Ecological Building Systems

76 Posts , Viewing posts 57 to 63

Ask The Expert - Insulating a Roof

At the design stage, whether detailing a new build or retrofit, externally insulating a roof can be the most effective option to  upgrade thermal performance. This is especially pertinent if there is a living space in the roof.     

A local Architect asked the following questions regarding this subject recently: 

Why Should I Consider Specifying External Insulation on a Roof?


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Posted on Thursday, 19 May 2016

Ask The Expert - Thermally Upgrading Suspended Floors

Suspended floors are one of the leakiest and thermally inefficient elemetns of the fabric of older buildings, particularly where there are gaps between old floorboards.Upgrading Suspended Floors
While it is desirable to reduce heat loss in this area, one should take care that an improvement in thermal performance does not lead to condensation risk and moisture induced problems in the long term.  

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Posted on Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Ask The Expert Thermally Upgrading Suspended Floors

Suspended floors are one of the leakiest and thermally inefficient elemetns of the fabric of older buildings, particularly where there are gaps between old floorboards. Suspended Timber Floor
While it is desirable to reduce heat loss in this area, one should take care that an improvement in thermal performance does not lead to condensation risk and moisture induced problems in the long term.  

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Posted on Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Reflecting on the International Passive House Conference, Darmstadt 2016

I travelled once again to the International Passive House Conference which was held in Darmstadt, Germany from the 22nd to the 24th of April. The International Passive House Conference (IPHC) returned to Darmstadt, for its 20th anniversary, 25 years after the world’s first Passive House was built. The conference ran over 3 days, 2 days of over 100 seminars followed by guided tours of Passive Houses in the region on Sunday. Unfortunately, I could not attend the tours but I did attend a number of the seminars over the 2 days.

It is no surprise that the sustainability and durability of this standard came to the fore in many presentations at this year’s conference. While attaining a 90% reduction in the space heating requirements is an impressive feat, to be truly sustainable this must be maintained over the long term, a fact highlighted by the founder and director of the Passive House Institute, Wolfgang Feist in his presentation.

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Posted on Friday, 29 April 2016

Ecological Building Systems Airtightness & Woodfibre Insulation Masterclass Seminars


On the 10th and 12th of May Ecological Building Systems in conjunction with our German partners pro clima & GUTEX will offer a unique opportunity for architects to attend a series of Masterclass seminars focusing on the latest developments in delivering high performance, healthy low energy building. Details regarding this unique event may be downloaded from here.

Ecological Building Systems have been at the forefront of supplying Intelligent airtight and windtight building product solutions and natural insulations in Ireland for over 15 years. Their technical expertise and leading range of ecological products provide the highest specifications for diffusion open, healthy, low energy sustainable buildings using more natural materials.

This event will provide attendees the opportunity to speak directly to senior technical engineers from pro clima and GUTEX. Niall Crosson, Senior Engineer with Ecological Building Systems will also deliver a series of technical airtightness, vapour control and thermal insulation presentations highlighting the latest developments in high performance construction in Ireland. Practical demonstrations will also be provided by renowned Passivhaus tradesman, Roman Szypura of Clioma House ltd and experienced lime plasterer David Broderick of DB Plaster Ltd.

Ecological are honoured that Professor J. Owen Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Architectural Science, UCD, and chair of the Irish Green Building Council will open proceedings with a keynote address.




Michael Foerster has been lead technical engineer with pro clima for over a decade. He provides input to various technical and standards committees with a particular focus on air and windtightness membranes, tapes and durable sealing solutions. Michael has also published a number of building physics technical papers for pro clima. Michael will deliver a series of presentations outlining the latest developments on how to offset condensation risk in pitched and flat roofs. He will also outline key steps to ensure that a durable airtight and windtight specification is attained for the lifetime of a building.

Pro clima, based in Germany, are global leaders in the manufacture and development of Intelligent airtightness and windtightness solutions for over 3 decades. Pro clima have vast experience in providing robust airtightness solutions for both masonry and timber frame constructions. pro clima’s core focus is not only to attain optimum levels of air and windtightness in buildings, but to combine this with the highest possible levels of safety against condensation and mould growth by utilising more breathable, diffusion open membranes and seals.

Ulrich Wilms from GUTEX will deliver a series of woodfibre insulation seminars. Ulrich will outline how woodfibre thermal insulation is manufactured and the unique technical benefits of applying it to both new builds and retrofits. GUTEX have pioneered the development and manufacture of high performance wood fibre thermal solutions since 1932 based in the Black Forest in Germany. GUTEX wood fibre insulation boards are made from post-industrial recycled wood chips and shavings of spruce and pine. The boards are produced by using an innovative dry method, which is much less energy intensive than the conventional wet method and minimizes additions of binders and hydrophobic wax.  The result is the ultimate natural insulation material, with a wood content of 94-96% which has superb properties for interior and exterior applications. GUTEX produce many forms of woodfibre insulation, designed with specific characteristics and features for each element of the building fabric which may be utilised in new builds or retrofits.

Tea, coffee and lunch will be provided each day along with product samples and detailed specification guidance material. The seminars will run over 2 days, Tuesday the 10th and Thursday the 12th of May 2016 at Ecological Building Systems training centre in Athboy, Co. Meath. The booking fee is €50.00 per day.

Each attendee will receive a certificate of attendance with 5 structured CPD credits. Interested participants can book each day separately or both days together.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact Ecological Building Systems on 046 9432104. Places can be confirmed on

Spaces are limited for this one-off event and will be confirmed on a first come first served basis.


By Niall Crosson, Senior Technical Engineer, BTech,MEngSc, CEPHC. MIEI


046 94 32104;


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Posted on Monday, 4 April 2016

Diathonite Evolution Lime Cork Thermal Plaster Systems wins at RIAI Archi Expo 2015

Ecological Building Systems Diathonite Evolution Lime Cork Thermal Plaster Systems wins award at this years RIAI Architecture Expo



Ecological are pleased to announce that their DIASEN Diathonite Evolution Lime Cork Thermal insulating render system won the category "Best Interior Design" award at this years RIAI Architecture Expo hosted at the RDS, Dublin.


Diasen, based in Italy, have been manufacturing cork based diffusion open render systems since 1985.

When thermally upgrading single leaf masonry walls, it is critical not only to install thermally efficient materials, but also to ensure that the thermal solution does not impede the ability of the wall to continue to breathe. This is particularly important when dealing with solid brick or stone walls, which utilise a lime mortar and lime plaster systems. Unlike many modern impervious thermal insulation systems, Diathonite Cork thermal insulating plaster, is a breathable insulating plaster which provides the optimum combination of thermal performance and moisture management.

Many internal thermal insulating systems require that the existing wall be levelled with a suitable plaster prior to their application. Otherwise uninsulated cold air pockets between the internal insulation and an existing wall can lead to significant condensation risk. Unfortunately, single leaf masonry walls are often very uneven and may be difficult, costly and time consuming to level out.

On such walls a diffusion open insulating plaster system such as Diathonite Evolution presents the perfect solution to provide both a levelling plaster and thermal insulation in one while at the same time maintaining optimum levels of breathability and moisture management.

Diathonite Evolution is a thermal plaster based on NHL 3.5 lime & pure cork granules. Diathonite Evolution is a natural ecological render system suitable for internal and external use. The plaster system combines outstanding thermal performance with optimum vapour control and high mechanical strength. Diathonite is primarily manufactured from a combination of, cork, clay, lime and diatomaceous earth.


The combination of its range of diffusion open natural raw materials ensures Diathonite Evolution insulating plaster systems have an array of unique properties including:

  • Thermal Insulation: With a thermal conductivity of only 0.045W/mK, the plaster system attains excellent thermal resistance, which significantly increases the thermal resistance of solid walls.

  • High Thermal Mass: The insulating plaster system also features a high thermal mass, providing effective thermal insulation all year round.

  • The insulating plaster system features extremely high compression resistance (2.7 N/mm2), for increased robustness making it ideal for either internal or external use.

  • It is extremely diffusion open (breathable) with a µ value of only 4.

  • High Fire Resistance: The insulating plaster system has an extremely high fire resistance, is non-combustible and does not emit smoke (Euro class A1).

  • The plaster features extremely high elasticity, ten times more than that of traditional plaster systems, ensuring the risks of cracks are minimised.

  • Thanks to cork and its porous structure, Diathonite contributes to sound absorption and acoustic insulation.

  • The diatomaceous earth helps to reduce fluxes in humidity within the living space, providing optimum comfort and health levels.

  • The raw materials used in Diathonite Evolution are natural and nontoxic.

Once the plaster is applied, it may be finished with Diasen Argacem MP highly breathable finishing smoothening plaster. Alternatively, a lime based plaster may be applied internally.


Diasen’s range of products have attained the quality control certification ISO 9001, the environmental certification ISO 14001, and all their products comply with CE requirements.

The technical data sheet for Diathonite Evolution may be downloaded from here. The product also recently featured in the Conservation and Heritage Journal. A link to the article may be downloaded from here.

Ecological can provide details in relation to trained installers of the system on request.  

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Posted on Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Roof Refurbishment Renovation WUFI study

Roof Refurbishment Renovation pro clima WUFI study


Whether one wishes to retrofit existing buildings or optimise the thermal performance of new buildings, it is essential not only to consider improvements in thermal performance, but also, how modern building materials interact with existing structural elements.

Ecological have pioneered advanced support and guidance for specifiers for over 12 years now using the advanced dynamic hygrothermal modelling programmehe WUFI. WUFI is a useful decision support tool which allows users to interpret the hygrothermal impacts of a range of thermal solutions on the building fabric. pro clima have pioneered Inteliigent Airtightness and Vapour control solutions in both new constructions and retrofits for decades.

 In 2011 pro clima published an in-depth analysis of the impact of retrofitting existing roofs externally with a range of natural (such as GUTEX woodfibre and THERMO HEMP) and synthetic insulation materials and membranes. With the array of complexities which can often arise in roof retrofits, this study is more relevant today than ever before. Their study provides detailed guidance with regard to the thermal refurbishment of roofs with pro clima SOLITEX PLUS, DASAPLANO and INTESANA membranes.


This technical paper employs WUFI 1 dimensional and the more advanced WUFI 2 dimensional hygrothermal modelling program to analyse the impact of refurbishing existing roofs with a range materials.


The complete study may be downloaded from the following link: pro clima Roof Refubrishment WUFI Study


A complete range pro clima techincal details and drawings both in relation to roof retrofit and for new builds can be downloaded from the following link


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Posted on Thursday, 10 December 2015

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