The keys of Setanta Constructions SoLow Passive House have been handed over to a family from Mid Ulster who’ve been chosen as the lucky occupants to live for free in the property for twelve months*.
Courtney Gallagher, her husband Michael and their two children were chosen by Setanta Construction following a thorough interview and selection process. In return, the family the will participate in a live research monitoring study in collaboration with Ulster University. The research process aims to gather live feedback and data about what it’s like to live in Ireland’s first volumetric modular house constructed to complete Passive House standards - the internationally recognised gold standard in ultra-energy efficient construction.
The unique research will help provide key metrics and insights on the future performance of low energy dwellings, with factors such as internal heat gains, energy usage along with occupant behavior and the subsequent impacts on the overall performance of the SoLow house fully explored.
Crucially, it will also help determine the overall cost savings of living in a SoLow passive designed home, widely regarded by many within the affordable housing industry as a much needed solution to help minimise the impact of the ongoing cost of living and energy fuel crisis.
Canadian born Courtney and her husband Michael, originally from Castledawson, moved back to Mid Ulster from London last year to be closer to family and friends.
Michael said, “We’re very excited to move into our new temporary home and get to experience what it’s like to live in a modern, high quality, passive built property. It’s great timing as we’ve been considering our options since we moved back home, whether that be buying or building, this short-term move gives us the flexibility to save whilst we carefully plan for our future”.
Courtney added, “The modern and spacious kitchen, additional bedroom and secure garden space really appealed to us as we’re a family with young children who benefit from working from home a few days of the week, so we’re hopeful it will be a cherished and memorable move for everyone. We’re delighted that Setanta Construction have chosen us to be the lucky occupants and we feel very privileged to take part in this unique study.”
Setanta Construction is poised to help revolutionise the social housing sector here and is calling for an integrated approach to help combat energy fuel poverty. According to Mark Gribbin, Joint Director, “Over the past number of months, we’ve been consulting with Housing Associations, Architects, Developers and Governmental bodies and they’ve definitely taken notice”.
“Passive House design is still considered by many as an energy standard that only high end projects could afford. We’re set to alter that thinking by applying complete Passive House standards to affordable housing. We’ve been long-term supporters of passive house standards and began training our staff in Passive House techniques since 2011. This has allowed us to work alongside industry experts and consultants to carefully develop, design and construct a superior housing solution that will result in significant energy fuel savings whilst also delivering additional cost, time, health and environmental benefits for all.
He continues, “SoLow Passive Homes are projected to use up to 80-90% less energy than traditionally constructed homes. Potentially, the financial impact could be huge as the resulting energy cost savings could eventually help break the cycles of financial hardship that cause people to depend more on affordable housing in the first place”.
According to Niall Gribbin, Director at Setanta Construction,
“We’re grateful to the Gallagher family for taking part in this unique research study - the first of its kind in Ireland. At the end of the twelve months, information gathered will help feed into future decision making about Passive House construction and the delivery of exceptional affordable housing.”
“The overall success of our SoLow Passive House will be measured in the long-term, through the production of completed houses, their operational efficiency and by the residents who live in them. We’re hopeful that the design decisions we've made combined with the high energy standards and all-round expertise that we’ve applied will result in good quality, life-long homes that will help decrease energy consumption and associated costs for residents making it a smart long term investment for the housing sector.”
Setanta’s off-site method of construction means that it takes just two weeks to construct a SoLow Passive House in factory and assemble onsite in just a few hours. With plans for a new 30,000 sq ft factory underway, Setanta Construction hope to increase productivity to one fully completed house every day.
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