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TeachPassiv.com 2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for TeachPassiv.com.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 52 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

ps A good start and hoping to do a lot more next year, stay tuned…

The Passive House explained in Gingerbread & marshmallows

Image from Treehugger.com © Kasper Diem

Merry Christmas to all and to get you in the festive spirit, CLICK HERE (or on the image) for the Passivhaus methodology explained in gingerbread & marshmallows from Treehugger.com

Excellent post by @ElrondBurrell ‘On what the Passive House standard is NOT’

Link to excellent post below by Elrond Burrell on what this Passive House standard is NOT:


The International Passive House Conference Programme for 2015 is out

The programme for the 2015 Passive House Conference in Leipzig can be downloaded HERE (1.2Mb) downloads in new window

Passivhaus Primer: Airtightness Guide @BREWatford mentioned

Passivhaus Primer: Airtightness Guide

Click below for excellent guide on:

Airtightness and air pressure testing in accordance with the Passivhaus standard

From Passivhaus.org.uk

#Passivhaus trickle-down on ‘Standard’ projects

I put this together on MarkStephensArchitects.com last week…


What I’m seeing over the last few years is that even if the client doesn’t go the ‘whole enchilada’ with a certified Passivhaus (I would however highly recommend designing, building and certifying to the Passivhaus standard incidentally); many of the Passivhaus features are becoming incorporated and ‘trickling down’ to the ‘Standard’ project. Namely:

1. High levels of insulation.

200mm cavity (before insulation) with low conductivity wall tie 200mm cavity with low conductivity wall tie

With the ‘optimal’ cavity width for Passivhaus certification using concrete blocks at 300mm (pumped with platinum multi-bead insulation); we’re frequently adopting cavities on our ‘Standard’ projects of 200mm and 250mm.

2. Minimal Thermal bridges

As you can see in the image above, we are using low conductivity wall ties instead of steel versions.

The photo below also shows the low-conductivity blocks we use in strategic locations to reduce thermal bridging:

Low conductivity blocks Low conductivity blocks

3. Triple Glazing

The price for triple glazing in Ireland has reduced…

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2 Great #Passivhaus Books @Green_Books @RIBABookshops @passiveacademy mentioned

This was written on ‘Architect’ site yesterday #Passivhaus #Books


As an avid reader of Passivhaus books (actually any books on a variety of subjects); below are two I would heartily recommend to get you started on Passivhaus theory and onto more advance topics.

1. The Passivhaus Handbook by Janet Cotterell and Adam Dadeby


A great primer in everything Passivhaus. Chapters include:

Part One: The how and why of Passivhaus
• What is Passivhaus
• The economics of Passivhaus
• Passivhaus Certification
• Challenges of meeting the Passivhaus standard
• Natural materials,zero carbon and resilience
• Setting up a Passivhaus project

Part Two: Passivhaus projects: a practical guide
• Using PHPP
• Thermal bridges
• Airtightness and sequencing
• Moisture
• Windows
• Ventilation
• Living in a Passivhaus
• Policy change in the UK

The book is extensively Appendixed with a great glossary of terms/units plus notes and resources.

I used this book as part of my revision before…

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#Passivhaus Fact Sheet No. 17 – Choosing a Passivhaus Builder @Target_Zer0 @passiveacademy @vikhouse @BePassive mentioned

Fact Sheet No.17 has just been released on ‘How to choose a Passivhaus builder’


This Fact sheet has also been added into the FACT SHEETS section of the website

Minister Damien English “have to get construction right – this time”

More calls for Passivhaus standard to be implemented in Ireland (via BRegs blog)

BRegs Blog


By Bregs Blog on October 19th 2014

Minister Damien English (pictured above) at Nzeb conference last week called for the passive house standard to be introduced in housing and suggested moves be made by the construction industry to address skills shortage problems in construction. He suggested we could have a lot of jobs associated with new technical standards that we can’t fill unless the industry gets moving to upskill. Link to conference programme here

Minister English, who told the Conference that he had built his own passive house said that …”we have to get construction right – this time“.

He called for higher construction standards so that houses are cheaper to run. He also gave a timely warning that if the construction industry doesn’t upskill “we could have a lot of jobs we cant fill

In the article in the Journal.ie from 15th October 2014  “Pressure is on to get building, but those in construction need…

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How Brussels moved from UK style building regs to making #Passivhaus mandatory; Ireland could do same?

I saw this tweet by @MariaSfyraki recently on the Passivhaustrust website outlining how Brussels have moved from a UK style Building Regulations to mandatory Passivhaus. Is this something Ireland should consider?

Click HERE to open the document

6 posts on Part L, #ThermalModelling #BRegs & #Passivhaus @BRegsBlog mentioned

The following 6 posts are on who should certify Part L compliance, the BER Assessor? Part L compliance with the Building Regulations with regards to Thermal Bridges/Modelling and Thermal Bridging and Passivhaus

1. From the Bregs Blog admin team – 3 Things Design Certifiers should know about certifying Part L

2. My opinion piece on the BRegs BlogSI.9 and Part L | Are specialist ancillary certifiers needed? Part 1

3. Follow-up Part 2 opinion piece on the BRegs BlogSI.9 and Part L | Are specialist ancillary certifiers needed? Part 2

4. On MarkStephensArchitects.comThe basics of Part L Thermal Modelling Building Regulation compliance – Part 1

5. On MarkStephensArchitects.comThe basics of Part L Thermal Modelling Building Regulation compliance – Part 2

6. On MarkStephensArchitects.comThe basics of Part L Thermal Modelling Building Regulation compliance & Passivhaus – Part 3

Reminder that a series of Passivhaus Fact Sheets are in the FACT SHEETS section of website and that the above information is specifically related to Ireland and may not apply to other countries.


All advice online is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support – in and of itself – should legal action be taken. Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matters at hand.

#Passivhaus Fact Sheet 16 – #PHPP Hitting Airtightness Requirements

This Fact Sheet (below) focusses on Airtightness and it’s relevance in PHPP

Fact Sheet No. 16 – PHPP ‘ Airtightness – Hitting the target’ – Click to download pdf (907Kb)

#Passivhaus Fact Sheet 15 – #PHPP Hitting Primary Energy Requirements

This Fact Sheet on ‘Hitting Primary Energy Requirements in PHPP’ was harder to write than that on Space Heating Demand as there’s a lot of variables concerning frequency of use and energy consumption figures; I have however tried to keep it to the single sheet (in line with all the other FACT SHEETS in the FACT SHEETS section and also to provide information for those new to Passivhaus as well as the more experienced practitioners (who I know read the blog and I welcome any corrections from these highly skilled readers). Link below to Fact Sheet No. 15:

Fact Sheet No. 15 – PHPP ‘ Primary Energy Demand – Hitting the target’ – Click to download pdf (299Kb)

Architects can do more than just the pretty bit…

I wrote this on main site on benefits of using architect with Passivhaus experience/training (ahem)…


The writing was on the wall prior to the implementation of the Building Regulation Amendments under S.I.No.9 of 2014 but since April 1st it looks as if the situation will increase…

The situation being my appointment for the design and planning only on projects and the appointment of a another party for the construction drawings and site inspections.

Now I’m happy that if money is tight that I receive a fee for a ‘part-service’ rather than no job at all but on the basis of a couple of recent jobs I feel that it’s important to emphasise that I can do a lot more than just the ‘pretty’ bit involving the design and planning. This is the purpose of this post; to explain what I (as well as other architects) can offer when they are appointed for the ‘full’ service:

I have always said that the best residential projects are…

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Fact Sheet No.14 – PHPP Hitting Space Heating Demand for #Passivhaus

This new Fact Sheet (also in FACT SHEETS section of website) gives a few methods of hitting (and bettering) the Passivhaus Space Heating Demand requirements. It focusses on alternative strategies that may not be obvious in addition to improving u-values, airtightness etc…

Fact Sheet No. 14 – PHPP ‘Hitting the target (1-5)’ – Click to download pdf (341Kb)

There will be additional Fact sheets covering other PHPP areas in due course, watch this space…

Book now for UK 2014 Passivhaus Conference

Bookings are now being taken for the 2014 UK Passivhaus Conference

Fact Sheet 13 – Passivhaus Cavity closers – openings

Fact Sheet 13, focusses on typical detailing of Passivhaus cavity closers at openings:

Fact Sheet No. 13 – Case Study – Cavity Closers (Openings) – Click to download pdf (493Kb)

Again this is included in the FACT SHEETS section of web site

Fact Sheet 12 – Case study on Cavity Closers: @passivhausnews mentioned

Passivhaus Fact Sheet Number 12 which is the second in the case study series focuses on cavity walls and how they are closed at the eaves:

Fact Sheet No. 12 – Case Study – Cavity Closers – Click to download pdf (566Kb)

This fact sheet is also included in the FACT SHEETS section of the web site

#Passivhaus analysis of integrating timber beams into the airtight layer

Interesting document HERE on how timber beams should be integrated into a Passivhaus airtight construction.

Fact Sheet 11 – Case Study 1: Passivhaus Cavity Wall insulation UK/Ireland

Fact Sheet 11, The first of the Case Studies looks at comparisons & differences to Passivhaus cavity wall insulation between UK and Ireland:

Fact Sheet No. 11 – Case Study – Cavity Wall Insulation – Click to download pdf (334Kb)

Again this is included in the FACT SHEETS section of web site

#Passivhaus Fact Sheet No.10 out on Thermal Bridges

Fact Sheet Number 10 is out on Thermal Bridges:

Fact Sheet No. 10 – Thermal Bridges – Click to download pdf (321Kb)

Again this is included in the FACT SHEETS section of web site

#Passivhaus professionals reach over 4000 in world ! via @phplusmag

If there’s any evidence that Passivhaus is not a fad is that the number of Certified Passivhaus Designers/Consultants (of which Mark Stephens Architects are one) now reaches over 4000 as reported by Passive House + Magazine

For the full article and details CLICK HERE

Fact Sheet No. 9 – Enerphit for Passivhaus retrofitting projects is out!

The latest Passivhaus Fact Sheet (No. 9) on the Passivhaus Enerphit Standard (276Kb) is ready to DOWNLOAD

Again this is included in the FACT SHEETS section of web site

Passivhaus Fact Sheet No. 8 out – Building Certification ( @ElrondBurrell mentioned again!)

Fact Sheet Number 8 on Passivhaus Building Certification is out:

Fact Sheet No. 8 – Building Certification – Click to download pdf (290Kb)

Again this is included in the FACT SHEETS section of web site

Fact Sheet No. 7 on why you need MHVR is out

Fact Sheet No.7 Why MHVR? is out (and also in the Fact Sheets section of website

Excellent post by @ElrondBurrell on why #Passivhaus certification is essential

Excellent post by @ElrondBurrell on why #Passivhaus certification is essential, below:


Fact Sheet No.6 is out – Why do you need triple glazed windows for #Passivhaus? @Green_Books mentioned

Fact sheet No. 6 is out and as promised it’s getting more technical, the sheet refers back to previous posts on this subject on MarkStephensArchitects.com and if you like your physics & maths there are some example calculations given.


Any errors on the maths let me know, I remember there were some discrepancies over location irradiation figures.

This Fact Sheet is also included in the Fact Sheets section of the website

#Passivhaus and Ironman Triathlon – the connection @WolfgangFeist mentioned

I wrote this over weekend about Passivhaus, Ironman Triathlon and the bustup between Phi and PHUS


What possible connection could there be between the Passivhaus methodology and Triathlon?

If you’re in the Passivhaus world then you couldn’t help but notice the split between The Passive House Institute based in Germany and the Passive House Institute US. I’m not going into the reasons behind the split (of which there’s stacks on the web) but splits of this type are not unusual and this split is still rumbling on. Even today this Twitter stream shows a Twitter ‘fight’ on this very subject. And here’s the original [POST] that kicked everything off.

Here’s the ‘Open letter’ from Wolfgang Feist on the subject

So, the triathlon analogy…

As a primer, here’s the Wikipedia entry on Ironman Triathlon

Notice the key line:

“Other races exist that are of the same distance as an Ironman triathlon but are not produced, owned, or licensed by the World Triathlon Corporation. Such races include…

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Fact Sheet No.5 Ready – Passivhaus Construction

We’ve added Fact Sheet No.5 on Passivhaus Construction to the FACT SHEETS section.

Now that’s the ‘Fundamentals’ dealt with, it’s time to get technical…

Fact Sheet No.4 on Passivhaus design is out: @ParsonsWhittley @zowark featured

Fact Sheet Number 4 on Passivhaus Design is out, next one will be on Passivhaus construction…


Special thanks to:

Zeno Winkens for
Clauson House Co. Wexford, Winkens Architecture

Isover Energy Efficiency Award 2013 WINNER
Finalist Irish Building and Design Awards Sustainable/Green Project of the Year 2014
Finalist The Green Residential Building Green Awards 2013


Chris Parsons of Parsons + Whittley Architects for the 3 dwellings at Burnham Overy Staithe for Hastoe

You can download the Fact sheet HERE or via the FACT SHEETS section where you can download the previous sheets.

How to complete all your CPD in one hit: #Passivhaus

Here’s the earlier #Passivhaus CPD post


CPD or Continuing Professional Development is part and parcel of the architects duties and responsibilities and is summarised by the RIAI below:

“The systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge and skill and the development of personal qualities necessary for the execution of professional and technical duties throughout the practitioner’s working life”.

The required CPD for Irish architects is 20 hours unstructured work and 20 hours structured work and my approach to completing it has varied from year to year. Some years I’ve knocked off each hour one at a time in approved seminars whilst other years I’ve completed the hours in one hit by completing a bigger course – the RIAI Conservation course is one example of this.

This year has also been a ‘one-hit’ year where all of the years CPD was completed in a single course – the Certified Passivhaus Consultant/Designer course and exam which was completed…

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TeachPassiv #Passivhaus Fact Sheet No. 3 out: The Passivhaus Design Team

Fact sheet No. 3 out now: The Passivhaus Design Team

Details who you should appoint and why to build your ultra-low energy Passivhaus.

#Passivhaus Fact Sheet No. 2 out: Common Passivhaus Misconceptions

Fact Sheet Number 2 is out, click on link below & is also added into FACT SHEETS section:

Fact Sheet No. 2 – Common Passivhaus Misconceptions (258Kb)

Fact Sheet No.1 – What is a Passivhaus?

After hearing that I have passed my Certified Passivhaus Consultant/Designer exam; I am now focussing on developing the TeachPassiv website. This starts with a series of ‘Fact Sheets’ on Passivhaus design, methodology & execution. And where best to start is at the beginning with ‘What is a Passivhaus’:


Tear Sheet on recently completed Mayo rural house (very close to Passivhaus, sorry PH guys)

Not certified but Oh so close…


Below is a ‘Tear Sheet’ on one of our recently completed rural Mayo houses that’s very close to Passivhaus standard (sorry). Again this is a self-build that can’t be built after March 1st this year; the attention to detail by the self-builder should be congratulated who had no previous construction experience (he did however have a good architect on board, ahem)


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Welcome to a brand new web site developed by Mark Stephens Architects to impart knowledge and information on the design and construction of Passivhaus buildings.

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