Massive energy savings in Wexford
Madeira Oaks, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford
Energy-saving features such as solar panels and triple-glazed windows are fairly commonplace in newly built developments these days.
However, in Enniscorthy, local builder Michael Bennett has gone one step further by developing Madeira Oaks, the first entire residential estate to be certified to Passivhaus standards.
The Passivhaus-Institut in Darmstadt, Germany, has a rigorous set of criteria for certifying buildings that require little energy for heating or cooling.
The three-bed, two-storey semi-detached homes Bennett is developing at Madeira Oaks will have combined annual heating and hot water bills of about €200, boosting the appeal of these affordable homes to first-time buyers: in addition to a price tag of just €190,000, the money left over from energy savings can be used instead to fund furnishings, property tax, or to take a chunk off the mortgage.
These low running costs are due to a range of insulation and heat recovery measures at the development that enable the homes to have a constant internal temperature of 21C. The temperature hardly varies because the fresh air supply coming into the buildings is controlled mechanically to give a minimum of eight complete air changes per day, and that air is warmed up by the heat from the outgoing stale air. Because the heat is continuously reused, it is not lost to the atmosphere as it would be with a conventional house.
This mechanical heat recovery ventilation system is supplemented by two low energy electric heaters. PV panels are being fitted to the south-facing roof surfaces, producing extra energy, reducing electricity bills further and contributing to the scheme's A1 building energy rating.
The scheme was launched in January and four of the 12 homes placed on the market have since been sold.
Madeira Oaks, located in an Enniscorthy suburb known as The Moyne, was designed by MosArt Architects. The exteriors are finished in a red-brick and plaster render.
Inside, accommodation extends to 1,097 sq ft. There is a sitting room, a kitchen/dining area with cream Shaker-style kitchen units, a utility room, a WC on the ground floor and, upstairs, there is an airing/drying room, three bedrooms - one of which is ensuite - and a bathroom.
Madeira Oaks is within walking distance of Enniscorthy town. Rosslare harbour is 41km away, while Waterford Regional Airport is 65km.
Enquiries to: Sherry FitzGerald O'Leary Kinsella (053) 9237322.