As Ireland’s population increases and ages, we’re acutely aware of the changing housing needs of this growing demographic. Great Northern Haven at Barrack Street was a project designed to help to tackle this: to create sensor-enabled, sustainable, independent homes for older persons. Representing a unique collaboration between partners in academia, the HSE, Louth Local Authorities and social entrepreneurship, this development was the first of its kind in Ireland, in which we led the integrated design team in this Dundalk, Co. Louth project.

Comprising sixteen intelligent, sustainable housing units, a warden’s apartment and a network centre, it enables people, as they get older or infirm, to live independently in their homes for as long as possible, redirecting care as they age from an institutional setting to a home and community setting. These intelligent homes are universally accessible, wholly sustainable from an energy conservation standpoint, and have sensor technology built in, allowing the older person to remain independent for longer and to remotely activate outside help if and when they need it. A Fall Detection System not only raises an alarm in the event of the occupant falling, but also simultaneously shuts down the gas mains and running water until the safety of the resident is ensured.