ES3: Achieving Airtightness, Why and How: The need for joined up thinking for joined up building! - Online

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Event series: "A fabric first approach to healthier more energy efficient new and existing buildings."

A half-day seminar exploring the theory and practice of achieving higher levels of airtightness - how to ‘build tight and ventilate right’

Buildings that achieve higher levels of airtightness tend to also be built and executed to a much higher quality level. While airtightness is essential to ensure thermal insulation performs to its optimum and to reduce condensation risk, it must also be combined with an effective ventilation strategy, be it by passive or mechanical means.

At its most basic, airtightness aims to eliminate any unintended gaps or cracks in the external fabric of the building. Ventilation focuses on replacing the stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air to meet the occupant’s needs. The key is to ‘build tight and ventilate right’!

Fintan Wallace, Architectural Technologist with Ecological Building Systems, will provide a presentation outlining why airtightness is now recognised as a key element in realising higher performance more durable healthy buildings. Niall Crosson, Group Technical Manager at Ecological Building Systems, will then provide a case study on the building of his new home in Ireland to Passivhaus levels of performance. Finally, the Ecological team will finish up by assessing key junctions for airtightness on specific details sent in by the audience prior to the training day.

More demanding building regulations not only require an improvement in individual skills but require a change in attitude to working collectively with a focused, co-operative approach to achieve compliance with regulations. Higher performing buildings, be it new build or retrofit, require good site control and communication between all trades. The production of truly low energy buildings require diligent attention to detail and co-operation between all trades involved in the construction and renovation processes. All trades should view the house as a system, rather than the sum of its parts. Trades must work as a team. All works must be co-ordinated.

The current fractured approach to building must be changed to a systems-based approach to building, in a similar manner to Passivhaus building principles and the quality standards, which are often observed on low energy or Passivhaus projects in the UK and Germany.


  • Presentation by Fintan Wallace outlining why airtightness is now recognised as a key element in realising higher performance more durable healthy buildings.
  • Case Study by Niall Crosson on the building of his new home in Ireland to Passivhaus levels of performance.
  • Assessing key junctions for airtightness on specific details sent in by the audience prior to the training day with the Ecological team.

More about the Case Study
After almost 2 decades providing technical guidance with Ecological Building Systems, Niall finally had the opportunity to build his own family home in Cavan, Ireland. Using natural thermal insulation materials and a range of airtightness solutions Niall aimed to achieve Passivhaus levels of performance and certification, while at the same time accommodate a design which was “acceptable” to all his family. This meant, adjustments and amendments to what was initially a relatively simple design, to more intricate details to meet the demanding airtightness, insulation and ventilation requirements of Passivhaus. Niall will outline how airtightness was delivered on his new home from design concept to completion and key lessons learnt along the journey.

This seminar is past of a series of 3 events on IWI, Roofs Walls & Floors, and Achieving airtighness. "A fabric first approach to healthier more energy efficient new and existing buildings."  

Each event can be attended as a stand alone course, or if attending the whole series they will complement each other.

Delegates who are attending the training session on Achieving Airtightness on 3rd June will be given a unique opportunity to ask our speakers specific airtightness and windtightness queries. If you are interested in this, please email any relevant drawings, sketch, PDF or CAD format or photographs, your query may relate to critical detailing recommendations in retrofit and newbuild, masonry, timber frame or CLT construction.

The technical team at Ecological will then share their recommendations on how to approach it, practical suggestions and product solutions to use: Send your e mail to by noon on Thursday 28th May and add GBS Event to the title. Please note that we cannot respond to any information sent after this time, if there are numerous submissions, our speakers may choose similar themes and will answer as many as possible on the day but Ecological can follow up any specific queries on a one to one basis following the session. As this is an interactive session delegates must be willing to share their details in an open forum where joint learning outcomes may be attained.

Special offers

  • Book all 3 in the series for a reduced rate:  £100 for members, £140 non-members
  • Book 3 places for the price of 2! Book 3 places at this event and get the 3rd place free.

About the trainers

Niall Crosson is Group Technical Manager at Ecological Building Systems. Niall holds a degree as a Bachelor of Technology (1st class Hons.) and a Masters Eng. Sc. He is also a Certified Passivhaus Consultant. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Irish Green Building Council and provides guidance on a number of national standard committees. He has provided guidance to many awards winning low energy projects in Ireland and the UK. He has also co-authored and authored chapters for a number of low energy building publications including The Passivhaus Handbook and The Passivhaus Designers Manual. Niall also provides regular technical contributions to a number of construction publications including The Journal of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland.

Ilias Igoumenidis 

Technical Support Engineer at Ecological Building Systems. Born and raised in Greece, Ilias graduated from the Polytechnic school of Civil Engineers of Patras University and for many years ran his own Design and Construction company prior to moving to the UK.   Since 2013, he has been heavily involved with low energy consumption in building projects.  He was the first person in the Hellenic Passive House Institute to gain the International Certification of a Certified Passive House Designer. Ilias played a significant part of the first Certified Passive House project [Enerphit] in the south eastern Mediterranean area “Passivistas”.  Recent projects that Ilias has been involved with include:

  • Agar Grove, London Borough of Camden, 500 affordable homes for new and existing tenants, putting energy performance and fuel poverty top of the agenda, Hawkins\Brown Architects.
  • Glen Cottage, Allonby, Cumbria, internal and external renovation of solid stone property with Diathonite Evolution system.
  • St Leonards, Chelsea, London, renovation with Diathonite Evolution and Calsitherm climate board systems, Design & Visual Concepts contractors.

Neil Turner is Technical Sales Manager at Ecological Building Systems. A BBA-competent U-value assessor, who has been involved in developing CEN (Comité Européen de Normalisation) European standards, Neil has extensive experience in the building products sector. Neil advises architects, contractors and timber frame specialists on the specification of sustainable insulation products and has been involved in numerous sustainable projects throughout the UK.

Recent projects that Neil has been involved with include:

  • Bristol City Council affordable Passivhaus housing scheme with pro clima systems, Halstatt Construction and Gale & Snowden Architects
  • York Road Montpelier Bristol, internal and external renovation with Diathonite Evolution system, Andrew Dale Architects
  • Oak Meadow Primary School, Thomas Vale Construction and Cygnum pro clima
  • West Dulwich Passivhaus new build pro clima systems, RDA Architects

Fintan Wallace

Fintan is an Architectural Technologist at Ecological Building Systems. Graduating from Dublin Institute of Technology in 2011 with a B.Sc (Hons) in Architectural Technology, it was here in D.I.T’s Bolton Street where Fintan developed a strong interest in low energy and Passivhaus design. From here he continued his studies becoming both a Certified European Passivhaus designer and tradesperson. Fintan has travelled to Baden Württemberg in Germany to study passive housing and sustainable energy technology, gaining significant knowledge regarding the use of natural insulations in timber frame and solid wall constructions. Latterly Fintan has been involved extensively in a deep energy retrofit of a property to the Enerphit standard in the west of Ireland. Recent projects that Fintan has been involved with include:

  • Vitsoe, CLT Factory, Gutex and pro clima systems, Waugh Thistleton Architects.
  • Chelsea Barracks refurbishment, pro clima systems.
  • Lower Royd Farm, Passivhaus refurbishment with Diathonite.

What have previous delegates said about this seminar?

"Excellent diagrams clearly explaining the concepts and practical examples and common problem descriptions."
"Very clear, helpful and very well done!"
"Excellent ... good mix of technical and practical demonstration."

Working in partnership with

June 3rd, 2020 9:00 AM through 12:00 PM
Online Training
United Kingdom
Event Fee(s)
Members (This event only) £ 37.50
Non-Members (This event only) £ 52.50