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Dublin: 2°C Thursday 21 January 2021

100-year-old house? Here are a few tips for an energy-efficient upgrade

It’s easier than you may think.

IRELAND IS FULL of older houses and as the needs and circumstances of the owners have changed, so too have these properties – through renovations, upgrades and extensions.

Source: Mark Scott via DMVF Architects

But when your 100-year-old house needs a bit of a revamp, there are specific concerns and requirements – and that’s where architects DMVF Architects came in to their own.

Source: Mark Scott via DMVF Architects

Firstly, a big consideration is cohesion in design between old and new while incorporating more modern accommodations unknown in the Victorian era such as utility rooms and en-suites.

After that light, energy efficiency, rewiring, and plumbing are all high on the list of needs of this beautiful renovation in Co Wicklow.

dmvf.ie wicklow dining Source: Mark Scott via DMVF Architects

Architect Colm Doyle tells us about the property built around 1900 and in a conservation area. There was “a flat-roofed extension in poor condition” and the original windows had been ”replaced with poor quality double glazed uPVC windows which were in dreadful condition”.

Source: Mark Scott via DMVF Architects

As a qualified RIAI grade III accredited conservation practice, DMVF Architects were in an excellent position to provide experienced guidance on the best and most authentic way to upgrade this property – from the very beginning.

At sketch design stage we… proposed to rebuild the old flat-roofed extension on a similar footprint, but with a light-filled cathedral style roof structure…

This made for a light-filled extension as well as more light to the back of the ground floor – light being of prime importance to the client.

Source: Mark Scott via DMVF Architects

A one metre wide extension was provided to the TV room which… created a fully glazed wall into the back garden…

dmvf.ie wicklow house famil room Source: Mark Scott via DMVF Architects

The original windows had been removed long ago and replaced with uPVC ones – but they weren’t doing the business for the owners or architects.

In lieu of the existing uPVC windows we provided new double glazed painted hardwood sliding sash windows throughout the house.

Double-glazing is an important factor for energy efficiency and hardwood windows are more authentic to a house of this era.

dmvf.ie wicklow house hall2 Source: Mark Scott via DMVF Architects

Of course, a very specific concern in older house is the heating bill and so when renovating and refurbishing Colm was very concerned with energy efficiency – but there are limitations to how much can be done for a period house.

 Unlike a more modern house, it is not typically possible to provide external insulation or dry lining for conservation reasons.

Instead, lots of insulation was provided in the attic and with the upgraded windows and a Grade A boiler, things were looking a lot better in the energy efficiency department.

Source: Mark Scott via DMVF Architects

We also provided solar panels to the side face of the house, which faces south.

dmvf.ie wicklow house sitting room 2 Source: Mark Scott via DMVF Architects

Finally, a palette of greys from Farrow & Ball and Little Greene were used throughout to make the house ”elegant, bright and calm”.

See more work by DMVF Architects here

See more work by photographer Mark Scott here

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About the author:

Edel Corrigan

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