Passive houses in St. Bircin’s Park – Training clauses by the Dublin City Council

Public nZEB buildings case study
Building type
Multi-Family Social
Project type

Passive Houses in St. Bircin’s Park © Dublin City Architects Blog

The Dublin City Council’s Bedsit Amalgamation Programme consists of the renovation and union of existing apartments built in the 60’s and 70’s into appropriate size standards, and to improve their overall energy efficiency as well as to transform them into comfortable, healthy, and affordable homes for senior citizens.

The work at St. Bircin’s Park was the culmination of this amalgamation programme, in which 35 apartments were renovated with nZEB and passive building features, with the final objective of successfully achieving the EnerPHit standard.

How was this building procured?

The public authority of Dublin included a specific clause in the contract to require workers to complete the Passive House Tradesperson’s training programme, which was funded by the Dublin City Council and was organised in 5 sessions, both theoretical and practical. The training materials were developed as part of the EU Horizon 2020 project called ‘Fit-to-NZEB’.

What are the key nZEB features?

The building’s key features related to nZEB include:

  • Insulation of walls, floor and roof;
  • Installation of high-performance external windows and doors;
  • High-standard airtightness;
  • Elimination and minimisation of thermal bridges;
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery systems in each apartment.
Did the project have an impact on skills?

This project for social housing included the following specific tender criteria that stimulated nZEB knowledge and skills:

“Please note Dublin City Council will arrange training for the successful contractor so that at a minimum 2 no. personnel employed on the project successfully complete the Certified Passive House Tradespersons training for a minimum of 2 days. As well as this the Contractors electrical and mechanical subcontractors must also undertake the training”.

The mentioned training was funded by the Dublin City Council and between 10 and 12 people from the contractor’s personnel were asked to take part in the whole training. The Council’s  inspectors, architects and engineers also participated in some of the training sessions, using it as an opportunity to upskill as well.

This case has to be highlighted as a good practice in stimulating the demand of nZEB skills and knowledge in a community. In fact, the trainings were pointed out as one of the main grounds for the success of the project and the effective certification of EnerPHit later on.

Keywords: Renovation of buildings, Passive buildings, Skills demand, Sustainable public procurement, Social housing, Ireland
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