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Irish double first with two key Austrian suppliers

Irish Rail Train Care Depot, Portlaoise
17 October 2011

Two Austrian companies were recently part of a world-first project in Ireland when Irish Rail constructed the Train Drivers' Building at theTrain Care Depot in Portlaoise to passive house standard. The Austrian companies - Drexel & Weiss and Optiwin are top suppliers when sourcing expertise in "passivhaus" building.

With the completion of the Train Drivers' buidling in Portlaoise, Irish Rail is the first railway company in the world to construct a building to passive house standard. At the same time, the new building is the first Irish commercial building certified by the international Passive House Institute. The critically important heat recovery ventilation system was supplied by Drexel & Weiss and the triple-glazed windows were manufactured and installed by Optiwin – both companies are Austrian and are world leaders in passive house and sustainable construction.

The construction of both commercial and residential “passive” buildings is still in its infancy in Ireland. However in Austria, one in every four buildings  are completed today to passive house standard and over 14,000 passive houses are currently in operation. With all this experience of cutting edge construction techniques on the home market, Austrian greentech companies are perfectly poised to meet the growing demand in Ireland for energy efficient buildings. A passive house uses a ventilation system for heating purposes without a conventional central heating system. It uses an air-tight envelope with top insulation and triple glazed windows. The resulting energy consumption is 90% lower than a conventionally built house.


The Train Care Depot in Portlaoise is a 200-square-metre building that caters for drivers on the Dublin-Cork line. It is in constant use with 3 shifts per day, all year round. In addition to the passive house construction, other eco-friendly materials and technologies have been used: 70% of hot water needs are met by solar panels on the roof and the building itself is insulated with recycled newspaper and clad with granite, the most plentiful stone on earth.  

Train Drivers' Building

The recreation room in the Train Drivers' Building 

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