3cea Pilot State of the Art Energy Efficient Homes in Carlow & Kilkenny

Construction has begun 8 new energy efficient homes in Carlow & Kilkenny that are part of a NWE Interreg Housing 4.0 Energy (H4.0E) an EU project to lower embodied emissions in house builds and in time reduce the cost of construction by utilising a Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) model and ensuring the houses are built to nZEB (near Zero Energy Building) standard by using prefabricated timber-frame closed panels or low-carbon GGBS cement composites and energy-saving efforts like installation of Photovoltaic cables and heat pumps. The 2 bedroom and single bedroom houses are located in St Mary’s court in Carlow town, in Mullinivat and Graiguenamanagh (at the old Fire Station)  in Co. Kilkenny.

Construction site for H4.0E houses in St Mary’s court, Carlow town.

Construction site for H4.0E houses in St Mary’s court, Carlow town.

“3cea were delighted to lead this initiative and to secure Irish funding of over 600K from a Europe-wide fund of 4.2 million made available by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interred NorthWest Europe scheme to make this pilot project happen,” said Communications Officer Colin Healy. “H4.0E-nZEBs or ZEB builds are a must for future construction to meet both Ireland’s housing needs and carbon mitigation goals. The Irish H4.0E pilots are not using full DfMA methods in the pilot project, but when they come fully on stream through the availability of the H4.0E Platform being developed by Open Systems Lab (OSL) as part of the H4.0E project we anticipate that building costs will be reduced by 25% using these methods. The H4.0E houses in the upscaling process will be far cheaper to run and substantial carbon emission reductions will be achieved both in embodied and operational carbon. Heating and domestic hot water are where most of the energy will be used and these are warmer better-insulated homes. All houses are fitted with heat pumps.


The houses, referred to as H4.0E houses are part of a plan to develop affordable zero-energy houses by applying new technology to building and running the houses. A carbon reduction of at least 50% to 80%, when compared to a standard concrete/brick build house,  will be achieved. All units will be completed towards the end of this year and will be used for social housing by Carlow and Kilkenny County Councils.

You can learn more about H4.0E and 3cea’s activities in the project through our H4.0E Webpage.


Housing 4.0 Energy Conference

Affordable zero-energy housing for small households

23-24 May 2022
Floriade Growing Green Cities – Almere, Netherlands

Europe is amidst a housing crisis, now combined with spiraling energy costs to heat and cool our dwellings. An increasing number of people in the EU are struggling with finding a proper home. Rapid construction is more urgent now than ever. Just building houses like we’ve done
for the past century won’t cut it. New homes need to be built with sustainable biobased materials, must have a low carbon footprint, and must be energy-efficient and affordable. Since 2018, the EU-funded Interreg North-West Europe Housing 4.0 Energy has worked on
finding solutions to these challenges. Partners and research institutions from Flanders, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands have explored the possibilities of building affordable, zero-energy homes. Innovative techniques, material usages, and design and construction processes were developed. Pilots were carried out at four locations in North-West Europe, resulting in actual homes tested by various target groups, each demonstrating unique innovative design and construction solutions.

Register now for the Housing 4.0 Energy Conference

For more information on the European Housing 4.0 Energy project, you can watch our video here or see the Interreg NWE site here

Or see our own activities in the Housing 4.0 Energy project here.

Beyond the pilots, to a sustainable, green and affordable built environment


During the conference on Monday, the 23rd and Tuesday, the 24th of May, we will share what insights the pilots have yielded. Be inspired by engaging keynote speakers, interesting debates and practical workshops. The fitting setting for the event is the Floriade Expo 2022 – ‘Growing Green Cities’, hosted by the city of Almere.

A few highlights of the Housing 4.0 Energy Conference

Ank Bijleveld (NL), Mayor of Almere, provides guests with a warm welcome

Jan Rotmans (NL), Professor of Transition Studies and Sustainability at Erasmus University Rotterdam, reflects in his keynote on why innovation is essential for current sustainability challenges and what transition means for the building-industry.

Joke Dufourmont (BE), expert on Circularity in Urban Regions at the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, provides a keynote on how good governance and a holistic approach are indispensable in achieving a major green impact.

The Four Pilots. On the mainstage of the conference, the four H4.0E pilots and the key lessons learnt from implementing them will be presented. The challenges for the coming years will be set by Housing 4.0 Energy Ambassadors Chris Troniseck (BE), Marion Jammet (IGBC, IE) , Marnix Norder (Steenvlinder NL).

Florian Thoma (AT), Director of Thoma Holz100, implementing the Baden-Württemberg pilot, will call for healthy construction ‘without compromise’ and creating a more innovative and future-facing construction industry.

Alastair Parvin (UK), CEO at Open Systems Lab and co-inventor of WikiHouse, will demonstrate the open-source Housing 4.0 Energy platform, which aims to use digital manufacturing to radically democratise the development of cities.

Natasja van den Berg (NL), expert in citizen participation and sustainability, will be the event’s host. Van den Berg authored the book Practical Idealism, which explores successfully integrating idealism into people’s daily lives.

During the conference, we will discuss sustainable innovation challenges and possibilities with a wide array of international speakers with backgrounds in research as well as the public and the private sectors. Over the course of two days, Housing 4.0 Energy shall demonstrate solutions to the institutional, financial, legal and technical barriers to upscaling our model for small-scale, affordable, low carbon homes across Europe.

Together, we shall address the findings of the last four years of the Housing 4.0 Energy project: what is needed for large scale construction of affordable, low carbon housing, how the construction industry shall be stimulated to build more sustainable housing, and what is required of (local) governments to ensure that the market for affordable, low carbon homes is sustainable well into the future.