To Common Ground Co-Housing

Our vision is a new paradigm for housing and living in Ireland. It is a solution which meets people’s needs for an affordable home in a supportive community while respecting environmental limits. The motivations for delivering this project are plentiful. Healthy communities provide for their members and we aim to create a community which is resilient, affordable, and environmentally sensitive; a community that is run by our members and embraces diversity and difference; a community which allows for equal participation and provides opportunities for engagement, celebration and fun whilst at the same time respecting the need for individual privacy and space.

Who We Are

By working and socialising together, we are actively building an integrated community; experiencing it before living it.

Common Ground Co-Housing consists of 26 households comprising 35 adults and 24 children. We are all living and working in the South Dublin/North Wicklow area. A diverse group of individuals and families, we work in many fields including, amongst others, architecture, small business, health, disability services, horticulture and education. To find a solution to the impact this housing crisis was having on us and our families, we came together in September 2018 to form Common Ground Co-Housing.
To find a solution to the impact this housing crisis was having on us and our families, we came together in September 2018 to form Common Ground Co-Housing. Despite the diverse nature of our group, we are united by our common drive to create a housing community that is affordable, low-impact and sustainable. It is this shared desire that binds us and forms the core philosophy of Common Ground Co-Housing. We are experienced with working in and creating community.
As well as being continually active and engaged in the local area, we are also responsible for numerous community initiatives which include Edible Bray, environmental workshops, monthly markets, Repair Café, women’s group and beach clean-ups. We are driven by challenges and concerns over the need to respond to climate change, the limits of the current housing model in Ireland and the need to develop a community in which we can determine and manage our own resources.



LILAC stands for ‘Low Impact Living Affordable Community’. The objective of their project was to design and develop a replicable model of affordable, environmentally sustainable housing. The community is carbon negative, which is achieved by using natural materials, exploiting solar energy and installing effective insulation. Financing for the project was repaid through the MHOS model, a form of tenure which we will be introducing here in Ireland.



An essential component of LILAC Leeds’ success was their pioneering of the Mutual Home Ownership Society (MHOS) model. MHOS is an original and innovative new form of tenure. It is a significant departure from the current housing finance model as far as it provides permanently affordable housing and a strong community not subject to the vagaries of market speculation. 

Self Owned Self Managed

At its core is the concept that the housing, and the land on which it is sited, is owned by a society which in turn is owned and managed by its members, who reside in the homes provided by the society. 

Secure Equity Share

Monthly payments cover a maintenance charge and secure equity share units in the society, which uses these funds to repay the development loan. 

Affordable in Perpetuity

Should a member choose to leave the cooperative their deposit and equity shares will be repaid to them as a new member comes in. 

Eliminates Market Speculation

This model of tenure eliminates property market speculation and focuses on building strong communities rather than treating housing as an instrument of increasing wealth.

Why co-housing






Our vision of low-impact living is informing all aspects of our project design. What we design, how we design it and ways we can initiate behavioural change are part of our systemic, participatory design approach to reduce our environmental impact and increase well-being.  We are starting with the successful template of LILAC Leeds, which was built as a carbon negative development and is dedicated to creating a culture of enquiry, support and learning. Our low-impact design approach, which supports a shared low-impact lifestyle, is described under the following headings.

Quality of life

Our entire project is being designed to promote health and well-being: dwellings will be dual aspect to optimise day lighting and created for adaptable use as occupant needs change. In order to reduce harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and increase indoor air quality, low VOC finishes will be applied and we will use natural cleaning products in all areas.


Central areas of the scheme will be designed to promote connection and inclusion: landscaping will be designed to promote community interaction and the common house will facilitate community events and meals. Guest bedrooms, laundry facilities and work spaces will also feature.


On-site rainwater will be managed through landscape design including permeable surfaces and Sustainable Urban Drainage. In our homes, services will be designed to reduce water demand through the use of water-saving devices as well as actively changing water use habits. 


Building materials will be selected for reduced environmental impact by sourcing materials locally, reducing use of PVC, using FSC certified timber and designing for disassembly. We are promoting a culture of reduced material consumption with minimal plastics use, materials reuse, recycling and organic waste composting.

Energy and Carbon

Buildings will be designed to Passivhaus and Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) standards to minimise energy demand by using passive solar design, optimising building envelope design and using efficient electrical services. Our lower energy demand will be met primarily through onsite renewable sources. In order to reduce car dependence our site will be within walking distance of regular public transport.



Biodiversity and Food

In order to increase biodiversity on site our common areas will be landscaped using indigenous species that encourage insect and bird life, and provide seasonal foods. All landscaping will be managed without the use of harmful chemicals. Food will be grown organically in our community garden, and purchased in bulk from local organic producers including a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) partnership through a vegetable box scheme.



A New Paradigm for Housing in Ireland
A New Paradigm for Housing in Ireland
Beverley Studios, Main Street Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
+353 87 238 5776