/ Sustainable Projects

Building an Accessible and Eco-Friendly Timber Frame Home in Tuam with Partel’s Advanced Solutions

Project Overview

In the serene outskirts of Tuam in Ireland, a remarkable endeavor to construct a timber frame self-build house is underway, showcasing an exemplary commitment to environmental sustainability. This project, born out of a family’s need to accommodate the evolving needs of their young son who requires mobility support, has meticulously incorporated a dual focus on immediate accessibility and long-term ecological responsibility. The homeowner’s personal commitment to minimizing the house’s carbon footprint has played a pivotal role in guiding the project’s direction.

“Our 2nd priority (after accessibility) is minimising the house’s carbon footprint – this is entirely my interest, so my wife left me to all of the research and decision making here! I tried to consider embodied carbon in the construction methodology as well as carbon emissions during the lifetime of the house,” the homeowner explains.

This case study explores how Partel high-performance building solutions and Vasco centralized ventilation system contributed to creating a home that not only meets the family’s unique needs but also sets new benchmarks in sustainable living.

Irish Eco Homes: Spearheading Sustainable Timber Frame Solutions

Irish Eco Homes’ commitment to making sustainable and healthy buildings accessible to all was a driving force in this project. With their rich heritage in timber frame manufacturing, they have been at the forefront of providing passive and low-energy timber-framed houses across Ireland. Their specialization in energy-efficient homes that are both cost-effective and swiftly constructed was pivotal in ensuring the project’s success.

The Role of Timber Frame in Sustainable Construction

Timber frame construction, as championed by Irish Eco Homes, brings numerous benefits to the table:

  • Energy Efficiency: The use of highly insulated, airtight timber frames minimizes heat loss, significantly reducing energy consumption and contributing to a more sustainable environment.
  • Sustainability: Emphasizing the use of renewable materials from sustainable forests, timber frame construction not only sequesters carbon but also aims for zero waste on site, underlining the ecological ethos of the project.
  • Flexibility and Affordability: The versatility of timber frame construction allowed for a customized design that met the specific accessibility needs of the family, all while ensuring affordability and faster build times, crucial for timely and within-budget project completion.

The Challenge: Merging Accessibility with Eco-Conscious Construction

Creating a home that was both fully accessible and environmentally sustainable presented a unique set of challenges. The family’s commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of their new build, while ensuring it catered to their son’s mobility needs, required a careful selection of construction materials and methodologies that were both eco-friendly and conducive to creating an accessible living environment. Partel was involved in planning and executing a continuous, uninterrupted airtight building envelope, as well as in the design of the MVHR system.

The Solution: Selecting High-Performance Building Materials

To address these challenges, Partel’s IZOPERM PLUS membrane, CONEXO MULTISEAL and CONIZO tapes were integral to the construction of the timber frame house. In addition, the Vasco centralized ventilation system was incorporated to optimize indoor air quality.

IZOPERM PLUS – The Optimal Vapour Control Membrane

IZOPERM PLUS was chosen for its exceptional properties as a high-specification air and vapour control membrane. As a Passive House Institute-certified ‘phA advanced Component’, it offers the highest standard of energy efficiency, making it an ideal choice for the project. Its key features include:

  • phA Class Passive House Certification: Ensures top-tier airtightness with an air permeance value of <0.01 m³/(m²h), crucial for minimizing energy loss.
  • Optimum Vapour Resistance: With an Sd value of 5m, it provides excellent protection against humidity, protecting the building structure from internal moisture – particularly important in timber frame construction.
  • Durability and Strength: Reinforced for added strength and certified for its long-term performance, guaranteeing the home’s longevity and sustainability.

Enhanced Sealing with CONEXO MULTISEAL Tape

In our pursuit of excellence in the Tuam project, the integration of CONEXO MULTISEAL tape played a pivotal role in achieving outstanding airtightness and windtightness. This phA certified tape is a cornerstone for creating durable, airtight connections around the home’s critical junctures, including membrane overlaps, window and door frames, and various penetrations such as pipes and wiring. The versatility and adaptability of CONEXO MULTISEAL ensure a seamless, airtight construction, contributing significantly to the home’s energy efficiency by minimizing energy leakage, thereby reducing the home’s carbon footprint.

CONIZO PATCH tapes – Ensuring Durability and Airtightness

Partel’s CONIZO PATCH tape plays a crucial role in achieving the high standards of airtightness required in low-energy and passive house constructions. This innovative tape is specifically designed to address the challenges of sealing openings in timber frame constructions, ensuring the integrity of the building envelope against air leakage and thermal bridging. Its unique paper-based, perforated design allows for easy application, creating durable, moisture-resistant seals around windows, doors, and service penetrations. The inclusion of fingerlifts on the longitudinal sides of the tape simplifies the application process, making it user-friendly and efficient. In this case, Conizo patches were used to seal the holes cut by the insulation installer, which were required to pump cellulose insulation in between the studs. Made from recycled newspaper, the use of cellulose insulation in this home was another environmentally conscious decision.

The combination of Izoperm Plus, Conexo Multiseal and Conizo tape, as well as careful attention to detail from Irish Eco Homes Ireland and the homeowner, resulted in a blower door of 0.46 m3/m2.h – more than 10 times tighter than the NZEB maximum air permeability.

The project achieved great U-values, significantly improving the building’s energy efficiency.

  • Insulated slab: 0.10 W/m2K
  • Walls: 0.14 W/m2K
  • Ceiling: 0.12 W/m2K

Optimizing Indoor Air Quality with VASCO Ventilation Systems

Recognizing the importance of maintaining optimal indoor air quality in a tightly sealed environment, the project incorporated VASCO’s centralized, low-energy consumption ventilation systems. Vasco’s cutting-edge solutions address the common challenges of conventional ventilation methods by ensuring a constant supply of fresh, filtered air, thus eliminating moisture, thermal bridges, and air quality issues within the home. These systems operate with remarkable silence and efficiency, featuring electrostatic and antibacterial filters that significantly reduce indoor pollutants and allergens. By automatically expelling polluted air and introducing fresh, outdoor air, VASCO ventilation systems contribute to a healthier, more comfortable living environment. This integration not only complements the timber frame’s natural sustainability but also aligns with our commitment to creating homes that support the well-being of their occupants.

Partel’s Services in This Project

The homeowner’s interaction with our team, from Dara McGowan’s passive house knowledge to the professionalism of the MVHR installers, has been overwhelmingly positive, highlighting the depth of understanding and support that we offer.

“I have found the Partel team extremely helpful and knowledgeable – my experience of dealing with different office staff (Dara, Allison, Shane, Gearóid) has all been positive. It’s clear that there is strong expertise in the Partel products and practices in the context of low-energy buildings. Dara McGowan’s passivhaus knowledge and engagement was particularly helpful in assessing/endorsing some of the decisions and workmanship. The MVHR installers were also helpful and professional. I had also watched a number of webinars where Hugh Whiriskey shared his expertise in very professional presentations – I learned a lot about low energy building methods there and was also impressed with a Galway company offering industry-leading services!” remarked the homeowner.

This level of engagement and the sharing of expertise through webinars & YouTube videos led by Hugh Whiriskey, the founder and CEO of Partel, showcases our commitment not only to delivering high-quality products but also to ensuring their effective implementation. The homeowner’s experience underscores our role as a pivotal educational resource and industry leader, empowering both homeowners and professionals with the knowledge and tools necessary for creating energy-efficient, comfortable living environments.

Conclusion: A Pioneering Approach to Accessible and Sustainable Living

The combination of Partel’s cutting-edge technologies with the timber frame’s natural insulative properties created an optimal living environment that is both energy-efficient and conducive to the family’s health and well-being. These materials exemplify a commitment to environmental stewardship. Our expertise and high-performance products have been instrumental in realizing a project that stands as a great example of modern, eco-conscious construction practices. This case study underscores the potential to achieve a delicate balance between creating a comfortable home that answers all family needs and mitigates its environmental impact, setting a new standard for future builds.



Recent News