The Irish construction industry is awash with talk of Nearly Zero Energy Buildings, or nZEB. The new standards are partially in place already with all public buildings built after 31st December 2018 required to meet the standards. The next stage is the rollout to all buildings to comply with nZEB standards, the milestone date for which is 31st December 2020.
There is a lot of work going on to provide the industry with the relevant knowledge on the new regulations in order to meet these requirements and our Technical by Quinn team have been very busy in this respect.
The recent “Achieving nZEB” Conference in Cork hosted by Passive Sills was a demonstration of how the industry is mobilising to ensure it is nZEB ready. It was a comprehensive event with a range of expert speakers to provide insight and impart their knowledge and experience. Among the esteemed panel of speakers was Quinn’s Raymond O’Reilly, who spoke about how nZEB can be easily achieved using single leaf masonry construction.
The key term here is “easily”. That’s what architects, contractors, specifiers and everyone involved wants to hear. To think that we are moving towards standards which demand a full 70% improvement on the Energy Performance Co-Efficient versus 2005 levels can sound like a huge shift. In some respects it is, but the industry should be challenged to build more energy efficient houses. We need to move in this direction and bring Irish buildings up to a better level of sustainability.
The 70% improvement doesn’t happen overnight, however. We’ve been moving gradually towards nZEB over the last few years and this final step will bring us to the standard.
Can nZEB really be achieved easily? Yes, it can. Using a fabric first approach and clever detailing it is very easily achievable and with the final step towards nZEB happening at the end of next year, it is essential that specifiers and developers find a smart solution now.
At the “Achieving nZEB” conference, Raymond showed how utilising one of the most efficient and cost-effective building methods, single leaf, thin joint construction, combined with careful detailing to combat thermal bridging can achieve this easy transition.
The combination of both methods can achieve excellent thermal performance to bring buildings up to nZEB and Passive House standards whilst minimising the requirement for expensive renewable technology.
But the benefits go far beyond the improvements in thermal performance and compliance with the new standards. This is a solution which can also address the Irish need for more housing, faster. Meeting nZEB standards is one thing, but doing this in a way that delivers on the need for speed and in a cost-effective manner is essential in the current climate.
Quinn’s rapid build solution, SIMS by Quinn, ticks all the boxes. It’s up to 60% faster than traditional cavity wall construction, cheaper than timber frame, and crucially provides excellent thermal performance to help achieve nZEB standards.
SIMS by Quinn also delivers on fire performance, airtightness and structural performance requirements, making it an all-round smart solution to the needs currently facing Irish construction.