Energy Efficiency

One Tonne House

One tonne of carbon dioxide per person and year is a major challenge bearing in mind that the global average today is about seven tonnes. Yet a project in Sweden is designing a house to do just that. Much of the technology and the solutions are already available to the general public or will be in the near future. The necessary preconditions are there – right now! Read details.

AusZEH Australian Zero Emissions House

The AusZEH project demonstrates that significant reduction in energy consumption, and developing a zero-emission house (ZEH), are both practical and technically feasible now. The prototype house it has been designed to do just that - produce enough renewable power onsite to supply all its needs and therefore nullify its greenhouse emissions over the course of a year. Website

Passive House Design in Germany

“The myth before was that to be warm you had to have heating. Our goal is to create a warm house without energy demand,” said Wolfgang Hasper, an engineer at the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt. “This is not about wearing thick pullovers, turning the thermostat down and putting up with drafts. It’s about being comfortable with less energy input, and we do this by recycling heating.” Read article.
Recently the European Union has passed legislation requiring that all new houses be nearly carbon-neutral, but not until 2020 - read more .

Passive House in Canada

Austria House, nestled just north of Whistler Village, is so well insulated that it needs no furnace. The 2,700-square-foot building requires less heat than is produced by a common household hair dryer and generates most of that meagre heating energy on-site. News Article. More on Zero Energy homes.

European Green Cities Network

This site has information on sustainable urban housing development using low energy technologies. It focusses on three main groups that stand out as the most important in regard to energy performance and environmental impact: energy supply, solar technologies, and building materials. Go to website.

Passive Houses in Ireland

A passive house is not a zero energy house - it is a home that is so highly insulated it won’t need a conventional heating system to heat it or supply hot water. The amount of energy you’ll need will in fact be less than 15kWh/m2/year, or a peak demand less than 10 Watts per sq metre of floor area. These passive houses are highly insulated and use solar collectors and storage and ventilation heat recovery systems or heat pumps. There is some useful information on this website, but one criticism is the section on wood stoves has no detail on particle emissions, and their effect on neighbouring houses, or whether they are appropriate at all in a passive house.