In 2013 Moffitt and Robinson was named the ‘UK’s Best Energy Efficient Builder’ at the 11th Master Builder of the Year Awards held in London.
George Clarke, architect and host of Channel 4’s Restoration Man, presented the coveted prize to Willie Moffitt for designing this energy efficient home for Violet Crosbie, who nominated the company for the award.
Willie spent a year and a half researching the energy-saving construction techniques needed to achieve the demanding passive house standard. This requires a highly insulated airtight building that is so efficient it requires virtually no energy to heat. Achieving such a building requires exacting design and faultless execution and workmanship.
His hard work resulted in a home that is not only certified to the passive house standard, but also achieved zero carbon status, making it rate-free for five years.
Willie said, “I couldn’t believe it. I was so shocked. I had a few nerves sitting in that big room in the Plaza Hotel surrounded by 600 people and just couldn’t believe it when I heard my name be called out. It is such an honour. I have won a few awards for this house but this is definitely the biggest. I’m just glad I didn’t have to make a speech.
“One of the judges came over to me afterwards and told me it was the easiest category to judge as we were miles ahead of the others.”
Building the first certified passive house in Northern Ireland was never the intention when he first started this project.
Willie explained, “I always had these ideas how to build an energy efficient house myself, but I had never a client before who wanted to go down that route.
“The insulation is air tight and a lot of things that work together to make it passive.
“All the technologies have to all work together. I actually have several inventions in the house myself like the water harvesting system. I developed a way to harvest the heat from the grey water. Then I also brought the fresh air in through an earth tube to stabilise the air coming in and then had it in a wooded area of trees to have oxygen rich air coming in,” he explained.
“I had a visit then by the passive house academy from Letterkenny and they were the first to tell me that it must be very close to being a passive house. After a few tests all I had to do was make a few modifications with a bit more insulation and it passed the standard to be the first certified passive and carbon zero house in Northern Ireland.”
In nominating the local builders for the award, Ms Crosbie stated, “Thanks to my builder, I now have a house which is the envy of the neighbourhood. The quality of the build is shown by the way in which the property is performing, it’s so economical to run. I’m setting an example to others by leading the way with my ‘green home’. With all the time spent on research at no extra cost to me, I could not praise Moffitt & Robinson Construction enough.”