near zero energy
in historic buildings

July 2021

Newsletter No. 4

Our latest newsletter is produced as we start to see the world transition from Covid 19 response to recovery.  It is heartening to see vaccines roll out and to consider that the world as we know it is beginning its journey back to normal, albeit a new normal.  18 months after the outbreak of the COVID‑19 crisis, the future certainly looks brighter.  Government restrictions are still in place and continue to restrict our travel plans but we are finally making plans to meet in person, hopefully, in the near future.    
We have adapted to the new world we find ourselves in and we have managed to achieve what we would scarcely have considered possible just over a year ago including a new explainer video for Energy Pathfinder and great progress has been made in the development of the project’s toolkit. 
We are proud to bring news of the most recent activities undertaken by Energy Pathfinder Partners, in this our fourth Newsletter.
Energy Pathfinder Toolkit
Fig. 1 Energy Pathfinder Toolkit, in development

Building owners and users need an online Toolkit that can be used to chart how Near Zero Energy standards can be achieved in historic buildings in different regions. In order to develop and demonstrate the toolkit, Energy Pathfinder is working with owners and other stakeholders through a participatory design process. The Toolkit will draw results from this co-design process as well as from an analysis of relevant retrofit measures and renewable energy installations, proposed or carried out on demonstrator buildings, to help owners decide what measures are most appropriate and effective to help their building. 

Fig 2. Energy Pathfinder’s Online Partner Meeting, April 2021

In late 2020, Energy Pathfinder partners set up a sub-group in order to progress the development of the toolkit and since then huge strides have been made to bring about a toolkit that will help inform owners and users of historic buildings about appropriate retrofit measures. 

We will bring more news of toolkit progress in future newsletters, as it progresses towards completion.

Energy Pathfinder Animation

It was always the ambition of the Energy Pathfinder Communications Work Package leader, NCE Insulation, to produce an animated video to explain the project, its aims and objectives.  We were fortunate to work with a talented Cork based animation company, Dogday Media to produce the video.  The result is a beautifully animated video which clearly communicates the aims and objectives of the Energy Pathfinder Project and beautifully illustrates the demonstrator buildings involved in each of the partner countries. 

Watch The Energy Pathfinder Video
Find Out More

Energy Pathfinder Webinar
Retrofitting Monitoring & Measuring Systems,
Cork City Council’s Experience
Fig. 3 Poster Advert for Energy Pathfinder Webinar 
On Monday 5th July 202 the fourth in our series of webinars took place.  Guest speaker for this event was Mr Brian Cassidy, CENG, FIEI, Senior Executive Engineer with Cork City Council. 
Brian joined Cork City Council’s social housing maintenance department in 2008 and is responsible for the retrofitting of Cork City Council’s social housing stock and for bringing the vacated social housing stock back into productive use. Brian has collaborated with both public and private bodies to improve the energy efficiency of Council homes through shallow, medium and deep energy efficiency retrofitting projects. Brian leads Cork City Councils team on a number of European Funded projects that seek to increase awareness of the need for retrofitting, demonstrate innovative approaches to reducing carbon consumption, and examine ways in which retrofitting can be done more productively. 
The focus of this webinar was on three projects that Brian is involved with that utilise monitoring and measuring systems, REDWoLF, Ministor and INTENSIFY, an Interreg project.
Fig. 4  Mr Brian Cassidy, Senior Executive Engineer, Cork City Council, presenting at Energy Pathfinder's Webinar.
If you missed this Webinar and would like to know more, click the link below to view the Webinar Recording. 
Click to View Webinar Recording
CCAE Students' Conservation Project at Myross Wood House

Cork Centre for Architectural Education (CCAE) is Energy Pathfinder’s Lead Partner.  CCAE provides professional Architecture degrees and one of its distinguishing features is the Building Conservation Module which students undertake in the third year of their five-year programme. As part of this module, CCAE students are set a design project which involves design for re-use, adaptation or extension to an existing and often historic building.

Figure 5: View from East of Myross Wood House in County Cork, a demonstrator in Energy Pathfinder: Towards Zero Energy for Historic Buildings research programme.

Myross Wood House is one of Energy Pathfinder project’s 8 demonstrator sites, in five different countries, and it was selected as a conservation related project for CCAE’s third year students.  Myross Wood House is a country estate with a large building built early in 1820 as a private house which has played a significant role for the local community as a centre for religious activity.  The house is not of outstanding architectural merit, but it is included in the National inventory of Architectural Heritage (of Ireland).
In 2020, three linked projects were set as assignments for 36 CCAE students, spanning a total of 10 weeks study:

  1. A case study of a successful building conservation project coupled with new development to bring new use to a long-established educational site owned by a religious order.
  2. design study - making an in intervention in the Myross Wood House fabric, with a view to linking the existing building to new development to provide a countryside annex to a city-based School of Architecture.
  3. major design project to produce plans for a new School of Architecture Annex on the grounds of Myross House, linked to the existing building.

 A fourth project was set for the students in their final semester to revisit & design in more detail, the intervention in the existing building.
Energy Pathfinder Partner, Kevin McCartney and Kevin Busby, both of CCAE have produced a paper “Combining Sustainable Design Education with Research on Pathway to Zero Energy Historic Buildings”, which describes the exercise in which externally funded research is closed linked with the Teaching and Learning of CCAE’s third year students. This paper examines the range of student proposed solutions, and the potential benefits of meshing a live research project into a teaching curriculum, which itself merged five distinct taught modules. 

At the time of writing the paper, a formal evaluation had not yet been carried out but anecdotal evidence points towards a conclusion that the collaboration between research and teaching, and the collaboration between five different subject modules created benefits for all stakeholders. The complete paper can be reviewed by following the link below.  The paper includes student outputs from their first and second semester work.

Find Out More
Green Skibbereen House Conference at Myross Wood House
The first day of Spring 2021 saw the launch of Green Skibbereen’s ambitious plans for Myross Wood House at their inaugural online Conference, Climate Action & Sustainability for West Cork.
Fig. 5  Agenda for Green Skibbereen Conference
Green Skibbereen is a not-for-profit community organisation, set up in 2020 by a number of friends who were disillusioned with progress on climate action in their local area in West Cork.  Director, Jim O’Donnell opened the event, outlining the group’s vision to “go after carbon”, to reduce or eliminate it in the greater Skibbereen area.  And by coming together and doing so, the group hopes to be an inspiration to other towns around Ireland.   

Myross Wood House is currently a demonstrator building with the Energy Pathfinder Project, and is a pilot for developing the co-design process, consulting with residents and future users on proposed energy works and energy management.

Caitriona Courtney, NCE’s Energy Hub Manager and Energy Pathfinder Partner, was one of a number of speakers and she gave some background on NCE’s Energy Hub.  Caitriona outlined SEAI’s Community Energy Grant, explaining how it is designed to get Communities working together to achieve energy savings across a range of projects. 

Jose Ospina, Green Skibbereen Director & Project Manager for Energy Pathfinder, explained the next steps for Climate Action in West Cork. He gave some background on his role in Carbery Housing Association and the work he had done in conjunction with NCE’s Energy Hub retrofitting houses.  He explained how his Project Management role for the Energy Pathfinder Project had led him to Myross House and to him questioning how a historic building can be kept in community ownership and given a new community role.
Jose outlined how, in the short term, the plan is to develop a Sustainable Energy Community at Myross Wood House. CECAS will be an inclusive, effective, practical and innovative centre for investigating and demonstrating practical solutions to Climate Change.

Exciting times lie ahead for Myross Wood House and we look forward to future updates and involvement with Green Skibbereen on this project. Click beliow to read the full report on Energy Pathfinder’s website.
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Energy Pathfinder is a project running from 2019 to 2022 with funding from the European Union, through the Interreg programme for the Northern Periphery and Arctic 2014-2020, and from the project partners, Cork Centre for Architectural Education, Historic Environment ScotlandLandsverkOulu University of Applied Sciences, Umeå University and NCE Insulation

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Energy Pathfinder · Energy Hub · Faranferris Education & Training Campus · Cork, Co · Ireland

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