Pick and mix

The aim of this self-build in Co Wicklow was to build an energy efficient, passive house on a budget.

In this article we cover:

  • Energy efficient strategy tailored to the site
  • Planning permission process in Co Wicklow
  • Details of the self-managed project and how they kept on top of costs
  • Design process and making use of guidelines from County Development Plans
  • How the build route paid off with low energy bills
  • Following the passive house blueprint without certification
  • Reasons for choice of geothermal heating system and how it’s working out
  • Choice of kit building method
  • Tips to keep on top of the budget

House size: 360 sqm
Site size: 7 acres
Build cost: €425,000
Construction type: timber frame with external block cladding, off-site construction
Insulation: mineral wool in walls 220mm; mineral wool in roof 300mm, floor PIR board 150mm
U-values: walls 0.12 W/sqmK, roof 0.15 W/sqmK, floor 0.15 W/sqmK
Windows: alu-clad, triple glazed, argon filled, U-value of units 0.8W/sqmK


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

Beyond passive house

Extension with open plan kitchen and window seat