Sites in Rathnew, Kildare and Drogheda have been earmarked as Passive "Power" House Developments where zero energy houses will generate sufficient excess energy to power the electric car and pay the mortgage. Passive Houses are highly insulated, airtight, cold bridge free structures with triple glazing and HRV, so they require minimal heating. Tri-Solar Roofs will transform these Passive Houses into Energy+ Houses, generating sufficient excess energy to power an electric car. The 4kW Micro 91°C AE Digester-Fuel Celsl fitted into every house will eliminate the sewage connections and transform the Energy+ Houses into a Passive "Power" Houses, generating sufficient excess revenue to pay the mortgage.

Construction will start Spring 2015 on the Rathnew Energy+ Community consisting of 155 Solar Enhanced Passive Houses manufactured in our factory in Tipperary with integrated Tri-Solar roofs generating all the energy required by the house and an electric car. The Courtyards, Rathnew, County Wicklow, is an infill residential site of 11 acres located 46km south of Dublin with full planning permission. Expressions of interest are currently being accepted at prices similar to building regs B2 rated houses with running costs of £1,250+ per annum. The neighbouring Housing Estate consisting of 300 houses will also be renovated to Energy+ standards using ZED train Technology to create a full Energy Plus Community consisting of 450+ houses.

A proposed new train station beside the Courtyards Energy+ Community will deliver inhabitants to the centre of Dublin, a Fibre Optic cable will provide swift internet access for those working from home.

  • The Courtyards site is 45 minutes commute from Dublin, and does not require driving through towns or traffic lights (a sub 1 hour commute is quite acceptable). The site is visible from the M11 Dublin to Wexford motorway and easily accessed from it.
  • The site is beside Rathnew village surrounded by existing development and is not on the periphery of the town, which has been a problem for other developments such as Graham's Court.
  • Newcomers to the area do not distinguish between Wicklow and Rathnew. The development direction of Wicklow is to the north towards Rathnew. Rathnew is well served with better access to the motorway as compared to Wicklow Town (Wicklow Town is constrained by topography to the south and west and the sea to the east).

The houses are being built to top environmental standards, Passivhaus and Sonnenhaus Energy+ standard. Designed by ZED factory Architects using natural or recycled materials. They will be south facing so full of natural light and warmed by the sun. Top-notch insulation and draught proofing mean homes generate much more energy than they use. Solar will supply heating and hot water and electricity will be supplied by photovoltaic panels. The way the homes are built is only one aspect of the sustainability of the project.

"You can build a beautiful eco house and live in it, but there is a limit to what you can do as a single family. You need a community to go that bit further, its much easier to be sustainable collectively. We can share better quality, more energy efficient washing machines rather than each having our own machine. Food has a big environmental impact, so does transport, and things like the shared meals, bicycle facilities and car pool will help take the hard work out of green living." "If you are surrounded by like-minded people, you don't feel like you are out on a limb. It feels natural to talk about where food will be sourced, or what sort of kettle you should buy in terms of how efficient it is, who made it and where, and hopefully that impact will rub off on friends and visitors too."

"The biggest motivator is building something that will enable us to live much greener lifestyles and be significant enough to become an inspiration to others,"

A selection of the houses will be Generation Houses with an internal courtyard and a connected annex with a separate rear entrance designed for an expanding/contracting family.

For the first few years the newly married couple can live in the annex and rent out the front, when the first child arrives they can move to the front section and rent out the rear, as the family expands they occupy the full house. When the family grows older the teenagers can use the annex to entertain their friends. When the young adults leave home the annex is again rented out to generate extra income, helping to put the kids through collage.

A young adults can live in the annex with their new partner while saving up for their own house. Eventually the next generation lives in the main house with their kids, the grandparents live in the annex and the cycle continues.

Wicklow is designated a 'Growth Town 1' in the National Spatial Strategy and is therefore a strategic target for growth. The development plan for Wicklow Town and Environs will be reviewed in the near future by the county council's Strategic Policy Committee. The new development plan will, for the first time, combine the Town with the Environs (including Rathnew). The distinction between them will be lessened.

  • Tesco has invested in Wicklow Town and has secured a planning decision to extend their existing premises at Whitegates in Wicklow.
  • Third level education is available at Clermont Campus, Rathnew, and there is a new second level school and Gael scoil constructed 0.5km from the site.
  • There is a transport interchange (rail) proposed in close proximity to the site.