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Historic Brooklyn Townhouse Gets A Passive House Makeover

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When Russell Unger and Claire Hansen bought their Prospect Heights townhouse in 2010, there was no question that the home's much-needed renovation would be sustainable?after all, Unger is the Executive Director of the Urban Green Council, New York's chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. The house needed to be completely gutted, and the couple chose to rebuild it to near Passive House standards, meaning that it will be super insulated and consume very little energy. They hired thread collective, a sustainable architecture firm with Passive House experience, to lead the renovation, which turned the four-unit building into a garden level rental topped by the owners' duplex. Eco-friendly features include reclaimed wood, LED lighting, low-flow fixtures, and a five kilowatt solar array, which, combine with the Passive House triple pane windows and insulation, will likely allow the house to have net-zero energy use.

Unger and Hansen began renovations in fall 2012, and they hope to be living in the house by Thanksgiving. Things would have been complete sooner, but they had a six month delay because of permit issues with the Department of Buildings. Their original permit was approved without a sprinkler system, but when the architect tried to renew, the DOB said sprinklers were required, so they had to rip out and redo the new ceilings to install them. Evidently the FDNY and DOB aren't on the same page when it comes to sprinklers, thus the confusion.

During Open House New York, dozens of curious neighbors came through the house, so we know we're not alone in hoping that Unger and Hansen welcome us back next year to see the finished product.
· Threadcollective [official]
· Passive Houses [Curbed]
· All Open House New York coverage [Curbed]