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Source: Waine Morehead Architects

A striking new house in County Cork proves that meeting the passive house standard needn’t mean sacrificing good design, while the dwelling also boasts an innovative infra-red heating system, green materials, plus a unique approach to using climate data in low energy construction.

Sally O’Leary says that when a site became available near the site of an old family home, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy it. She’d been looking for a site to build on with her husband John. “We always wanted energy efficiency, I think nowadays that’s something that people have to do,” she says.

The spent a few years trying to get planning permission before turning to Cork-based Wain Morehead Architects. For Sally, it was important their design showed respect for their site — an awkward, sloping patch of land overlooking a local river.

Energy efficiency was important to the O’Learys, but architect John Morehead suggested taking things further and aiming for the more onerous passive house standard. “Passive was a complete dream,” Sally says.

Xavier Dubuisson, then senior consultant at DWEcoCo, adviced on the building services design and specification, and checked compliance with the Passive House standard overall primary energy demand.