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

Event series: "A fabric first approach to healthier more energy efficient new and existing buildings."
ES2: Roofs, External Walls and Floors: 3 Nov 2021, 09.00 - 12.00
ES3: Achieving Airtightness: 17 Nov 2021, 09.00 - 11.00


A two-hour session 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’!

Neil Turner, Technical Sales Manager 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. Joe Fitzgerald, Technical Support Engineer at Ecological Building Systems, will then provide a case study on the building of a new home in Ireland to Passivhaus levels of performance. Finally, the Ecological team have filmed their airtightness practical session, so you will be able to watch how to install membranes, tapes and seals.

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 Neil Turner outlining why airtightness is now recognised as a key element in realising higher performance, more durable, healthy buildings.
  • Case Study by Joe Fitzgerald on the building of a new home in Ireland to Passivhaus levels of performance.
  • Practical Airtightness Installation – a demonstration video filmed to show installation of airtighness membranes, tapes and seals with lot of hints and tips for all the key junctions for an effective airtight building.

More about the Case Study
Joe will present a case study on colleague Niall's home.  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. Joe will outline how airtightness was delivered on this new home from design concept to completion and key lessons learnt along the journey.

This seminar is part of a series of 3 events on "A fabric first approach to healthier more energy efficient new and existing buildings" and includes:

  • How to Internally Insulate Solid Stone and Brick Walls
  • Roofs, External Walls & Floors
  • Achieving Airtightness

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

Special offers

  • Book all 3 in the series for a reduced rate:  £78 for members, £110 non-members

About the trainers

Joe Fitzgerald is Technical Support Engineer & NSAI Approved Thermal Modeller at Ecological Building Systems. Joe is a trained Energy Manager and graduated from Athlone I.T with an Honour’s Degree in Sustainable Construction & Energy Management. After this he went on to complete a Post Graduate Diploma in Green Engineering and joined Ecological shortly after.

In addition to his academic studies, Joe has also spent many years as a tradesman and has completed the Passive House Contractor exam. Most recently, Joe became an NSAI approved Thermal Modeller after completing his examination in Dublin Technological University and is now certified to carry out thermal bridge assessments to evaluate heat loss in buildings.

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

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

November 17th, 2021 9:00 AM through 11:00 AM
Online Training
United Kingdom
Event Fee(s)
Members (This event only) £ 25.00
Non-Members (This event only) £ 35.00
Members (3 event series) £ 78.00
Non-Members (3 event series) £ 110.00