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eco-home Less bulldozing, more recycling – the design ethos behind this €2.2m eco-friendly Dalkey villa

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Déjà Vu was completed three years ago on the site of a smaller 1990s-built house

Déjà Vu was completed three years ago on the site of a smaller 1990s-built house

The family room with sea views

The family room with sea views

The kitchen with the stairs deployed for storage.

The kitchen with the stairs deployed for storage.

The view from Déjà Vu stretches down the hill and out to sea

The view from Déjà Vu stretches down the hill and out to sea

There are four double bedrooms

There are four double bedrooms

The study

The study

The back garden has a terrace and play area

The back garden has a terrace and play area

The stairs and landing

The stairs and landing

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Déjà Vu was completed three years ago on the site of a smaller 1990s-built house

Déjà Vu, Torca Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin Asking price: €2.2m Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 2751000  

We forget that houses can be recycled, just like bottles, tin cans and paper cups.

This is especially worth considering as our Government prepares a huge national plan to upgrade all existing Irish homes to higher energy efficiency standards.

Buyers upgrading their purchases towards BER A rating have, ironically, thus far been damaging the environment twofold.

Those acquiring and upgrading larger period homes and more modern houses with low energy ratings have been deploying demolition and facadism of late.

Non-listed period suburban homes are being widely demolished apart from their frontages, with new homes constructed behind the old facades. Meanwhile high costs mean that larger 30 and 40-year old homes with low ratings, and in need of upgrading, are simply being demolished by new owners eager to arrive at a BER A rated abode.

The eco double whammy is that demolition produces vast amounts of construction waste whilst the rebuilding process obviously also makes its own big carbon footprint. Block build construction, as is still typical in Ireland, is among the most environmentally damaging processes there is.

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The view from Déjà Vu stretches down the hill and out to sea

The view from Déjà Vu stretches down the hill and out to sea

The view from Déjà Vu stretches down the hill and out to sea

That’s why the design work done by architect Paul O’Callaghan on the aptly named Déjà Vu at Torca Road in Dalkey, Co Dublin, is a hugely important example of an alternative. The swishy modern villa home with sea views was completed three years ago on the site of a smaller 1990s-built house.

However, rather than demolish everything and start again, O’Callaghan managed to incorporate the foundations, three main walls and a significant roof portion of the original house into the modern energy efficient, A-rated home we see today.

He managed to do all this while also almost doubling the size of the accommodation and entirely reorienting the resulting upcycled house to better avail of natural light and the phenomenal views.

In this way, Déjà Vu, also the name of the previous house, partly lives on and the demolition waste from the rebuild was significantly reduced.

Just this week a report by the European Academies’ Scientific Advisory Council (EASAC) stated that 36pc of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions were coming from buildings, and that the Near Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) guidelines which Ireland is currently striving towards, are an already outdated standard.

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The kitchen with the stairs deployed for storage.

The kitchen with the stairs deployed for storage.

The kitchen with the stairs deployed for storage.

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It tells us that we must find more ways to dispose of less in upgrading or replacing existing outmoded buildings.

Déjà Vu proves that one-off home builders can also do their bit for the environment by avoiding complete or near total demolition. The way forward is to pause for thought for upcycling before the bulldozer is sent in.

The new extended split level detached family home, which took just under a year to construct, is positioned on the south slopes of Killiney and Dalkey Hills to enjoy some of the very best sea views on offer in the capital.

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The family room with sea views

The family room with sea views

The family room with sea views

At almost 2,600 sq ft, the energy efficient home uses every inch, to the degree that O’Callaghan has even made the staircase a functional part of the open plan kitchen/living/dining storage, with clever built-in units and a walk-in larder installed underneath.

The kitchen has a custom-designed Kube kitchen with oak floor, Calacatta quartz worktops with a Quooker hot and cold-water tap and Neff appliances. O’Callaghan also gave the house a dramatic upstairs living room with sea views, opening out at one end to a big balcony terrace.

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The study

The study

The study

The eco credentials are greatly enhanced by the use of the remarkable technology that is its Nibe Air/Water heat pump system. This literally makes home heating and hot water out of fresh air.

The solar energy contained in the outdoor air is sucked in, combined with a gaseous refrigerant and with pressure, generates heat for both central heating and hot water. High standard aluclad windows and external wrap insulation make Déjà Vu super snug and eco smug.

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There are four double bedrooms

There are four double bedrooms

There are four double bedrooms

The accommodation includes an entrance hall, the aforementioned kitchen/dining, a family room, a study, that upstairs sitting room and four double bedrooms. The master is ensuite and there are two more bathrooms.

The gardens were designed by Bloom gold medallist Robert Moore, who has re-landscaped with stone walls, fencing, planted beds and pleached trees (to increase privacy).

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The back garden has a terrace and play area

The back garden has a terrace and play area

The back garden has a terrace and play area

Through electric timber gates there’s car parking at front and the back garden has a play area with custom made treehouse, monkey bars and swings.

It’s high above Dalkey town with its amenities and shops and the owners (a family with young children) can accesses White Rock beach down the Cat’s Ladder steps onto Vico Road. Now they’re selling up for €2.2m through Sherry FitzGerald in order to break new ground on an eco upgrade for a period house. Déjà Vu?

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