Miles Sampson Ecological & Sustainable Architecture Ireland

Miles Sampson News

30/06/2017 Wood on Wood in Woods.

This project has a beautiful setting among some existing mature trees, which really give the house a feeling of fitting into its surroundings. A previous design for the site, prior to us getting involved, would have required the removal of many of the existing trees which would have been a shame. After a detailed study of the trees and the path of the sunlight we choose a location for the house that would ensure that the existing trees were maintained, but would also give maximum daylight to the rooms of the house and provide a wonderful garden, that is an extension of the rooms, for the children to play. The house is constructed using timber frame, wrapped in wood fibreboard insulation, partially clad in timber cladding and filled with cellulose (recycled product derived from timber). Wood and timber derived products are fantastic carbon syncs which helps lock CO2 out of the atmosphere and protect the environment. All this detail ensure the house fits with its surroundings both visually and technically.



25/06/2017 Electric Car tour of Ireland.

Electric cars are becoming a viable transportation solution with almost all major car manufacturers now offering many models of electric vehicles (EVs). This is thanks is a large part to the hype surrounding the development and manufacture of Tesla cars by the iconic Elon Musk.

Anyway I decided to take the electric car on a day's around Ireland tour to see how it can be managed when pushed to the limit. It basically involved a Dublin-Galway-Limerick-Dublin drive over 14 hours and 3 meetings, which amounted to over 600 km in one day (I did not do this just for the fun, I also had to visit sites in the 3 locations in the one day).

I was driving the BMW i3 which has an all-electric range of about 180 km in real driving conditions. It also has an on board backup generator for emergencies, although this will only add an additional 100 km range on a full tank.

The first thing to be said about driving electric is that it is great fun and much more enjoyable than an internal combustion engine (ICE) car. I think that this has to do with the acceleration that an electric motor has and also almost all electric cars are automatic, so no fussing with changing gears. But the lack of noise and vibration is a surprising benefit, especially on long journeys as you do not feel as tired when you reach your destination.

Using an EV for regular commutes is very straight forward and 1000s of people do it every day, however doing a grand tour creates different challenges and these are the points that I discovered from my intensive day tour:

  1. There are more charging points in Ireland that one realises and thanks to the eCar app from ESB it is easy to locate and check the status of each charging point. Being able to see real time status is essential, because one needs to know if a charging station is occupied and what type of charger it is i.e. how fast it charges.
  2. There are a few different charging types which have different charging times. As in any new industry different companies/organisations have developed their own standards with different cars using the different standards. This results in the many of the charging stations being different from each other, so it takes a bit of getting used to. The BMW i3 can be charged at 3 different charge types, being slow, medium and fast. When on a long journey the charge points of interest are the fast ones, so it is essential to make sure that you will encounter one of these on route.
  3. Not all plug types signify the same charging power. You can find the same type of charging plugs on different charging stations giving different amounts of power. This has to do with how much power ESB supply to the point.
  4. Plan your journey and allow time for stops. These are a good idea anyway so that you can rest and take a break from driving, but also they can be productive time to answer emails and calls and even do some work on the laptop.
  5. Tell people in advance that you are driving electric and that you will want to plug in when you stop. Almost everybody is delighted to assist with an extension cable to plug into. On most domestic plugs it takes about half the night to charge the battery fully, so for an average site meetings I can get the battery half charged.
  6. I only found one charging point that was not working and this was not listed on the app, so maybe it has only just been installed and has not been commissioned yet. But in fairness to ESB they seem to keep the charging network to a good standard.
  7. I did not find any charging point occupied. I think that most EV owners fully charge their cars overnight at home and have a commute that does not require any additional charging. So public charging points seem to be readily available.
  8. Drive style makes a big different to energy consumption. A good thing about an EV is that you become much more conscious of the energy you are using and it is amazing how much you can save by just changing habits. The faster you drive the more air resistance the car has to deal with, and this increases proportionately with speed. The ideal speed is 80km/h, but this is a bit slow on motorways, although it is the average speed on the majority of Irish roads. In this regard there is a large difference in energy use between 120km/h and 130km/h, so not breaking the law by speeding also has a great benefit on the environment. And keeping a good charge in the battery lets you enjoy the acceleration of an all-electric drive when it is needed. Having said this EVs have no problem driving at the same speeds as ICE cars, and it is just a case of being sure you have sufficient battery to do it.
  9. Continuing with drive style the aggressive breaking-acceleration of the car does consume much more energy. Most EVs have regenerative breaking (they turn breaking action into charge for the battery), but this is not effective if one slams the breaks on. So by having a more relaxed driving style does not only save energy, it also means you and your passengers will reach the destination feeling more rested.

The world of motoring is anxiously awaiting the imminent arrival of the Tesla Model 3; which will be a game changer. This is not because the Model 3 will be so much better than other EVs already on the market. The Nissan Leaf practically has an equally good specification and has been on the market for years. The big difference is the dedicated Super Charging network. Because Tesla have their own charging stations they can ensure that the speed of charge and the car specification are optimised to the maximum (Tesla Supercharge can deliver 120kW, the alternative fastest is 45kW, this is 266% more power). This results in consistent super charging speeds and the knowledge that the charge stations are not occupied by any other EV brand owners. Already they have 8 super charging points on the motorway between Dublin and Cork, so this journey is already easily doable in a Tesla car. And with new charging stations coming online near Limerick and Kinnegad getting around Ireland in the Model 3 will so much easier when they become available this summer (that is if you pre-ordered yours). With varying estimates of between 400k and 600k pre-orders it is clear the Model 3 will be a huge success.

EVs are the future of motoring and it makes me feel really positive about the future. For people with a regular commute it requires very little change in habit and EVs are ideal for this type of journey. For people like me who have to do visit various parts of the country on an irregular schedule it requires more preparation and planning, but what I have found is that it is possible and even very rewarding to arrive more relaxed while helping protect the environment.



14/04/2017 Planning Permission Granted in Glounthaune.

Cork County Council have granted planning permission for a new dwelling house we designed in Glounthaune, Cork, Ireland. The design employs a clever use of levels and inverting the activities to maximise the use of the small site to take full advantage of sunlight and passive solar gains. The stone walls of existing structures on the site are retained to create a private garden and maintain the existing country road vista. The principal elevation of the house that faces south has a large glazed wall where the glazing is inspired by woods and trees surrounding the site. This glazed facade will become a feature not just for natural sunlight and views, but also as a beautiful object in its own right. The building will be constructed using sustainable building practices and super high levels of insulation. Below are images of initial concept sketches.



08/04/2017 Curvey Roof.

The curvey roof of the house we designed is receiving its finishing touches and it looks amazing with the view over Lough Derg from near Portroe in County Tipperary. The curves of the roof mimic the profile of the mountain behind the house. Making a roof this complex has been a real challenge, but all the effort is paying off as it receives its finishing touches. See image below of the aluminium edge trim. Look at the shape of the shadow that the roof casts on the wall.



03/04/2017 Sustainable to the Minute Detail.

The images below show the level of detail we go to in terms of sustainability. The roof was clad in salvaged natural slate, which is not only extremely sustainable as a material, it is also naturally weathered and beautiful. The groves in the timber show the outer edge of the window frame before it was fitted. It is a passive certified window frame, but uses only air as the insulate in the frame by an ingenious design of a series of groves and voids. This avoids chemical based insulates that are often used. More detail of the project can be seen in the latest issue of Passive House Plus: www.passivehouseplus.ie.



24/03/2017 Latest Project to be Published.

Passive House Plus, the leading Irish and UK sustainable building magazine, has just published an extensive article on the new house we designed in Craughwell in County Galway. The photos in the article show how the house has been designed to fit nicely into its existing surroundings of mature trees and natural dry stone walls. The project is an exemplar example for one off houses in Ireland and will be certified to passive house standard as well as almost producing as much energy as it uses. See the latest issue 20 at the website www.passivehouseplus.ie or in all good bookshops. Great work by contractor GreenTec, more photos to follow in due course.



08/03/2017 Extension in Ballyvaughan Granted Planning.

Clare County Council has granted planning permission for our extension design to an existing house and B&B with views of Galway Bay in the town of Ballyvaughan in Co. Clare. The design is contemporary in style which helps minimise the volumetric addition to the house by having a single story link to the existing house which is finished in a grass roof. The extension is clad in profiled metal cladding which is similar to the utilitarian buildings found in the adjacent fields. The extension has also taken advantage of the slope of the site to ensure that the extension is full of daylight and has direct access to the sunny south facing garden (something the existing house did not have). Below are elevation drawings showing the proposed extension.



06/01/2017 Zinc Cladding in the Burren nears Completion.

The shape of the extension to this house has been inspired by the vernacular farm sheds in the area and sits well beside the existing cottage. However it has been partially clad in zinc, a contemporary material, which is fitting beside the abundant limestone paving of the Burren which can be seen out of the windows of the extension. From the bay window addition there is a view across Galway Bay to Galway City. The project in located near the town of Kinvarra. The zinc cladding has been complete on the extension but the link still needs to be completed. The link will have a growing sedum roof, a material that is also fitting with the karst landscape of the Burren.



02/12/2016 Mirrored House nearing Completion.

The mirror clad house in county Wexford nears completion and the photo shows the corner of the house as it blends into the sky. Sourcing a mirror that could be use externally and toughened was a challenge for the project. Many options were considered; bathroom mirror, acrylic mirror, polished aluminium, polished stainless steel, coated glass. In the end persistence paid off and we sourced a mirror that could be toughened and used externally to achieve the desired effect.



05/11/2016 Photovoltaic Electric Producing Roof.

While the focus on America is the mud throwing presidential race between Clinton and Trump a truly great announcement was made in America this week by Elon Musk; Tesla Solar Tiles www.tesla.com. By scaling up manufacturing he promises to offer roofs that can produce electricity for the price of normal roofs and look good too. To be honest this is a no brainer, every building has a roof that gets sunlight and at the time of construction it takes no extra effort to turn a standard roof into an electricity producing roof (once the right products are available on the market). This is something that we are already doing with a number of projects, see photo below of photovoltaic solar panels integrated into a new roof using recycled by recovery natural slates. This project located in Craughwell, Galway in Ireland is already producing electricity for the home owners, and the house looks great too. We are delighted about the Tesla announcement and look forward to their solar tiles becoming available worldwide.



21/10/2016 Curvy Roof Ready for Grass Finish.

Great to see the amazing shapes of this curvy roof on the house we designed overlooking the skyscape on Lough Derg. It is now waterproof and ready for the grass finish. Credit to everyone involved to make it happen and get the shapes of the roof right.



23/09/2016 Green house in Cork nears completion.

Photos of a house that we designed in Cork nearing completion. The photos shows the attention to detail to expose the underside of the profiled metal roof and exposed roof joists. On close inspection the alu-clad window frames are buried into the cladding which gives a seamless transition from timber to glass. This house is not just green in its finished colour, it will also be certified to Passive House standard, one of the most energy efficient standards in the world.



16/09/2016 Curved and Timber nears Completion.

Some images of the house we designed beside Corrandulla in County Galway nearing completion. The curve of the roof has a number of benefits for the design (a) The curve is a familiar shape in the area because of the hay barns that are dotted around the landscape, in fact one sits just behind the house and can be seen in the photo below (b) The roof curves up to the south side giving larger south facing windows and spacious rooms to the south which helps fill the house with natural sunlight which also helps reduce heating bills.




10/09/2016 Surprise Surprise!

Our design for a house with a surprise is nearing completion near Craughwell in Co. Galway. The road elevation gives the impression of a traditional design, although the glass entrance porch gives a hint to the contemporary design that lays behind. The rear elevation is indented to give maximum connection to the beautiful wooded location and is clad in timber cladding to reinforce the connection to the trees. The house is being constructed by GreenTec to PassivHaus standards.



26/08/2016 Planning Granted in Co. Mayo.

Mayo County Council have granted permission for a rural dwelling house designed by us for a site with distant views of Croagh Patrick. The design is inspired by traditional rural dwellings of the area and looks to arrange the building around a courtyard which gives protection from the prevailing winds in this west of Ireland location.



18/08/2016 Children in Architecture.

Miles Sampon took his children to visit one of his buildings that is under construction in Co. Wexford. A substantial part of the house is clad in mirror cladding and once his children were positioned correctly they became part of the architecture. The mirror cladding a great way of keeping the exterior of the building dynamic. It never looks the same each time one looks at it.



12/08/2016 Planning Granted in Ballina/Killaloe.

Tipperary county council have granted planning permission for our design on a infill plot in the town of Ballina beside Killaloe and overlooking Lough Derg. The design took the novel approach of putting the living spaces on the first floor to take maximum advantages of the view of the lake. The design also intelligently modified the contours of the site to ensure that the kitchen and main entrance door would have ground level access. Work is now underway in preparing the project for construction. Below is a photomontage of the proposed house when view from the street.



06/11/2015 Curved roof over Derg view under way.

The construction of the timber frame is underway at this stunning location overlooking Lough Derg and Co. Clare. The photos below show the amazing work of the timber frame contractor in making the box beam that frames the view has been crafted with amazing talent thanks to Mattie O'Malley timber frames.



18/05/2015 Planning Granted overlooking Lough Derg.

The house design by Miles Sampson for a site near Ballina in Co. Tipperary has been granted planning permission. The design was inspired by the profile of Arra Mountains when seen from across the lake and the roof of the house reflects this shape. The design also uses passive house design principals which put the maximum amount of glazing on the south side. In this case the glazing will allow views of Lough Derg and fill the house will sunlight, particularly the evening sun. Below is a rendered elevation of the proposed building.



29/10/2014 Passive House near Kinsale Invites you to Visit.

Our passive house completed near Kinsale in Co. Cork will open its doors to visitors as part of the Passivhaus Days and the Near Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) Open Doors on Sunday the 9th of November. To arrange a visit contact us on 061 749975 or alternativilly you can book a visit at the website: www.nzeb-opendoors.ie Below is an image of the house under construction.



27/09/2014 Planning Granted near Kinsale, County Cork.

The latest design by Miles Sampson has been granted planning permission by Cork County Council on a coastal site near the village of Ballinspittle not far from Kinsale in Co. Cork. The design has used inspiration from traditional local farm buildings to create a new modern family dwelling that is in keeping with its site and surroundings. It also uses passive house design principals to reduce energy consumption and allows the building have ample glazing on the sunny side of the house thereby creating sunlight filled spaces throughout the house. The sketch below demonstrates how the design fits in with its rural surroundings.



10/09/2014 Miles Sampson Interviewed by We Can Change It (WCCIT) TV

Miles Sampson was interviewed by WCCIT tv, a channel dedicated to spreading information about sustainable and social solutions to the greatest challenges facing the world today. Miles spoke about the ready solutions there are to minimising the impact society has on the environment through buildings and architecture, and how this is by far the easiest and most rapid way to have a beneficial impact on the environment using currently available technology. To view the interview see: www.creacionmultimedia.com.



23/08/2014 Burren Perfumery Latest Building Completed

The latest building for the Burren Perfumery in Co. Clare has been completed. It has been built using timber frame structure and traditional corrugated metal roof. The photo below shows it photographed on mid summers evening when the sun was setting. For more information on the Burren Perfumery and their great cafe see www.burrenperfumery.com.



28/06/2014 Planning Permission Granted in Terenure for Large Extension and Deep Renovation

We have obtained planning permission from Dublin City Council for the complete refurbishment and extension to a semi-detached house in the Greenlea area of Terenure. The renovation will enlarge the house to a 6 bedroom house with an ideal west facing rear garden. External insulation, passive levels of airtightness and a whole house ventilation system will ensure the house is both comfortable and healthy to live in. Included below are the proposed road elevation and an early design sketch from the rear garden.



14/05/2014 Planning Permission Granted in Cork's A1 Green Belt for New House

Cork County Council have decided to grant planning permission for a new passive house near the city in Cork's A1 green belt. The design is a reinterpretation of traditional farm buildings to create a modern passive house. The house has been located to maximise orientation with ample daylight and sunlight from the south. It has been sited to take full advantage of the existing mature gardens and trees.See sketch images below

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14/03/2014 Waldorf Steiner school granted planning permission

Clare County Council have decided to grant planning permission for another Waldorf Steiner School designed by us on a beautiful site in the town of Ennistymon. The chosen site is full of character with mature wooded areas, a natural pond and many hills and hollows. These features initially presented a challenged to the design team, but by embracing the existing landscape a design was created that harmonises with the character of the site. See axonometric of initial design proposal below. For more information on Ennistymon's Waldorf Steiner School visit their website at: www.steinermolanoigens.org. They have embarked on a unique initiative to fund the school by crowd funding, see the website: www.buildmolanoige.org.



13/11/2013 Update from the West Coast - Liscannor

The skies rumble overhead as another project nears completion. See photos below. The site on the west coast of Ireland is made even more dramatic by the ever changing skyscape. We have captured some photos that highlight some of the features of the house; the glass balasrade and the natural drystone cladding. If you look close you can spot the fossils in the stone work. The stone was excavated from the site and the craftsmanship of the stonemason is evident.



24/09/2013 Barrel View House Featured on Passive House Website

Our latest house to be completed near Kinsale in County Cork is now available to view on the official passive house website. See webpage here. We have not had the house fully certified but nevertheless it still following passive house principals and uses many passive house features and products.

The house has been cleverly designed so that the open plan kitchen, dining and sitting room have views to the ocean at Old Head and across the Derrynasaggart Mountains to the north while enjoying the curved ceiling over the whole space. This was a challenge within the planning constraints of the site but the resulting design has overcome the constraints to produce a house that makes the most of the features of the site.

Below is a photograph of the house nearing completion.



11/09/2013 Early Decision to Grant Planning Permission.

We are delighted to announce that Clare County Council have decided to grant planning permission one and a half weeks ahead of their deadline for a new dwelling house near Mountshannon. Thanks to our extensive work in preparing the design and presenting the design the Planning Authority had no hesitation in making the decision to grant permission. We are now looking forward to building the low energy, low maintenance building on this beautiful site.

Below is an early sketch of the proposed design.



29/03/2013 Steiner School is granted Planning Permission .

We are delighted to announce that Clare County Council have decided to grant planning permission for a new permanent classroom building at Ireland's oldest established Waldorf Steiner School, Raheen Wood School www.raheenwood.org. We have designed the building to follow both anthroposophical beliefs on architecture and sustainable building methods which will create a supportive environment for learning for many generations to come. Clare CoCo made the decision to grant planning permission two weeks ahead of schedule in a positive sign of support for the project.

Below is a watercolour image of the main entrance to the new building which will be situated in the woods of the exiting school.



17/03/2013 Planning granted in Co Wexford.

Wexford County Council has decided to grant planning permission for our unique design for a new family house in the rural countryside. Due to the elevated nature of the site we successfully made a design that ensures that the house will blend into the countryside, something that was appreciated by the planning authority. It was a challenge to create a design that following passive house principals and maximising advantages of the views. See image below of the initial sketch proposal.



09/03/2013 Our design for a Steiner School.

We have successfully completed the master plan for the site of a Waldorf Steiner School in Ennistymon, Co. Clare. Our design for the new primary school building follows antroposofical architecture criteria. The building is also designed following passive house principals which emphasise the use of high levels of insulation and good orientation to reduce energy used for running the building. The site creates a number of challenges due to its hilly nature, but the school layout will take advantage of the contours to create a welcoming and embracing structure as the new home of Waldorf Steiner Education in West Clare. To see more information and some images of the proposed school visit the following website www.buildmolanoige.org


02/02/2013 Eco House in the Eco Village.

Planning permission has been granted for another eco house in The Eco Village in Cloughjordan. The Eco Village is growing all the time and now has a critical mass that gives it a strong sense of community. The chosen site presented some challenges; a small footprint and overshadowing, but thanks to our innovative design we have manage to maximise the potential of the site and produce a unique and attractive design. See image below. The building will include eco features such as timber frame structure, timber cladding, up-cycled newspaper insulation, planted roofs, biomass district heating system etc. See the link www.thevillage.ie for more information about the largest eco village in Ireland.


15/11/2012 Passive House granted Planning Permission in Co. Galway.

Galway County Council has decided to grant planning permission for a passive house near the town of Claregalway. The planning authority requested no changes to the design despite its unusual contemporary appearance. See image below. The proposed design makes the most of the site and its context; maximising views, the use of the garden, natural daylight and direct sunlight.


27/10/2012 Passive House Open Days .

The fully certified passive house that we completed will be open to the public for the Passive House Open Days 2012. The owners have kindly agreed to open their doors to the public on Saturday the 10th of November. Please email info@milessampson.com or call our office on 061 749975 to obtain more information and arrange visits.


10/10/2012 Planning Secured for Online Delivery Restaurant.

We have recently secured full planning permission for the Online Delivery Restaurant in Phibsborough, Dublin. Against all the challenges in securing planning permission for such a facility in the city, Dublin City Council appreciated the presentation our team compiled and granted the facility full planning permission. Online Delivery Restaurants are a new concept which fuses the ideal of a restaurant dining experience with the comfort of being at home. The online delivery restaurant is operated by Camile www.camile.ie, who are renowned for their quality Thai cooking using the freshest ingredients.


11/09/2012 Miles Sampson gives presentation to 10th anniversary Passive House Conference.

Miles Sampson will present our recently constructed certified passive house to the annual See the Light Conference in City West, Dublin. The See the Light conference is organised by the Passive House Association of Ireland and The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland. The See the Light Conference coincides with the Self Build and Improve your Home Show that is also being held at City West. The project Miles will be presenting is the Patchwork Quilt House which also has many other sustainable features in addition to being Passive House Certified. It is built using low carbon construction techniques and has eco finishes like the grass roof and bamboo flooring. Supplementary heating and hot water are provided by solar panels and a wood pellet stove, which all fit into our criteria for eco architecture. For more details about the project see http://milessampson.com/patchworkquilt.html

To down a brochure of the conference click here.

To see more information about the conference see the Passive House Association website www.phai.ie


23/08/2012 Irish President speaks in front of our Apartment Building in the Eco Village.

A recent speech by Irish President, Michael D. Higgins, known for his passionate speeches and controversial views is available on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=jl9nnr1ox90 The speech took place in the Eco Village in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary, Ireland to the backdrop of the eco apartment building designed by Miles Sampson Sustainable Architecture | Innovative Design. The architecturally designed building features a double facade that gives privacy and screening on the sunny side of the building and this feature can clearly be seen in the video.

01/07/2012 Another Planning Permission granted for our design in The Village.

Miles Sampson Sustainable Architecture | Innovative Design has secured full planning permission for yet another house in Irelands foremost eco development, The Village in Cloughjordan. Out team work relentlessly to achieve a design to meet the client's needs and that would be granted planning permission without any difficulties. The Village is now partially habituated and has a vibrant and active community. It includes an eco-district heating system powered by solar panels and a wood chip boiler. Many other designs by our team are now completed and lived in and include sustaninable materials like cellulose insulation, timber frame construction and timber cladding. To see more about follow the link www.thevillage.ie

03/04/2012 Patchwork Quilt House Receives full Passive House Certification.

Our ″Patchwork Quilt″ house, located in County Cork, has received full passive house certification from the Passiv Haus Institute in Germany. The house has an extremely good volume to surface area ratio, which means that it has been able to achieve the passive standard with lower levels of insulation than would be required in a more spread out house. The appearance breaks away from the typical idea associated with a compact form passive house. It is anything but boring and the surfaces and rooflines have been designed to benefit the passive achievements while reflecting the landscape of the area where it is located. The client, who were very involved during every stage of the build, are delighted with the certification and look forward to welcoming visitors during the passive open house day later in the year.

03/01/2012 Septic Tank Inspections and Maintenance.

Irish rural home owners have been relatively lucky to date with the minimal costs that are involved in owning septic tanks. Unfortunately the relaxed regulation has meant that ground water is being polluted and this is affecting drinking water (a situation that nobody wants). The situation is about to change as the European Court of Justice has ruled that the Irish government have not been giving enough due diligence to the matter. See update from minister for the environment.

But the costs of registration (suggested to be €50 every 5 years) will be one of the lower costs associated with running at wastewater treatment system. Some other costs that people are not initially aware of are:

  1. Electricity to run the majority of the new types of systems. The majority of the systems on the market have some type of motor or compressor. This runs constantly or frequently and therefore consumes a constant amount of electricity.
  2. Desludging. All tanks need desludging periodically and this can only be done by a licenced contractor, which has associated costs. As regulations tighten up this is something that will need more attention.
  3. Replacement parts to systems. Most new systems that contain motors, pumps, compressors and other mechanical parts will inevitably wear out or fail. These parts will have to be replaced which involves the cost of the new parts plus the cost of the repairer.
We have experience in dealing with many types of systems and can help recommend the best solution to save money and help protect the environment.

10/12/2011 Construct Ireland Magazine Article now Available Online.

Our eco renovation and extension of a terrace house in Stillorgan, Co. Dublin has been featured in the prominent Construct Ireland Magazine. The renovation involved stripping the house and upgrading the insulation to super levels. The extension is built predominantly with timber frame construction, which allows for higher levels of insulation to be fitted. The extension roof is covered with Sedum so that views from the upstairs windows are pleasing. A whole house mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery is fitted. This reduces heat loss by ventilation and ensures that the inhabitants are living with fresh air and no mildew from to high levels of humidity. To read the article click here.

01/12/2011 Faster charging points for electric cars.

It has been announced that faster charging points have now been developed for electric cars that reduce charging time to 1 hour. Why is this significant? Well one of the main benefits of electric cars is that they will be able to store energy produced by renewable energy when there is surplus production. This will happen mostly overnight when the car is plugged in at the home of the owner. This electricity will be cheap. But as everybody is aware one of the major shortcomings of electric cars is their drive range on one charge of the battery, currently up to 200km. This is where fast charging points will become very important. Fast charging points will be located at motorway stops and car parks in city centre locations. This will mean that one will be able to travel across the country with an electric car. By taking a recommend safety break and lunch at one of the motorway stops the car can be fully charged. Also if you arrive in the city and see that you are running low on juice, then you can park and charge while you pick up a few things in the shops or attend a meeting. When you return to the car it will be ready to continue its journey. Of course this ″quick juice″ will probably be more expensive than the slow night charge; however it will still be much cheaper than current petrol prices. But why are electric cars so important to the environment. Well transportation is one of the areas that energy will always be needed. It is a law of physics that in order for movement to happen, energy is required. Buildings on the other hand can currently be built to consume no energy and even generate a surplus. On the other side of the equation Ireland has the potential to generate huge amounts of renewable energy. Wind power and wave power alone will have huge production. For people who want to live self-sufficiently they can generate their power for the electric car with onsite renewables. So the electric car is the perfect marriage between using this plentiful supply of renewable energy and making transportation more environmentally friendly. Click here for more informaiton.

11/11/2011 Construct Ireland features the Campill renovation project.

Construct Ireland, the largest construction related magazine in Ireland, has featured the eco renovation we undertook of one of Camphill's Dublin properties. The renovation and extension of the 1950's terrace house for use as a ″co-living″ residence for people with intellectual disabilities was undertaken in a sustainable manner. From the selection of materials to the superinsulation of the building fabric, no area of the build was left unchecked. See Issue 7, Volume 5 for the full article. Check their website for newsagent outlets www.constructireland.ie

07/11/2011 Miles Sampson comments on the recent Medium-Term budget announcement.

Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, has just announced the medium-term fiscal statement. There are two trends that home owners and people thinking of building should take note of.

  1. Property Tax which will start out as a ″Household Charge″ is being introduced. When it is fully implemented it will be based on a valuation of the property. A substantial part of the value assigned to the property will be based on the square meter area of the property. That will basically mean that the bigger the house the more you pay. People thinking of building a new house should be very prudent about the size of the house; but smaller houses are not necessarily worse as we now know from the excessive ″McMansions″ that have been built all over the country. A good architect or designer will create a beautiful house that feels spacious and is functional without being excessively large. Using techniques like maximising sunlight and built-in furniture will make a home that is a joy to live in but will not cost a fortune in property tax.
  2. Carbon Tax is already happening, but it is due to constantly increase in years to come. Carbon tax is basically a government tax put on fuels that create carbon changing gases and harm the environment, so the more fuel you use the more you pay. It is a way of encouraging people to live more energy efficient lives. A passive house is one of the most efficient types of houses that can be built and they are currently no more expensive to build than regular houses, so anybody thinking of building a new house would be foolish to build anything to a lesser standard. Miles Sampson BArch can also offer designs that will earn you money instead of costing you money by producing energy that you can sell. Thankfully even existing houses can be upgraded to save energy and therefore save the amount that has to be paid on carbon taxes.
Be prepared for the future and avoid ever increasing costs by talking to us today.

28/10/2011 Promoting home grown vegetables.

G.I.Y. is a charity setup to promote and support growing vegetables and fruit at home for the kitchen. This is an ambition of many people, but they often get put off by early failed attempts. G.I.Y., abbreviated for Grow It Yourself, aims to help and support people who want to grow their own vegetables. The advantages of growing your own vegetables are numerous, including:

  1. Home grown vegetables do not have to travel, so no energy is used or pollution generated for transporting the produce to the kitchen table.
  2. Home grown vegetables normally use ″man-power″ to do the manual work. Humans are much more efficient machines than tractors and harvesters; therefore far less impact is made on the environment.
  3. Working in the garden is good exercise and helps avoid the epidemic of obesity.
  4. Showing children how to grow food gives them a better appreciation of food nutrition and helps them enjoy vegetables they may otherwise not want to try.
  5. Spending time in the garden is a good and productive reason to be outdoors, something that is a good antidote to many peoples office/factory job lifestyle.
  6. Home grown food is normally organic, which is generally healthier.
  7. Organically grown food has less embodied energy because it has less fertilizers and pesticides, therefore it uses less scare resources and puts less pressure on the environment.
  8. Home grown food costs very little, which helps give important savings in these recessionary times.
  9. Growing vegetables and fruit in the garden means you do not have to cut the lawn. What better than to have a garden that provides for you?
  10. And now G.I.Y. offers a support network to make it much easier. See www.giy.ie

17/10/2011 Planning permission granted by Galway CoCo for new eco house.

Galway County Council have granted planning permission for a new super eco house in Craughwell, Co. Galway. This projects aims to act as an exemplar project in sustainable building of one off rural houses. To ensure that the ambitious aims of this project are achieved, a 3 fold approach to the build will be applied; (1) build to certified passive house standard (2) achieve an A plus Building Energy Rating BER (3) build low carbon construction. The style of the house mixes the advantages of traditional and contemporary design to take maximum advantages of the site and make a light filled house that costs nothing to run. The planners acknowledged the importance of this quality design in their report when they commented ″The proposed development of a passive house using sustainable building methods and materials and which maximises the natural sun path is to be welcomed and encouraged″. www.GreenTec.ie has been appointed the contractor for the project. A blog has been setup by the client to follow the construction of the dwelling. To follow click on www.zerocarbonpassivehouse.com

15/08/2011 Easy Urban Farming

A new initiative in Canada is turning boring back lawns into productive organic gardens; alas without all the hassle. In the city of Calgary a team called Leaf and Lyre Urban Farmers www.leafandlyre.com will take over your back garden, even if it is small, and use it to grow organic vegetables for local markets and restaurants. In return you can eat as much fresh organic vegetables as you like and get your garden maintained. The concept also creates a community of likeminded people and helps urban dwellers get an understanding of one of the basics requirements of survival; food. This arrangement has many advantages, including food security and reduced food miles. The initiative is based on the SPIN (S-mall P-lot IN-tensive) farming method www.spinfarming.com which is spreading across Canada. We are looking forward to this initiative starting on this side of the Atlantic, especially in Ireland where there is a high percentage of suburban dwellers that have gardens ideal for this kind of initiative.

03/07/2011 Solar Impulse finishes its European tour

Solar Impulse is a solar powered aeroplane that flies without the need for any fuels. It can even fly through the night! All power is generated onboard via the solar array and is stored in onboard batteries for night flight. Solar Impulse ambition is to circumnavigate the world. It has now successfully completed its tour of Europe, stopping in Brussels and Paris. The success of these flights prove that long distance flight using renewable energy is possible. See www.solarimpulse.com for more details.

09/05/2011 Full planning permission for dwelling on Cork Costal Site

Cork County Council has granted full planning permission for a Miles Sampson designed 2 storey dwelling on a prominent costal site, despite restrictions on building height. The house design uses inspiration from traditional structures of the area to achieve a stylish, compact, sustainable architecture for the clients, who are delighted to have full planning permission for the house of their dreams.

15/02/2011 British building company publish Passiv Haus video

The Green Building Store in the UK has published an online video about their experience constructing the first passive house dwelling in the UK. This informative video explains all aspects of the design, construction and components of a passiv haus. To view follow this link. Miles Sampson BArch are currently finishing a unique passive house in Ireland, which will be available to view online shortly. Check back regularly for updates.

09/10/2010 permission for dwelling on Costal Site

Clare County Council has granted permission for a dwelling on a costal site, where the client had had previous difficulty in getting permission. The permission was grant without trouble when submitted by Miles Sampson BArch and the client are delighted to finally have permission to be able to build.

24/06/2010 Another permission granted in the Eco Village

Miles Sampson BArch has received permission for yet another dwelling in the Eco Village in Cloughjordan. The permission came through without any delays or requests for changes although the designed featured some unique curved features.

21/06/2010 3 storey grass roofed house

Permission has been granted for a 3 storey dwelling house in the Eco Village. The design also features a curved tower section and grass roof. Permission was granted without any delays.

28/05/2010 Timber clad and grass roof dwelling granted permission

North Tipperary County Council has decided to grant full planning permission for a uniquely designed dwelling in the Eco Village in Cloughjordan by Miles Sampson BArch. The building was designed following their stated principals; sustainable architecture and innovative design. This enabled the designers to be awarded a grant of permission for a fully timber clad building with a grass sod roof, which is notoriously difficult to be awarded in rural areas. In addition to the use of natural materials, the house is designed to maximise passive solar gains by placing the majority of the glazing to the south with minimal openings on the north. Miles Sampson BArch is now making preparations along with the client to prepare for the construction of this unique building.

23/04/2010 Fire Safety and Disability Access Certificates granted

Miles Sampson BArch has been granted the fire safety certificate and disability access certificate for the timber framed apartment building located in the Eco Village in Cloughjordan in Tipperary. Although timber frame construction is a relatively new construction method for apartment buildings in Ireland, extensive consultation and attention to detail ensured that the design was passed by building control. The apartment building has been custom designed to the client's wishes, allowing the owners to live a more sustainable lifestyle in surroundings that meet their every need. The building has many ecological features, including; planted roof, extensive timber cladding, recycled newspaper insulation, timber frame structure, connection to district heating system etc. During the design phase, a great deal of attention was given to important aspects of the building, like abundant natural daylight for all apartments and ample external open space, which has produced a design of superior architectural merit. Construction is anticipated to start on site early this summer.

22/09/2009 Orders being taken for 1st serious electric car

Combating the energy used in transportation is one of the great challenges we face in dealing with climate change and CO2 reduction. It seems clear that the solution will not depend on one new invention or solution; it is going to require a many different approaches to dealing with the problem. And one of the most important elements will be the use of electric cars run on renewable energy. Bluecar, a joint venture between Bollore and Pininfarina looks like it will be the first to offer an electric car that does not look like a teenage box car, and a car that can actually cover enough distance to make it useful in Ireland. This is especially important to Ireland, because it has a higher than average amount of people living rurally. The things that make electric cars are so important are:

  1. A huge amount of transportation is taken by commuting to work or bringing children to school. These distances are well within the range of one charge of batteries, therefore electric cars will be able to deal with a large part of the transport sector.
  2. They do not produce any waste substance when being driven
  3. They use an existing infrastructure of energy supply (the electricity grid).
  4. The energy to run them can be provided by existing renewable technologies (unlike hydrogen).
  5. They can easily be "filled", just need to find a power outlet.
  6. Parking garages and work places can easily provide power outlets to recharge the car.
  7. Anybody can generate the electricity required to power them (put some PV panels on the roof or install a wind turbine).
  8. Because the batteries in the car can be charged at point of power generation there is no transmission losses associated with electricity networks.
  9. The car batteries can be used as energy sync to store renewable energy (basically if a wind turbine is installed beside a house it will be producing a lot of energy when everybody is sleeping. This energy is wasted or sent to the grid, but having a car to charge up is a much more intelligent use of the energy).

It is important to remember that electric cars only become truly sustainable if the electricity is from 100% renewable sources. Both Photovoltaics and wind energy work together to provide electricity, because often when one does not supply energy the other does. In the future your home will provide the power for your transportation, how nice is that!

To place your pre-order visit www.solaris-energy.ie and to view the car visit www.bluecar.fr Remember to get an architect/designer that knows how to integrate them into your design.

15/09/2009 Miles Sampson BArch wins appeal

An Bord Pleanala have upheld the decision of Killarney Town Council to give planning permission for a new two and a half storey dwelling close to the town centre. An Bord Pleanala cited "sustainable building" and "significant architectural merit" among their reasons to grant permission.

26/08/2009 Permission granted for Eco Apartments

North Tipperary County Council has decided to grant planning permission for the Miles Sampson BArch. designed ecological apartment building in The Eco Village in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary. This building will bring a new standard in apartment living. The proposal overcame the planner's concerns by presenting a contemporary well resolved design that reacts to its location. Each apartment will have good southern orientation and a layered facade to ensure privacy and usable open space while adhering to the ecological charter of The Eco Village.

06/08/2009 Permission granted in sensitive Lough Gur

Limerick County Council has decided to grant planning permission for the Miles Sampson designed extension to an existing house in the scenic and archaeologically sensitive area of Lough Gur, Co. Limerick. By designing a contemporary building that makes reference to vernacular farm buildings, considerable extension and renovation of the house will improve the advantage that the house takes of it beautiful surroundings by giving many of the exiting rooms connections to these views.

04/06/2009 Organic Fruit and Vegetables

Organic fruit and vegetables are good for your health, help the environment and taste better. But getting a steady supply of organic fresh produce can be difficult, expensive and time consuming. This does not always have to be the case. Luckily there are services that deliver a box of fresh fruit and veg each week. By purchasing in bulk and offering what is in season they can offer quality organic produce at regular prices. Some suppliers include: Absolutely Organic in Dublin and Recapte in Barcelona

17/02/2009 Permission granted for Passive House in Killarney

Killarney Town Council has decided to grant planning permission for a passive house designed by Miles Sampson. BArch in Killarney town. The design takes maximum advantage of the site by increasing the sunny garden and locating parking to the cold north. We are now working closely with the client to build a passive house certified by the passiv haus institute in Germany. In the future it is hoped that this house could be rented for short stays to people thinking of building a passive house, so that they could experience a passive house before they commit to building/buying one. Killarney is an ideal location for Passive house holidays with its breathtaking natural beauty, national parks, lakes and the ring of Kerry. Project details to follow soon on this website

08/01/2009 The Story of Stuff

This is a great website (even if it is a little dumbed down) about consumerism and what it is doing to the planet (socially and environmentally). Have a look, if for no other reason than to pass it onto somebody who is a little less informed. Visit www.storyofstuff.com.

02/01/2009 - Self recycling Christmas cards

This year Miles Sampson, BArch. use the ″Grow a Note″ series of Christmas cards produced by the Green Field Paper Company. These cards are embedded with seeds and made with 100% recycled paper and natural soya inks. When dampened and placed in soil they burst into flower. This is a truly recyclable card and helps makes Christmas a little greener. Visit www.greenfieldpaper.com for more information.

25/11/2008 - Planning Granted in Cork

Cork CoCo have granted full planning permission for a contemporarily designed eco house near Mallow in Cork. This is the first planning application by Miles Sampson BArch in county Cork, but the design was accepted without question by the council. The design is for a contemporary design two storey family house with grass roof and substantial glazing to the south. The house is designed to benefit from substantial solar gains which will reduce the heating cost and help protect the environment. To see more information about the project visit the projects page or click here.

19/11/2008 - Authentic Business

The other day I met Neil Crofts, the author of authentic business. In a nutshell authentic business is about doing things the right way. It is a business that does not make its primary goal: profit, but profit is a side product of its primary goal e.g. for a weaver to make beautiful quilts without damaging the environment, exploiting people or cheating clients. In our case this is to make design beautiful buildings that our clients enjoy and are happy in. To find out more about authentic business visit www.authenticbusiness.co.uk
www.authentictransformation.co.uk
www.authenticinspiration.co.uk

04/11/2008 - Planning Permission Granted for Hotel Complex

Clare CoCo grant planning permission for the redevelopment of The Miles Sampson designed Smyths Hotel in Feakle, Co Clare

On the 4th of November 2008 Clare County Council decided to grant planning permission for the redevelopment of Smyths Hotel.

The new project involves:

  1. 10 bedroom hotel, with large function room, conference room, gym.
  2. 9 Holiday cottages that will be managed by the hotel and have been designed so they can be configured as self catering accommodation or as separate additional bedrooms.
  3. 14 sheltered housing / retirement village units. These are designed for aging people who seek the support of local service, but do not was to go into full care. The units can be used as normal houses and as the owners age the services of the hotel will be at hand to give assistance.

Throughout the project Miles Sampson BArch worked closely with consultants to create a sustainable development, both in environmental and economic terms.