Belfast Telegraph

Firm's zero-carbon home has designs on the future

By Linda Stewart

Omagh firm Energy Architect Ltd has designed the first traditionally built zero-carbon house in Northern Ireland.

The company is close to completing a zero-carbon home and a low-carbon home using modified conventional construction methods and readily available masonry products using traditional skills.

Managing director Barry Gallagher said: "What we have achieved is the conventional affordable solution and is the result of many years' research into innovative building design and renewable energies in the quest for the zero-carbon home that is not compromised in design, is robust, durable and built using traditional masonry products that are available locally. Simplicity is the key to our approach.

"Now with the reality of global warming upon us, it has become more important to consider using materials and methods of construction that are sustainable. It is also apparent that in the art of constructing a building that there is an ever-increasing need for quality, emphasised by increasing requirement levels for new energy ratings."

Energy Architect Ltd has developed its zero-carbon home using a modified conventional "fabric first" approach by optimising the insulation performance of the building envelope and improving air-tightness as a cost-effective way to ensure the building meets requirements.

The company believes this is the way to achieve and deliver zero-carbon housing by 2016 without the need to offer a predicted layout or design.

"Although new technology such as wind power, bio-fuels, photovoltaic heat pumps etc are crucial, they are a false investment if the building is leaking energy," said Mr Gallagher.