Quick guide to energy efficient homes

Your airtightness and insulation strategy will depend on how you build your house, what your overall aim is for energy efficiency, and how you plan to ventilate it. You will then have to make choices based on cost versus performance versus eco credentials.

The adage “Build Tight, Ventilate Right”, coined by Earle Perera of the Building Research Establishment in the 1990s, is as true today as it ever has been. This means that in energy efficient buildings, the insulation and airtightness strategy must factor in ventilation to protect your own health and to prevent sick building syndrome. But there’s even more to it than that, writes Patrick Waterfield. 

Victorian buildings were very robust, adaptable and abundant in architectural features. They had large areas of glazing and plentiful ventilation due to their lack of airtightness and fireplaces in most rooms. This meant ample fresh air and light, but also poor energy/resource efficiency.

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Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. She previously held the same role in an Irish trade publication, before that she worked at the National Standards Authority of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University in New York and holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles in Madrid. France of origin, she now lives in Portarlington, County Laois, where she's taken on the task of renovating a listed building! Email astrid.madsen@selfbuild.ie

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