The EU directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD) is aimed to improve energy performance in buildings. As part of the directive a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate (effectively an energy label) will be required at the point of sale on completion of a new building. As a dwelling is more often than not the largest investment that we make in our lifetime BER Certs can only be a welcome introduction. However, for many BER comes too late!
In the past 16 years there has been remarkable increase in dwelling completions, from 19,139 in 1990 to 89,000 an increase of 300%. This explosion in the housing sector has seen boom times for our economy. But what price will we pay in the future when it comes to the running costs involved with these dwellings.
The residential sector is responsible for almost 30% of energy related CO² emissions, a rise of 7.5% since 1990 (second only to transport). The average home emits 5 tons of CO² from direct fuel use, and on average €1,600 is spent on energy per annum. Based on this, Irelands CO² emissions per dwelling is 97% above the EU-15 average, and is likely to have significant financial implications when our Kyoto requirements are not met.
So where have we gone wrong in our dwellings? To answer this, we need to look at Europe’s lowest producers of CO² emissions. Dwellings in Sweden are insulated to very high standards, have highly sealed windows and doors and are heated using energy generated by geothermal, wind and bio-fuels. Emphasis is placed on air tightness with controlled ventilation which produces a dwelling that is energy efficient and sustainable.
Compare this to the traditional house build in Ireland in the last 16 years. Block work with poor quality insulation, low grade attic insulation, windows and doors with poor seals. Allied with an oil-fueled heating system and you have an ‘energy hungry’, dwelling suffering from large heat losses/ leakages and producing large amounts of CO².
The Dryform steel frame building system tries to embrace the good aspects of both the Swedish and Irish model by producing dwellings that are:
Our standard external walls achieve a minimum u-value of 0.21w/m2ok and provide a BER rating of “A” (compare this to 0.27 w/m2ok in traditional method which achieves a “B” rating). Heating bills are effectively cut by 50-70% so CO² emissions are also greatly reduced.
Our system implements the use of a concrete floor in its multi-story applications which provides a quality feel along with superior sound insulation and fire resistance over other methods.
Being a ‘modern Method of Construction’ (MMC), steel frame building systems greatly reduce construction program/time schedules and reduce the release upon on-site wet trades. Masonry is effectively removed from the critical path.
More and more people are beginning to realize that high CO² emissions are having a negative impact on our environment and as a nation we are definitely starting to think greener. At Dryform we pride ourselves on producing one of the most energy efficient houses on the market and it shows in our sales sheet as turnover has increased by 300% in the last 3 years.
Given that the housing sector is responsible for a significant proportion of Ireland’s energy requirement, and in turn, energy related emissions, Dryform will strive to solve rather than create problems for our environment.