Newsletter #6
December 2012
Scandal bathroom floors leading to destructive insurance costs…

Why are not all wet-rooms (bathrooms, shower-rooms and utility-rooms) tanked and equipped with a floor-trap? How many millions are wasted on repairing water-damages in Ireland every year?

What is the authority, the competent, well-educated people at the NSAI doing about this? Why do they have to follow antiquated sub-standard British standards?

A floor-trap together with a simple tanking of all wet-rooms before the tiles are installed is all it takes to prevent future damages.

Micro heaters are now available!
The 200Watt Micro-heaters have finally arrived. In stock at the moment.
Please observe that this weak heater works in all high-performance Scandinavian Homes houses. It is too weak to make any difference in an ordinary house.
Ideal for heating one room. Example: a guest room that is rarely used.
Hang the micro heater on a screw near an electric socket and simply plug it in. Thermostatically controlled. 5 – 35°C.

1.2m cable. Measurements: length 365 × width 90 × height 76 mm.

Price: €35 incl.VAT

The office is manned most days, check with us. Come to pick up or we will post.

Cost to run with night saver:
Between 21.00 – 08.00
Around €0.25 - €0.40 per night


Update latest houses built 2012:
The year started off quite well with a passive Nordica 125 in East-Galway. Built with our new roof-truss and higher external wall. This gives an improved volume and floor area upstairs as well as another look externally with a little more wall above the windows. This was followed by a Hibernia 164 at the shore-line in Connemara.
Three houses in Sweden followed. On the very southern tip, quite near where the police-series Wallander was shot. Traditional for this area it was a standard Hibernia 138 with two dormers and extra high roof pitch to maximize the floor-area and to fit into the local scene. What we call super-passive wall in Ireland, 145+120+70= 335mm of insulation, is further improved to 145+145+70=360mm of insulation in the colder climate.  Then came a passive Hibernia and a custom design, both located quite near our factory in Lysekil.
Three passive Irish houses came next. A Nordica in Dublin with the new higher wall that extends the internal volume/floor area at small cost. Irish traditional gables were used on a Nordica built in Spiddal, Galway. The last Nordica 94 includes an L-extension.


Big interest in basic understanding of U-values:
To make good decisions, it is necessary to have some basic knowledge. The audience has shown great interest in the following slide from Lars Pettersson’s lecture about passive house design. Some engineers and architects know what U-values are, but how many have a feeling for how it works?

Look at some award-winning Irish houses presented in Clare county councils otherwise brilliant: “Rural design guide” Observe all the catch-words in the presentation:

“Some examples of award wining contemporary houses in the Irish countryside, illustrating well-considered design solutions (use of light, space, new building technologies) , for modern living requirements along with appropriate use of modern and vernacular materials within the particular context of their respective sites (siting, landscaping, proportions and massing). Each house illustrated has answered the criteria for their specific locations”.
No wonder that people are totally confused when the guidelines published by the authorities themselves seem so contradictory. Most of the recommended designs are very poor from a cost-performance and energy-performance point of view. We find it difficult to understand how some of these designs complement or fit in to the rural landscape of Ireland.

Cork county council rural design-guide is also excellent in part, but sometimes one wonders if they too live in a British time-capsule 100 years back down there. They claim under “Good construction”: 
“Slate continues very slightly over gable, with or without propriety edge trim”

i.e. they want us to build without protective eaves and gable overhang! Pretty? Maybe, but blatantly wrong. It invites water-penetration into the external walls and this is not good for any type of house, but for a well-insulated wall very serious problems can arise.

Pictured to the right. This house illustrates Cork County Councils idea of:

simple first principles with a view to developing more appropriate and well-mannered rural buildings”

Download the guideline here. Excellent about windows and many other aspects, quite suitable for other areas too. http://www.corkcoco.ie/co/pdf/578944050.pdf


Our point is not to attack the architects who designed these “modern” award-winning houses, or their owners, who hopefully live happily in their expensive design-houses. The point is that
the planning offices in some parts of Ireland refuse to allow house types that are sustainable and energy efficient and affordable in practice. All the talk in the world does not make huge wasteful architect-dreams perform any better, or prevent water-leaks emanating from hidden rain-gutters, flat roofs and non existing protective eaves.

The authorities and the profession in our field sounds a bit like the government and the banks a few years ago: “soft landing”, “sustainable growth”, “financial regulator second to none” -do you remember? Words lost their meaning because too few challenged the establishment and their description of the reality at the time.

Peter Lohr, our certified passive house architect is offering a special low-cost deal to Scandinavian Homes customers for a PHPP* calculation for their Scandinavian Homes Ltd - house or - design. A PHPP calculation is particularly important at the time of planning your home as it can help discover weaknesses in your design layout, especially in regards to the optimal orientation of the building and conditions on the site. It will also help you find out the exact heating load of your house, which then tells you the required capacity of your heating system in order to be able to heat your house on the coldest day of the year to 20°C.

But it can also be of enormous benefit after construction.If a PHPP analysis is done and if all requirements have been met, Peter will at no extra cost upload the data to the international passive house database. This can increase the resale value of a house substantially. A listing here is not to be confused with passive house certification, that would be the next optional step though.

The fee is €350 + VAT and exclusive to Scandinavian Homes houses. Of course a PHPP can be valuable for non-passive homes as well for evaluation of the performance and sizing of heating systems.

Contact Peter if you are interested in finding out more:
e-mail or phone: 091-447 120

Scandinavian Homes in the database, click on the image to view the entry

Scandinavian Homes Passive House in Kildare, ID1866
heating demand 15kWh/m²/yr
heating load 10W/m²
Scandinavian Homes Passive House in Celbridge, ID2725
heating demand 14kWh/m²/yr
heating load 9W/m²
Scandinavian Homes Passive House in Galway, ID1191
heating demand 6kWh/m²/yr
heating load 6W/m²
Scandinavian Homes Passive House in Galway, not built yet
heating demand 14kWh/m²/yr
heating load 9W/m²
* PHPP stands for Passive House Planning Package, a software released to Passive House Planners (and others) to evaluate and calculate the buildings energy performance to a very high detail. A PHPP is required to be able to enter into the database for passive houses

We have a blog!
Here you can follow the passive house renovation of the merchant’s house from 1860 in Lysekil, Sweden. Not many posts, but a few good pictures at least…
And a collection of links to blogs and photo albums of passive houses.

http://scandinavian-homes.blogspot.com/  

More on our websites….  All the best for now,      

Lars Pettersson,  Scandinavian Homes Ltd.  Moycullen, Co. Galway,  Ireland
Tel: 091-555 808, lars@scanhome.ie   www.scanhome.ie 

Anders Johansson,   Scandinavian Homes Sweden AB,  Kungsgatan 21, 453 338 Lysekil,  Sweden
Tel 0523- 14510  0705- 371 754, anders@scanhome.se    www.scanhome.se