Is it possible to ditch fossil fuels and run a 1970s Irish bungalow on solar energy?

Norman McMillan’s renovated A1-rated bungalow in Carlow proves it is.

Norman McMillan can make an impressive boast: not only does he have one of the few A1 rated renovations in the country, he appears to be the first person to achieve the rating without solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. He did ultimately install PV, but it wasn’t included in the BER calculation.

McMillan — Mac for short — wasn’t necessarily aiming for an A1 rating, just for the best job possible. “We just decided we’d do a proper job. We specified the best building we could,” he says.

Mac and his wife Trixie bought the house new in 1970. But it deteriorated over the years, and dampness and mould were affecting some rooms. Mac had insulated the attic and fitted double-glazing inside the existing single panes.

“[My mother] used to say ‘when I’m gone, you should do your house up,’” he says. So he did: work on the refurb began last March and finished in November. Local builder Kevin Doyle of Doyson Construction oversaw the revamp.

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