Powerscourt Rectory House





Cookstown Road
Co Wicklow

Area: 335 sq m
Completion: 2012

One of our most interesting projects in recent years is the Rectory for Powerscourt Parish in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow – a new house for the Church of Ireland Rector and his family with facilities for the parish and community. It immediately adjoins the picturesque nineteenth century St Patrick’s Church, well known for its distinctive copper spire and graveyard, opposite the entrance to Powerscourt Demense.

The Rectory has a total floor area of circa 335 m2 and is two storey with single storey appendages. The building, constructed by Mark Orr of Lambert Developments Ltd, achieves a high level of airtightness and has a mechanical heat recovery ventilation system. It has been insulated to a high standard and has underfloor heating throughout. The structural composition is concrete strip foundations, concrete block walls, concrete ground floor, timber first floor and timber roof trusses. The external wall finish is self coloured render. The main pitched roofs are of natural slate. The lean-to roof at the front is pre-patinated green copper. The flat roof over the entrance and the balcony to the master bedroom are finished with fibreglass / grp. The windows are Rationel Scandinavian Pine, factory painted internally and white aluminium clad externally. The staircase and tall window on the half landing contibute to the dramatic light and sense of welcome experienced in the entrance hall. Sustainability features include Kingspan evacuated solar tubes and a Calorique Ice Stick Heat Pump. Planting, after a few short years, is already becoming established and the delineation of boundaries is now less apparent. The concept, from the outset of the project, was to have the Rectory set in a heavily landscaped garden, in keeping with the environs of Enniskerry.

Jonathan Leonard of Hotfoot Ltd in Kilcoole (www.hotfootheating.com) installed the Ice Stick Heat Pump with an integral ground loop as well as the solar panel and underfloor heating at the Rectory. By incorporating the unique hybrid air to water ice stick heat pump (which was awarded the WWF 2010 Climate Solver Product of the Year) annual energy costs are only about a quarter of those previously in the older and smaller Rectory Inventor Kurt Karlsson created the Ice-Stick, a novel implementation of the classic heat pump consisting of a statue-like set of outdoor aluminum pipes which resemble an icicle. These outdoor Ice-Stick pipes condense water vapor from the air, causing the refrigerant inside them to warm and evaporate. When the evaporated gas moves to the Ice-Stick’s compressor, pressurization raises the temperature of the refrigerant further. The system’s pump sends this accumulated heat through the water system of a home or building.  With the heat dispersed via a radiator (for example) and pressure lowered, the refrigerant is ready to travel back up to the evaporator to repeat the cycle.

A notable feature of the Ice-Stick is that the compressor is the system’s only moving part. This results in very limited need for maintenance and a life expectancy of the Ice-Stick outdoor unit that can be 50 years, with the pump lasting as long 25 years.  The hybrid Ice-Stick uses both air and geothermal sources for heat to help keep the system working efficiently in very cold climates. Though it cannot completely replace a home or building’s need for heat, it helps reduce energy usage by as much as 60% or more when compared with oil.