- "I think the project was true to the original concept design and in my opinion responds to its site location and orientation more than just a standard estate dwelling."
- "With a plot in an estate, the opportunity to have a dwelling designed to fit your needs is worth pursuing."
- "The dwelling is laid out with distinct areas for the general family and for leisure and guest accommodation."
Low Energy Design’s mission in partnership with their clients is to develop inspirational, relaxing and enjoyable living spaces through architectural design that combines clean elegant lines with low energy design solutions and to work with clients’ vision for their home, whether it is a new-build, conversion or extension.
Here, Owner of Low Energy Design and Architect James Walsh discusses a new build project in Clonee, County Meath which achieved an A2 BER and NZEB rating in advance of NZEB implementation.
“This was a new dwelling on an existing estate where the client purchased a plot with previous planning permission and wanted a more contemporary design that would meet the family needs both in space and comfort.
The dwelling is designed in an ‘L,’ shape to catch as much of the afternoon and evening sun to the court formed by the building and garden boundaries. The dwelling is laid out with distinct areas for the general family and for leisure and guest accommodation,” explained James Walsh.
“The central area contains the circulation and is articulated by the use of a double height space to enhance the feeling of spaciousness and give glimpses of the garden beyond when entering the dwelling.”
In terms of how the building process went?
“A self build with a project manager on site was settled on. The timber frame company were excellent and very professional.
The project manager was unable to stay with the entire project and the client had to manage the final phase themselves. This project took two years and nine months from initial appointment and sketch design to completion,” added Mr Walsh.
As to some of the technical aspects of the house alongside an A2 BER rating and NZEB rating in advance of its formal introduction?
“Airtightness – The mean q50 for this dwelling as tested was 0.89 m3 h m2. 87% better than the building regulation requirement at the time of 7 m3 h m2. Y Factor for thermal bridging of 0.04, 50% better than the Acceptable Construction Details default of 0.08. Timber Frame was by LLS Structures with Cellulose insulation. A Mechanical Ventilation and Heat recovery system was installed.”
Upon reflection, is there anything that the homeowner (s) would do differently with their home or were/ are they completely happy with their decisions?
“The homeowner would increase the utility space and would consider a separate room for the heat pump and hot water cylinder, they were located in the utility,” he imparted.
“I think the project was true to the original concept design and in my opinion responds to its site location and orientation more than just a standard estate dwelling. The bespoke design also responds in more detail to the client’s requirements and how the family wishes to use the dwelling and garden. There are very strong links from the dwelling on the south and west to the garden and internally there is a variety in the spatial experience with interlinking double height volumes.”
When it comes to any advice he would like to offer to anyone who may be about to embark on a similar type of project?
“With a plot in an estate, the opportunity to have a dwelling designed to fit your needs is worth pursuing. It is very challenging trying to manage a self build without experience of the industry. A more traditional main contractor with a single line of responsibility generally removes some of the stress that a self build can bring,” concluded James Walsh.