PHAI Board Members

Current Chair Person – Paul McAlister, Paul McAlister Architects

Paul McAlister qualified as a chartered Architect in 1997, opened his own practice in 2002 and has established this practice as a leader in the field of sustainable and energy efficient architectural design.
The practice has won multiple awards and continues to promote best practice in sustainable and responsible architectural design and construction.
In 2010 Paul became the first person in Northern Ireland to become a Certified Passive House Designer. He is responsible for Northern Ireland’s first, Architect designed, Passive house becoming an advocate and early adopter of the standard.

To date, the practice’s most ground-breaking building is the 1.8 million CREST (Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Technologies) building in Enniskillen completed in 2016. This building currently, has won four awards for its design and exceptional sustainable credentials. These include, Sustainable Building Project of the year 2014 (Sustainable Design Ireland, Magazine), and winner Sustainability Category 2016, Royal Society of Ulster Architects Belfast.

Paul is currently chairman of the (PHAI) Passive House Association of Ireland and is active in promoting the Passivhaus construction standard as a requirement for all new buildings. He believes the Passive House Method of construction is the best means of creating reliable, quality sustainable architecture without the risk of performance-gap failures. He also recognises the importance of Passive House principles in achieving Near Zero Energy Buildings in the UK and Ireland and meeting the new European standards.
Paul is also an enthusiastic rugby referee and has been doing so since 2002. He is affiliated to the Ulster Society of Rugby Football Referees, a vocation which brings an association with the ‘Grass roots’ of Ulster rugby.



Vice-Chairman – Dr Shane Colclough, Energy Expertise, Ulster University

Shane Colclough carries out research at the Centre for Sustainable Technologies in Ulster University in addition to being principle at the consultancy firm Energy Expertise Limited. His research area of interest is the application of the Passivhaus standard to the Irish Climate for which he was awarded a PhD. He is a Chartered Engineer and holds a Master degree in Engineering and an MBA.

He believes passionately in the potential afforded by the Passive House Standard in providing a better standard of housing for our citizens, simultaneously reducing Ireland’s dependence on fossil fuels and eliminating fuel poverty. He has chaired the Passive House Association of Ireland for a three-year term, authored papers on the topic of passive houses & solar inter- seasonal energy storage in addition to presenting at national and international conferences. He is an experienced consultant and serves in the EU as an Expert on Energy-Efficient Buildings.



Secretary – David Hughes, Senior Architect and Project Manager at Iarnrod Eireann

David Hughes is a specialist low energy and historic conservation architect practicing with Iarnród Éireann. He has designed the first non residential ‘passivhaus’ for Iarnród Éireann or indeed for any railway company worldwide. He has won many national and international awards with two international awards for low energy and environmental design in particular. He has been a selected at the Passivhaus Institut’s own conference in Hannover in 2012 as well as the See The Light Passivhaus confer­ences in Ireland. Apart from an interest in energy he has a strong design background having worked for high profile practices in Paris and Dublin. Since May 2014 he has been secretary of the PHAI.


Treasurer – Tomas O Leary, Passive House Certifier and Trainer

Designed, built and lives in the first Certified Passive House in the English-speaking world. An enthusiastic and passionate advocate for all things Passive House, a jovial and motivational educator and presenter, experienced research scientist and environmental entrepreneur. Globally accredited by the Passivhaus Institut as a Certifier of Passive House buildings and licensed training provider for the Passive House Consultant and Tradesperson programs. Tomas is the co-founder of the Passive House Academy, as part of the MosArt group, a leading environmental design practice founded together with Art McCormack in 1993.


OBM – Jeff Colley, Passive House Plus

Jeff is the editor of the Passive House Plus Magazine. An award-winning magazine reporting on the latest trends and innovation in the world of low energy buildings, it is the main reference for passive houses followers and experts. Jeff is at the forefront of promotion of sustainable construction in Ireland, and in 2003 he founded the Environmental and Sustainable Construction Association.

Vice-Chairman of PHAI, he is a key figure in managing relationships with public authorities, as well as dealing with the industry environment. Jeff’s intervention has been indeed one of the main driving forces leading to the historical decision of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to integrate the Passive House Standards into its development plan.


OBM – Garrett Quinn, GP Developments

Graduating as an Engineer from UUJ in 2001 and self-employed since 2006, Garrett Quinn’s Mid Ulster based Building/Development company GP Developments LLP has taken on projects in London, Belfast and Dublin.

It was when returning to UUJ in 2011 to do a Master Degree in Renewable Energy that Garrett was introduced to Passive House. He realised it was the first building concept he had seen that addressed the major problems inherent in the “standard” method of accepted construction. Since becoming a certified PH designer in 2013, GP Developments executed its first fully certified Passive House project in 2015. Since then Garrett has sought to apply the PH principles to all of his company’s projects.

More recently Garrett has taken on a part time lecturing role at the South West College in Dungannon. Here he can apply the PH concepts to the Foundation Degree/s in sustainable construction.

In 2016 Garrett was invited to join the Board of Directors of the PHAI and has recently been part of a PHAI delegation invited to the Stormont Assembly.



OBM – Estelle Cotter, Passive House/Low Energy Design Marketing

Estelle Cotter has been a board member of the PHAI for a number of years and is founder and director of Energyquarter Ltd.  Through Energyquarter’s high quality video material (training, promotional, events), Estelle has helped to drive awareness of the importance of energy efficiency.  A passionate interest in the Passive House and NZEB standards provided a driving force behind the Passive House video series developed in recent years.  Recognition of this video material was a key factor in the business becoming finalist in the Green Communication Awards 2012.

With the expected growth in the construction sector going forward, providing support to businesses in the industry that are serious about using the correct materials and methods of construction  is important to Estelle and the Energyquarter team.


OBM – Martin Murray, Martin Murray Architects

Martin has over 30 years’ experience as a Practicing Architect, Lecturer and Passive House Designer. Prior to setting up in independent practice in 1996 he worked within practices in Ireland, the UK and the USA; where as a Fulbright scholar he completed studies in Urban Design, winning the William Dunlop Darden Medal, at Rice University, Houston, Texas.

His work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy London, and his practice is involved in a wide variety of projects from Commercial to Residential; Conservation through to Exhibition Design, Urban Design and Low Energy Strategies.



OBM – Barry McCarron, CREST Research and Development Coordinator

Barry Mc Carron has been the Research and Development Coordinator since 2013 for the award winning CREST (Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies) Pavilion at South West College in Northern Ireland.

Barry is an MSc graduate of the Queens University Belfast through the Gibson Scholarship. He previously graduated from the University of Ulster with an Honours Degree in Architectural Technology and Project Management. He has also completed a HND in Building Engineering and Project Management at the Belfast Institute of Higher and Further Education.

Barry has recently undertaken a PhD in Queen’s University Belfast to research the Passive House Standard performance in Ireland.  He has more than ten years’ experience with the Construction Industry and specialises in Sustainable Construction and renewables Micro Generation and is part of the team at South West College working towards developing the College into a Regional Centre of Excellence for Passive House.


OBM – Seamus Mullins, Estimator and Surveyor at Michael Bennett & Sons

Séamus Mullins works as an estimator and surveyor with building contractors Michael Bennett & Sons, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford. He has more than 40 years of experience in costing and tracking challenging projects such as Wexford General Hospital, Dublin City University and major residential developments.

He has been involved in passive house construction since 2008, and passed the Certified Passive House Consultant exams in 2010. His company won the prestigious Isover Energy Award for their certified passive housing scheme in Rosslare, Co. Wexford in 2011, when it was deemed the most outstanding energy efficient Irish construction project in that year.


OBM – John Morehead, M.R.I.A.I, Certified Passive House Designer

John has over 26 years’ experience in a wide variety of architectural and urban design projects for both the public and private sector. He is a member of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, a fully Certified Passive House Designer and board member of the PHAI, a member of the Irish Project Management Institute and a registered BER assessor in both domestic and non-domestic buildings. He also qualified to level 1 ITC thermography in 2009.

His entire professional career has been committed to sustainable, quality, performance driven architecture delivering very low energy buildings. In 2010 WMA completed their first fully Certified Passive House in Carrigaline. Other projects would include the Garden Still house, Midleton and Passive House domestic buildings in both the Cork City and West Cork. John has extensive experience in climatology and its application in low energy buildings providing support to other designers worldwide.


OBM – Archie O Donnell, Integrated Energy Consultants

Archie has been an Architectural Technologist for 12 years with experience in commercial architecture and is a qualified planner. Archie has worked as a sustainability consultant with accreditations in BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes and was a trainer for the Greenworks courses in thermal bridging. He has specialised in developing cost-effective building solutions, adapting Irish construction techniques for passivhaus and Part L 2011 compliance.

As the owner and operator of Integrated Energy, Archie has focused the consultancy to provide energy efficient building fabric with high comfort levels. These approaches include the analysis and application of appropriate renewable based heating and ventilation systems.

Archie is also training to be accredited in thermal bridging with the DIT CPD certificate in thermal bridge analysis with a view to certification by NSAI on the database of registered thermal modellers.


OBM – Caroline Best, Architect, Northern Ireland Housing Executive

Caroline qualified as an Architect with Queen’s University in 2006 and following this, spent five years in private practice. It was during this time she was first introduced to Passive House and has upheld a keen interest since.

In 2012 Caroline joined the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and is currently the Technical Development Manager for Asset Management. Her responsibilities include the continuous review of technical policies and standards to improve the quality of maintenance to existing stock, and the energy efficiency of disabled adaptations.

Caroline completed the Passive House Consultants course whilst undertaking an Enerphit pilot scheme with MosArt. Pilot schemes form a major part of her research which focuses on investigating the practical application of fabric-first retrofit measures in social housing. She believes passionately that all tenants deserve warm, dry and comfortable houses as a minimum, and that the Passive House will have a major influence in raising the standard of social housing in the future.



For more information about membership, our plans and any other queries you may have about Passive House and low energy design or construction, please feel free to contact the board and/or our Business Development:

Michela Ferrando – Business Development.