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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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174 Grand Street

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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.

23 Park Place

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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.

152 Freeman Street

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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.

40 Cambridge Place

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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.

951 Pacific Street

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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.

210 Pacific Street

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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.

45-12 11th Street

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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.

255 Columbia Street

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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.

424 Melrose Street

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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.

Knickerbocker Commons

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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.

542 West 153rd Sreet

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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.

11 West 126th Street

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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.

138 Sackett Street

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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.

154 Underhill Avenue

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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.

96 St. Marks Avenue

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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."

228 Washington Avenue

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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.

ABC No Rio

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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.

25 West 88th Street

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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.

20 Garden Place

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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.

338 8th Street

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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.

Beach Green North

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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.

78 Third Place

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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.

16 Third Place

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

53 West 71st Street

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

146 Willow Street

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

465 Washington Street

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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.

852 St. John's Place

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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.

229 Stratford Road

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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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174 Grand Street

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.

23 Park Place

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.

152 Freeman Street

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.

40 Cambridge Place

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.

951 Pacific Street

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.

210 Pacific Street

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.

45-12 11th Street

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.

255 Columbia Street

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.

424 Melrose Street

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.

Knickerbocker Commons

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.

542 West 153rd Sreet

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.

11 West 126th Street

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.

138 Sackett Street

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.

154 Underhill Avenue

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.

96 St. Marks Avenue

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."

228 Washington Avenue

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.

ABC No Rio

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.

25 West 88th Street

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.

20 Garden Place

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.

338 8th Street

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.

Beach Green North

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.

78 Third Place

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.

16 Third Place

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

53 West 71st Street

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

146 Willow Street

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

465 Washington Street

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.

852 St. John's Place

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.

229 Stratford Road

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.