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Ritchie applauds award-winning Ormeau Park House

Monday, 23 November 2009

Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie today paid a visit to one of Belfast’s oldest and most energy efficient homes.

Ormeau Park House - which was built in 1878 - was recently awarded the title of Most Energy Efficient Refurbishment Scheme in the Housing Executive’s Home Energy Awards 2009, and was also Highly Commended in the Sustainability Category of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Northern Ireland Awards. Both awards recognise the very best energy efficient projects within the housing market.

Minister Ritchie said: “The awards are well deserved and clearly demonstrate how the skills of our housing professionals are already at work in reducing our carbon emissions.”

Ormeau Park House was originally built for the park superintendent and his family, but fell into disrepair over the years. However it was rescued for social housing with grant aid from the Department for Social Development.

Congratulating Hearth Housing Association, who carried out the improvement works, Minister Ritchie added: “The delivery of high quality, energy efficient and sustainable housing is a key priority for my Department. This is a wonderful story that shows that even a building which is 130 years old is capable of providing eco friendly housing to the very highest standard.”

“Hearth Housing Association is to be congratulated for embracing the challenge of using sustainable building techniques and innovative technologies to bring this historic property back into use.”

In improving the energy efficiency, Hearth employed sheep’s wool as the main thermal insulation. The timber sash windows meet modern design standards and with discreet draft proofing enable the building to pass modern air tightness requirements. The heating system employs an air source heat pump which draws energy from the air to provide efficient heating.

Karen Latimer, Chairman of Hearth added: "I am delighted with the efficiency of the insulation at Ormeau Park House. It demonstrates how well existing buildings can be adapted to modern standards. Hearth is nearing completion of investigation into experimental forms of insulating and heating historic buildings and hopes to put the research into effect in further schemes shortly."

Notes to editors:

  1. Hearth Housing Association is one of 32 housing associations registered with the Department for Social Development, giving access to grant funding. Hearth manages 98 homes throughout Northern Ireland in general needs housing.
  2. Media enquiries to DSD Information Office on 028 9082 9497 or Ciara McGuigan on 077921 50486. Out of office hours please contact Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.