Scandinavian Homes - Research
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Thursday, 2024-04-18
Solar seasonal store
After 3 years of constructing more than 25 individual passive houses in Ireland, Scandinavian Homes Ltd. in Galway is currently researching the possibility of generating 100% of the space heat and domestic hot water required for a single family house by passive means. It is the ultra low space heat demand of our passive and super-passive houses in the mild Irish climate that triggered the idea to strive for a completely zero-heat house.

First we have to realize that to heat space and water we have 3 practical alternatives:

1. Use electricity, resistive load or preferably with the assistance of a heat-pump.
2. Burn something, preferably a non-fossil plant-based fuel.
3. Use the sun, but then we need a seasonal store for the winter months.

The System

A detailed description of the system in pdf format is available for download here:
Download the system information

Solar store system layout
Downstairs floorheat layout
Tank location

The Research

Shane Colclough of The University of Ulster continues to research the area of Thermal Energy Storage applied to the Passivhaus standard and has been awarded a doctorate for this work. He engaged with Scandinavian Homes in 2009 with the aim of objectively monitoring and reporting on the performance of the Seasonal Store installation over a heating season. Following this period he made recommendations for future iterations of the Seasonal Store as part of his doctoral submission. A number of his papers are presented below and further details can be obtained from

You can download the monitoring plan in pdf format for this project here:

Download the monitoring plan

The Results

Shane Colclough has written a number of papers about this project and explored different angles of his results. He has presented the papers in various locations around the world such as for example Abu Dhabi, UAE, London, UK and Hannover, Germany.

Solar Assisted Space Heating and Ireland
This paper demonstrates that Ireland is potentially the best country in Europe for solar assisted space heating, particularly when seasonal solar energy storage is combined with the exceptionally low space heating demand of Passive Houses. The performance of a real Passive House with a Seasonal Energy Store is examined and presented.
Presented at the World Renewable Energy Congress XI, September 2010 Abu Dhabi
Download the paper
(through the website)
Dr.Shane Colclough, Dr Philip Griffiths, Dr Mervyn Smyth

A year in the life of a Passive House with Solar Energy Store
Due to a unique combination of factors, low energy and passive houses in Ireland are particularly well suited to exploiting the advantages of solar thermal energy. However few examples exist of how this synergy can be exploited successfully in Ireland, illustrating the manner in which sustainable fossil fuelfree space heating can be provided. This paper presents the design rationale and provides an overview of the performance of a real installation over a full year cycle.
Download the paper
(through the website)
Colclough S. M., Griffiths P. W. Hewitt, N. J.

One Passivhaus’ Search for Zero Carbon
Dynamic Building Simulation Modelling has demonstrated that Temperate Maritime Climates experienced in cities such as Dublin, Ireland offer the greatest opportunity for solar assisted space heating in Europe. This paper validates a simulation result by reviewing the actual solar heating results achieved in a house located on the west coast of Ireland which is built to Passivhaus standards. It also demonstrates the maximum Solar Fraction (SF) achievable for the house through the use of a TRNSYS model validated using data gathered on site.
Presented at the 16th International Passive House Conference , April 2012, Hannover, Germany
Download the paper
(through the website)
Dr. Shane Colclough, Mr. Joshua Clarke,
Dr. James T McLeskey Jr., Dr Philip Griffiths

For more papers please visit Dr.Shane Colcloughs website here...

University of Ulster
Faculty: School of the Built Environment
Researcher(s): Shane Colclough BSc(Eng), MIE, MBA, C.Eng, MIEI
Contact: Centre for Sustainable Technologies
University of Ulster, School of The Built Environment
Shore Road, Newtownabbey,
Co.Antrim, BT37 0QB
  Tel +353 87 2421000
  contact by e-mail  


2009-06-19, images of this project

Shane Colclough, David Redpath and Philip Dalzell from Ulster University have finished installing their equipment to begin their research project, a green house was erected over the 23m3 tank and the tank has now been filled with 23,000 liters, the vacuum tubes have been fitted on the roof and all pumps and connections will have been installed by the end of this week.

pipe connections in the roof space

connecting the vacuum tubes

six panels of vacuum tubes have been installed

the top of the 23m3 with its insulation is the base for the green house

heat circuits in the tank

construction of the green house

Shane Colclough, David Redpath and Philip Dalzell connecting the sensors above the solar tank...

...and in the utility room
Scandinavian Homes - Research