Setanta Construction helps launch 'SoLow' Energy Efficient Homes

Mid Ulster based Setanta Construction, is looking towards revolutionising the housing market here and further afield through the development of low energy, volumetric, Passive certified homes. 

The company recently unveiled the construction of its 'SoLow' pilot housing project at its site in Magherafelt to a group of international delegates attending the 'Building a Sustainable Future' conference in Northern Ireland and detailed their ambitious plans for growth within the energy efficient housing market.

As concerns about rising energy costs, climate change and affordable housing continues to mount, Setanta Construction has met the challenge head on by designing and completely manufacturing the first of its kind volumetric house constructed anywhere in Ireland to complete Passive House standards.

In comparison to conventional building techniques, a Passive build is designed and constructed to be highly energy efficient and is the gold standard when it comes to low energy eco homes.

According to Mark Gribbin, Director at Setanta Construction says "Our newly launched 'SoLow' volumetric house aims to put energy performance at the heart of the housing market, delivering significant cost, time, health and environmental benefits for all. We’ve worked alongside industry experts in the design process including The Electric Storage Company to ensure outstanding functional performance throughout. Key components include 4kW of photo voltaic panels installed with an 11kw electric storage battery with heating and hot water provided by an integrated heat pump and ventilation system”.

Timescales are an important factor when it comes to any newbuild or development.  Setanta’s versatile and cost-effective off-site method of construction allows them to deliver the highest quality energy efficient homes whilst minimising overall construction time and costs. 

Mark said, “We want to maintain our lead position in the energy efficient housing market, and we’re committed to continuously refining and perfecting the production, processes and rollout of our bespoke off-site building concepts. The advantage of working with Setanta means that our housing components are built here at our factory before they are delivered and assembled to sites”. 

Outlining plans for continued growth Mark said, “Currently it takes just two weeks to construct our 'SoLow' passive house in the factory and it can be assembled onsite in just a few hours.  In time we intend to scale up with plans for a new 30,000 sq ft factory underway, which will enable us to increase productivity to 1 fully completed house every day.

He said, “we’re open to conversations with people within the industry, housing associations or those with land opportunities who are interested in investing in building a sustainable future.”

Research into the overall benefits and potential cost savings of Passive built homes are far-reaching and its widely accepted that they have the potential to use 80 - 90% less energy than a typical home, not only helping the environment but helping homeowners save money too.

To explore this research further Setanta have enlisted the support of Ulster University’s Center for Sustainable Technologies team to conduct a detailed study into the actual performance and overall energy efficient benefits of Passive Home living, specifically Setanta’s ‘SoLow’ pilot housing project.

According to Niall Gribbin, joint Director at Setanta “We’re fully convinced of the advantages of building off-site Passive Homes with low embedded carbon, but to fulfill our assurances to potential homeowners and industry professionals we’ve committed to undertake a detailed study to examine the full benefits in comparison to conventional builds and further explore what works well for the ultimate occupants and the environment we live in.”

Commenting on the proposed research, Trevor Hyde of Ulster University’s Center for Sustainable Technologies, said “It’s widely accepted that the Passive House concept is a smart long-term investment, which leads to lower energy consumption, reduced maintenance and expense with improved occupant comfort.  We're excited to team up with Setanta Construction to investigate this concept further and undertake a detailed study, analysing factors such as air quality, temperature fluctuations and energy usage on a yearly basis.  We look forward to the findings of the study and the potential impact this work can have as we transition towards net zero”.

Pictured (L-R) Mark Gribbin, Director Setanta Construction & Niall Gribbin, Director Setanta Construction. 

Further info:

  • Approx 1100sq ft, FIRST FLOOR: 3 bedrooms, 1 ensuite, 1 main bathroom, GROUND FLOOR: kitchen/dining, reception room, utility and WC.
  • In recognition of Setanta Construction’s commitment to innovation and energy efficient living it was awarded the Federation of Master Builders ‘Building Company of the Year 2021’ and ‘Energy Efficient Home of the Year’, 2017.
  • Setanta is accredited as being certified Passive House Designers; an esteemed qualification which focuses on energy efficient construction. This certification complements Setanta’s objective of creating zero carbon rated and energy efficient homes. We also carry out individual Thermal Bridging designs perfecting the construction methods and details in order to build a more thermally efficient house. The company is continually increasing and refining skills and abilities to improve the quality of the product and service that we provide.