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Mapping New York City's Booming Passive House Movement

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Seeing as Brooklyn is the artisanal, organic heartbeat of New York City, it should come as no surprise that the latest trend in sustainable building is spreading across the borough. Passive buildings, built to "passive house" standards imported from Germany, are popping up all over the place (even the Times is noticing), and they have an intrigue not found in plain ol' LEED certified buildings. It's not that they look exotic (though sometimes they do), but it's that they function entirely differently from traditional buildings. Passive houses are all about insulation, so they are virtually airtight and use up to 90 percent less energy to heat and cool, making standard heating and cooling systems completely unnecessary. From single-family homes to affordable housing complexes, dozens of developments across New York City have adopted the eco-friendly building techniques. To track the trend, we mapped 21 28 passive buildings in New York, most of which are in Brooklyn. Know of one we missed? Please do leave a comment or drop us a line.


· New York Passive House [official]
· An Introduction to the Ecotastic World of Green Buildings [Curbed]

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1. 174 Grand Street

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174 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Architecture studio Loadingdock5 has a few passive house projects in the city, the first of which was the single-family house at 174 Grand Street in Williamsburg, completed in 2011. It has a design shop on the first floor and a neon pink front door.

2. 23 Park Place

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23 Park Place
Brooklyn, NY 11217

The townhouse at 23 Park Place holds the distinction of being the first certified passive house in New York (evidently, it is supremely difficult to actually get the certification, and a lot of places just use the standards without getting certified). The townhouse dates to 1899, and any passive house doubters only need to check out this thermal image to see how well the insulation really works.

3. 152 Freeman Street

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152 Freeman Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Last November, plans were revealed for a four-story, seven-unit condo building on Freeman Street in Greenpoint. This building is also deigned by Loadingdock5, and it looks strikingly similar to 174 Grand.

4. 40 Cambridge Place

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40 Cambridge Place
Brooklyn, NY 11238

In Clinton Hill, a wood-framed house on Cambridge Place will be retrofitted to passive house standards. Renderings were revealed last month, and the exterior will be restored to better match its historic neighbors.

5. 951 Pacific Street

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951 Pacific Street
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Prospect Heights is getting a batch of futuristically named condos on Pacific Street. Called R-951, the small building will hold just three apartments, and it is aiming to be net zero, allowing owners to live without external power sources. It will have rooftop sun panels, rainwater harvesting system, and extreme insulation measures, as passive houses do. All units are about 1,500 square feet and priced between $1.49 million and $1.57 million.

6. 210 Pacific Street

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210 Pacific Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Nava Companies is developing a 10-unit passive condo building designed by SBLM Architects that will be outfitted with a solar hot water system and a car-charging station. They hit the market in February, and three of the condos are already in contract. Prices range from $2.475M to $5.25M.

7. 45-12 11th Street

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45-12 11th Street
Long Island City, NY 11101

It's been called the ugliest house in Queens, but architect Thomas Paino's blue-white-and-gray-tiled Long Island City row house is comfortable in its skin—and eco-friendly, too. Paino insulated and sealed the building to meet passive house standards, and installed a solar-powered water heater and a planted roof. As for the facade, it is apparently "meant to evoke a cloudy sky," but we're not buying it.

8. 255 Columbia Street

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255 Columbia Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

The largest passive project by Loadingdock5 is in the Columbia Street Waterfront District. It's a 13-unit building, and every apartment has private outdoor space. The building sold out quickly, and closings happened last fall.

9. 424 Melrose Street

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424 Melrose Street
Brooklyn, NY 11237

Last year, the country's first multi-family passive apartment building opened in Bushwick. The 24 affordable apartments went to senior citizens. Architect Chris Benedict designed the building, which is topped by a giant solar array.

10. Knickerbocker Commons

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803 Knickerbocker Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11207

Knickerbocker Commons will be the city's second multi-family passive building, and like the first, it will be affordable housing. Architect Chris Benedict, the same person who designed the first multi-family building, is also designing this one. It will have 24 apartments available for disabled and low-income people.

11. 542 West 153rd Sreet

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542 West 153rd Street
New York, NY 10031

Passive house guru Chris Benedict is also designing Manhattan's fist passive apartment building, but at 40 units, it will be larger than Benedict's projects in Brooklyn. The developer Synapse Capital bought the property in 2013, and they broke ground last month.

12. 11 West 126th Street

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11 West 126th Street
New York, NY 10027

A six-apartment passive building is under construction at 11 West 126th Street, and as the Times says, it is in "an unofficial competition" with 542 West 153rd Street to become Manhattan's first multi-family passive building.

13. 138 Sackett Street

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138 Sackett Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

On Sackett Street, there's a seven-unit passive condo building developed by Michael Sohne. It was competed last year, and two two-bedroom apartments are currently still on the market.

14. 154 Underhill Avenue

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154 Underhill Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

During Open House New York in 2014, Russell Unger and Claire Hansen opened up their under-construction townhouse in Prospect Heights to shed light on the passive house building method. The pair retrofitted the house with the help of sustainable architecture firm thread collective, incorporating reclaimed wood, a solar array, and low-flow fixtures.

15. 96 St. Marks Avenue

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96 Saint Marks Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217

The four-story townhouse at 96 St. Marks Avenue is serious about its passive house status, and it has a website to prove it. Called Haus96, it was developed by Brendan Aguayo of Aguayo and Huebner and designed by Ken Levenson. The four apartments are outfitted their own dedicated ventilation systems, with high-efficiency heat recovery and the open kitchens have shaker-style cabinets. Living rooms holds a custom fireplace mantles made from joists reclaimed in the building. Completed in 2012, the house's claims to be the first "multi-family Passive House in the United States."

16. 228 Washington Avenue

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228 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

The passive house at 228 Washington Avenue, another Loadingdock5 project, also has its own website. Per the site, the goal of the owners is to "share and spread the new technologies about passive houses and let the world better." As such, they rent out rooms on Airbnb so people interested in passive houses can experience one for themselves.

17. ABC No Rio

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156 Rivington St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 254-3697
Visit Website

For years, art institution ABC No Rio has been planning to makeover its Rivington Street headquarters, and work is finally supposed to start in 2015. Renderings were revealed in 2012, and the tenement will be renovated to passive house and LEED standards.

18. 25 West 88th Street

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25 West 88th Street
New York, NY 10024

Kurt Roeloffs told the Times that he renovated his townhouse to passive standards, and it didn't even increase the cost of the project. The temperature, amazingly, is a constant 72 degrees, and "the air just smells fresh and sweet, even after we cook, because the filters get rid of it so quickly."Michael Ingui, of Baxt Ingui Architects, who worked on the house, said in an email that it is also LEED Platinum cerified.

19. 20 Garden Place

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20 Garden Place
Brooklyn, NY 11201

In Brooklyn Heights, a historic house on Garden Place was retrofitted for passive house standards, and the super insulation even blocks the cold around double-height windows. The owners bought the house in 2013.

20. 338 8th Street

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338 8th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Another brownstone-turned-passive house sits on 8th Street in Park Slope. The project was completed by RedTop Architects, and included the restoration of original carved moldings and hardwood floors. The house also received a green roof and two rooftop terraces.

21. Beach Green North

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45-5 Rockaway Beach Boulevard
Far Rockaway, NY 11691

The Bluestone Organization is building Queens' first multi-family passive building in Rockaway, and it will be larger than both those in Brooklyn and Manhattan—combine. It will have 101 apartments over eight stories, and a groundbreaking is set for this summer. The building is part of Arverne East and will be 100 percent affordable.

22. 78 Third Place

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78 3rd Place
Brooklyn, NY 11231

A passive house project in Carroll Gardens by Baxt Ingui Architects that's targeting net-zero energy use. "We are also tracking what seems to make the biggest differences and how they work once the clients move in," says Michael Ingui.

23. 16 Third Place

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16 3rd Place
Brooklyn, NY 11231

An under-construction passive house project in Carroll Gardens by Baxt Ingui Architects that's targeting net-zero energy use.

24. 53 West 71st Street

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53 West 71st Street
New York, NY 10023

Another under-construction Baxt Ingui Architects project targeting passive house certification.

25. 146 Willow Street

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146 Willow Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

And yet another under-construction Baxt Ingui Architects project targeting passive house certification.

26. 465 Washington Street

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465 Washington Street
New York, NY 10013

Under designs created by Zakrzewski + Hyde Arhcitects, the five-story 465 Washington Street is being gut renovated to passive house standards and doubling in size with a five-story addition. When complete, it will hold seven condos.

27. 852 St. John's Place

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852 Saint Johns Place
Brooklyn, NY 11216

In December, plans were filed by Zakrzewski + Hyde Architects to build a five-story, seven-unit passive building in Crown Heights. The developer, Justin Stewart, is also responsible for 23 Park Place.

28. 229 Stratford Road

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229 Stratford Road
Brooklyn, NY 11218

In Ditmas Park, a 1930s Victorian on Stratford Road that sold last fall with be rehabbed with a passive house renovation by Zakrzewski + Hyde Architects.

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1. 174 Grand Street

174 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Architecture studio Loadingdock5 has a few passive house projects in the city, the first of which was the single-family house at 174 Grand Street in Williamsburg, completed in 2011. It has a design shop on the first floor and a neon pink front door.

174 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

2. 23 Park Place

23 Park Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217

The townhouse at 23 Park Place holds the distinction of being the first certified passive house in New York (evidently, it is supremely difficult to actually get the certification, and a lot of places just use the standards without getting certified). The townhouse dates to 1899, and any passive house doubters only need to check out this thermal image to see how well the insulation really works.

23 Park Place
Brooklyn, NY 11217

3. 152 Freeman Street

152 Freeman Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Last November, plans were revealed for a four-story, seven-unit condo building on Freeman Street in Greenpoint. This building is also deigned by Loadingdock5, and it looks strikingly similar to 174 Grand.

152 Freeman Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222

4. 40 Cambridge Place

40 Cambridge Place, Brooklyn, NY 11238

In Clinton Hill, a wood-framed house on Cambridge Place will be retrofitted to passive house standards. Renderings were revealed last month, and the exterior will be restored to better match its historic neighbors.

40 Cambridge Place
Brooklyn, NY 11238

5. 951 Pacific Street

951 Pacific Street, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Prospect Heights is getting a batch of futuristically named condos on Pacific Street. Called R-951, the small building will hold just three apartments, and it is aiming to be net zero, allowing owners to live without external power sources. It will have rooftop sun panels, rainwater harvesting system, and extreme insulation measures, as passive houses do. All units are about 1,500 square feet and priced between $1.49 million and $1.57 million.

951 Pacific Street
Brooklyn, NY 11238

6. 210 Pacific Street

210 Pacific Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Nava Companies is developing a 10-unit passive condo building designed by SBLM Architects that will be outfitted with a solar hot water system and a car-charging station. They hit the market in February, and three of the condos are already in contract. Prices range from $2.475M to $5.25M.

210 Pacific Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

7. 45-12 11th Street

45-12 11th Street, Long Island City, NY 11101

It's been called the ugliest house in Queens, but architect Thomas Paino's blue-white-and-gray-tiled Long Island City row house is comfortable in its skin—and eco-friendly, too. Paino insulated and sealed the building to meet passive house standards, and installed a solar-powered water heater and a planted roof. As for the facade, it is apparently "meant to evoke a cloudy sky," but we're not buying it.

45-12 11th Street
Long Island City, NY 11101

8. 255 Columbia Street

255 Columbia Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

The largest passive project by Loadingdock5 is in the Columbia Street Waterfront District. It's a 13-unit building, and every apartment has private outdoor space. The building sold out quickly, and closings happened last fall.

255 Columbia Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

9. 424 Melrose Street

424 Melrose Street, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Last year, the country's first multi-family passive apartment building opened in Bushwick. The 24 affordable apartments went to senior citizens. Architect Chris Benedict designed the building, which is topped by a giant solar array.

424 Melrose Street
Brooklyn, NY 11237

10. Knickerbocker Commons

803 Knickerbocker Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11207

Knickerbocker Commons will be the city's second multi-family passive building, and like the first, it will be affordable housing. Architect Chris Benedict, the same person who designed the first multi-family building, is also designing this one. It will have 24 apartments available for disabled and low-income people.

803 Knickerbocker Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11207

11. 542 West 153rd Sreet

542 West 153rd Street, New York, NY 10031

Passive house guru Chris Benedict is also designing Manhattan's fist passive apartment building, but at 40 units, it will be larger than Benedict's projects in Brooklyn. The developer Synapse Capital bought the property in 2013, and they broke ground last month.

542 West 153rd Street
New York, NY 10031

12. 11 West 126th Street

11 West 126th Street, New York, NY 10027

A six-apartment passive building is under construction at 11 West 126th Street, and as the Times says, it is in "an unofficial competition" with 542 West 153rd Street to become Manhattan's first multi-family passive building.

11 West 126th Street
New York, NY 10027

13. 138 Sackett Street

138 Sackett Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

On Sackett Street, there's a seven-unit passive condo building developed by Michael Sohne. It was competed last year, and two two-bedroom apartments are currently still on the market.

138 Sackett Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

14. 154 Underhill Avenue

154 Underhill Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238

During Open House New York in 2014, Russell Unger and Claire Hansen opened up their under-construction townhouse in Prospect Heights to shed light on the passive house building method. The pair retrofitted the house with the help of sustainable architecture firm thread collective, incorporating reclaimed wood, a solar array, and low-flow fixtures.

154 Underhill Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

15. 96 St. Marks Avenue

96 Saint Marks Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217

The four-story townhouse at 96 St. Marks Avenue is serious about its passive house status, and it has a website to prove it. Called Haus96, it was developed by Brendan Aguayo of Aguayo and Huebner and designed by Ken Levenson. The four apartments are outfitted their own dedicated ventilation systems, with high-efficiency heat recovery and the open kitchens have shaker-style cabinets. Living rooms holds a custom fireplace mantles made from joists reclaimed in the building. Completed in 2012, the house's claims to be the first "multi-family Passive House in the United States."

96 Saint Marks Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217

16. 228 Washington Avenue

228 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205

The passive house at 228 Washington Avenue, another Loadingdock5 project, also has its own website. Per the site, the goal of the owners is to "share and spread the new technologies about passive houses and let the world better." As such, they rent out rooms on Airbnb so people interested in passive houses can experience one for themselves.

228 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

17. ABC No Rio

156 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

For years, art institution ABC No Rio has been planning to makeover its Rivington Street headquarters, and work is finally supposed to start in 2015. Renderings were revealed in 2012, and the tenement will be renovated to passive house and LEED standards.

156 Rivington St
New York, NY 10002

18. 25 West 88th Street

25 West 88th Street, New York, NY 10024

Kurt Roeloffs told the Times that he renovated his townhouse to passive standards, and it didn't even increase the cost of the project. The temperature, amazingly, is a constant 72 degrees, and "the air just smells fresh and sweet, even after we cook, because the filters get rid of it so quickly."Michael Ingui, of Baxt Ingui Architects, who worked on the house, said in an email that it is also LEED Platinum cerified.

25 West 88th Street
New York, NY 10024

19. 20 Garden Place

20 Garden Place, Brooklyn, NY 11201

In Brooklyn Heights, a historic house on Garden Place was retrofitted for passive house standards, and the super insulation even blocks the cold around double-height windows. The owners bought the house in 2013.

20 Garden Place
Brooklyn, NY 11201

20. 338 8th Street

338 8th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Another brownstone-turned-passive house sits on 8th Street in Park Slope. The project was completed by RedTop Architects, and included the restoration of original carved moldings and hardwood floors. The house also received a green roof and two rooftop terraces.

338 8th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215

21. Beach Green North

45-5 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Far Rockaway, NY 11691

The Bluestone Organization is building Queens' first multi-family passive building in Rockaway, and it will be larger than both those in Brooklyn and Manhattan—combine. It will have 101 apartments over eight stories, and a groundbreaking is set for this summer. The building is part of Arverne East and will be 100 percent affordable.

45-5 Rockaway Beach Boulevard
Far Rockaway, NY 11691

22. 78 Third Place

78 3rd Place, Brooklyn, NY 11231

A passive house project in Carroll Gardens by Baxt Ingui Architects that's targeting net-zero energy use. "We are also tracking what seems to make the biggest differences and how they work once the clients move in," says Michael Ingui.

78 3rd Place
Brooklyn, NY 11231

23. 16 Third Place

16 3rd Place, Brooklyn, NY 11231

An under-construction passive house project in Carroll Gardens by Baxt Ingui Architects that's targeting net-zero energy use.

16 3rd Place
Brooklyn, NY 11231

24. 53 West 71st Street

53 West 71st Street, New York, NY 10023

Another under-construction Baxt Ingui Architects project targeting passive house certification.

53 West 71st Street
New York, NY 10023

25. 146 Willow Street

146 Willow Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

And yet another under-construction Baxt Ingui Architects project targeting passive house certification.

146 Willow Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

26. 465 Washington Street

465 Washington Street, New York, NY 10013

Under designs created by Zakrzewski + Hyde Arhcitects, the five-story 465 Washington Street is being gut renovated to passive house standards and doubling in size with a five-story addition. When complete, it will hold seven condos.

465 Washington Street
New York, NY 10013

27. 852 St. John's Place

852 Saint Johns Place, Brooklyn, NY 11216

In December, plans were filed by Zakrzewski + Hyde Architects to build a five-story, seven-unit passive building in Crown Heights. The developer, Justin Stewart, is also responsible for 23 Park Place.

852 Saint Johns Place
Brooklyn, NY 11216

28. 229 Stratford Road

229 Stratford Road, Brooklyn, NY 11218

In Ditmas Park, a 1930s Victorian on Stratford Road that sold last fall with be rehabbed with a passive house renovation by Zakrzewski + Hyde Architects.

229 Stratford Road
Brooklyn, NY 11218