November 30, 2015

Passive NYC: making the pathway to 80 by 50

passivenyc-233x300Passive NYC, A snapshot of low energy building opportunities, barriers, & resources, published by the the Building Energy Exchange,  demonstrates that Passive House is a force to be reckoned with: in planning the future of our cities, at every level of policy making, and in building design.

And 475, with our HQ in Brooklyn, is proud to be helping at the center of the whirlwind –  providing training, expertise, materials and policy leadership directly, and through active volunteering for NY Passive House and the North American Passive House Network – as well as 475’s educational and technical support across the spectrum of the low-energy and Passive House community.

Looking to the powerful example of Brussels and its BatEx program that transformed what was possible in construction and real estate development there, the report’s summary notes “The potential impact of Passive House is tremendous, providing one of the very few realistic paths to New York City reaching its climate action goals.”

The report is a high-level snapshot, recognizing the Passive House Standard’s essential emphasis on comfort.  The report recognizes the disregard current codes have for comfort criteria and the detrimental effects this disconnect has had on optimizing systems and efficiency.  The report gives an outline of the Passive House Standard and its regulatory adoption around the world, with particular emphasis on BatEx, the Exemplary Building competition that stimulated the Passive House market across the Brussels-Capital Region.

The report suggests powerful mechanisms for moving Passive House forward in NYC:

  • Public Buildings Leadership: allowing the public to seed capacity and gather early lessons learned.
  • Exemplary NYC: a multi-year competition inspired by BatEx.
  • Passive Code Pathway: provide Passive House as an alternative code compliance pathway.
  • Barrier Removal: targeted modifications to building code.
  • Active Incentives: expanding targeted incentives of NYSERDA and others.
  • Market Research:  government study of building industry segments and potential implications.

The report concludes noting that for NYC to reach its 80 by 50 carbon reduction goals, “It is essential that we transform the majority of our buildings into low and net-zero energy use.”  And developing a Passive House pathway is critical making it happen.

Join us on the pathway.

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