Passive houses from the outside look like a normal house. What's inside the house is a whole other story which could be a game changer for the way buildings are constructed across the United States.
Passive houses are built to be so energy efficient they require little outside energy for heating and cooling. Passive houses maintain a constant flow of fresh air ventilation. Amazingly, passive houses can reduce the energy needed for heating and cooling by up to 90%.
Currently, Passive Houses are being built in Brooklyn NY neighborhoods such as Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope.
According to Michael Ingui of Baxt Ingui Architects, a Brooklyn Architecture firm “you would never really know that a lot of homes in Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope are Passive Houses”. Ingui continues “But when you walk inside you feel the difference as well as hear the difference. Passive homes are silent,” Baxt Ingui Architects, BIA, founded by Ben Baxt has worked on sustainable design for decades.
BIA recently completed a wonderful project in Brooklyn Heights located at 37 Sidney Place. The house is 7,040 square feet with 6 bedrooms and 9 baths. The house dates back to 1846 and was completely renovated over the course of several years.
Ingui says “The level of finish in the house is impeccable”. “With a passive house I get rid of my boiler, my radiators, my chimney flu and it's a much healthier building”. Ingui continues “On rare occasions when heat is needed, the house uses heat pumps which also function as small air conditioning units”.
The filtered fresh air system called an Energy Recovery Ventilators runs 24/7 at low velocity. This created 6 or 7 air changes a day, so air is not stagnant. You are breathing fresh air and feeling good.
Architect Maggie Hummel (from BIA) was project manager. According to Hummel “What makes this project so special is the attention to detail, coupled with the high performance of this house”. “When you walk in everything is high end, all the materials feel very luxurious. The layouts are spacious. Then you couple that with such a high performing building envelope, and it's quite impressive”.
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development has completed several Passive House Projects, including Knickerbocher Commons in Bushwick. Knickerbocher Commons is New York State's first 100% affordable multi family building to be built and certified to the Passive Housing Standard.
According to Ingui” You can't get to Net Zero unless you build a better building that doesn't need much energy”. “It's a real game changer to think you can do that in New York City”.
To be continued...
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