Tomás' Blog

A blog by our very own Tomás O'Leary, Co-Founder of the Passive House Academy (with guest bloggers welcome): Giving an insight into the minds of those in the Passive House Community, a heavy dose of human spirit, a sprinkling of technical knowhow, and a splash of humor.

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Passive House and Chocolate. What’s not to love about Brussels!: Day 1

Lots of cities around the world talk about energy efficiency very much in the future tense – planning to reduce emissions by an impressively large percentage by the time we’re all retired or pushing up daisies. Not Brussels. They’re doing it right now, going about it very modestly with little fuss and delivering stunning buildings in the process. Having just spent three days in the city that wafts of yummy chocolate, I can honestly say that it’s on track to have the most energy efficient building stock in the world in the very near future. And it’s all down to the Passive House standard.

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Vampire Slayer

Have you noticed how many movies and TV series there are about vampires these days? My kids are hooked on these modern-day uber-good-looking blood suckers parading about the place. Little do they know that their very own dad is a vampire slayer himself!
We all have vampires in our homes, blood sucking parasites that drain away your energy day-in day-out. I went on the rampage recently to seek them out, and got quite a fright when I saw at first hand the extent of the damage. I was greatly helped by a clever little device which I’ve nicknamed the “Vamperator”. They cost very little, are easy to use and give you instant results.

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Flush me to the Moon!

Living in the countryside as we do, we’re 1 of 440,000 proud owners in Ireland of a DWWTS. A wha..? That’s a domestic wastewater treatment system, or more commonly known as a septic tank.
We’ve just had to have ours, emmm…, “emptied” is the best way of putting it. Whilst the liquids drain off from the septic tank into our percolation area, the solids (AKA poo and toilet paper…) gradually build up in the tank and at some point have to be ‘flushed away’ somewhere.

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Mind the (Winter) Gap

There’s lots of discussion right now about ‘Net Zero Energy’ homes – homes that over the period of a full calendar year produce as much energy as they consume from the grid. Energy ‘produced’ typically comes from solar panels of which there are two types, solar thermal (producing hot water) and solar ‘PV’ (producing electricity).
At the end of the year, a ‘Net Zero Energy’ home should be able to demonstrate that the total amount of energy taken off (purchased from) the grid equals (or is less than) the total amount of energy produced from the sun (or from wind in the case of wind turbines). They both cancel each other out, leaving you with ‘Net’ Zero.
Simple, right?

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