.
  • Local materials are chosen over similar imported materials e.g. the less the material has to be transported the less CO2 emissions it will generate.
  • Materials that are recycled, especially if they offer carbon sequestering are encouraged e.g. recycled newspaper insulation.
  • Finishes that continue to absorb CO2 even after they are installed will be encouraged e.g. Grass Roofs.
  • Material are finished so that they can easily be “recycled” as opposed to “down-cycled”. The problem with advanced manufacturing is that many primary materials get combined, therefore when they go for recycling they cannot easily be returned to their primary state e.g. leave aluminum mill finished so that the paints do not dilute strength of aluminum when it is being recycled.
  • The main contractor and subcontractors are encouraged to reduce energy used in running their operations e.g. energy efficient transport and pooling transport.
  • Suppliers are encouraged to monitor their own energy use and the embodied energy in their products as part of the tender process.
  • Systems and products that are exemplar are used even if they have to be transported from abroad. The purpose for this is to encourage and educate the Irish industry with the aim of producing these systems/products locally e.g. external rendered woodfibre insulation.

* Thanks to Miles Sampson Architects for compiling all of the above information.

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