We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

renovation station

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.

Mark Scott Mark Scott

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.

Mark Scott Mark Scott

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. wicklow dining Mark Scott Mark Scott

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”.

Mark Scott Mark Scott

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.

Mark Scott Mark Scott

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

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. wicklow house hall2 Mark Scott Mark Scott

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.

Mark Scott Mark Scott

We also provided solar panels to the side face of the house, which faces south. wicklow house sitting room 2 Mark Scott Mark Scott

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

A walk in wardrobe? Yes, it’s an achievable dream.

How an amazing retrofit improved this Irish home’s energy rating by 90%