Passive Housing Techniques Increase Efficiency and Reduce GHG Emissions in NYC Buildings

Article: Sendero Verde, country’s largest Passive House project, tops out construction on phase one, by City Realty Staff

Articles: https://ny.curbed.com/passive-houses

Article: East Harlem’s affordable Sendero Verde project to get 37-story mixed-use building, by Ameena Walker

Post by Joshua Herrig, jlh2208

Sustainability Problem: Many, if not most buildings, are energy inefficient and are big greenhouse gas emitters. In New York City, buildings account for 47% of all GHG emissions. Another problem is that this technique costs more upfront, usually making it inaccessible and unaffordable.

Solution: Passive Housing techniques are being built into new buildings and retrofitted into old ones to make them, in some cases, 90 percent more energy efficient. One such apartment complex is being built in East Harlem called Sendero Verde. Sendero Verde is also affordable housing and is making this technique affordable and accessible.

Passive Housing must use 5 principles: 1. High quality insulation 2. Heat control and robust windows (often triple planed glass) 3. Airtight construction 4. Heat recovery ventilation 5. Thermal bridge-free design. The whole system is succinctly explained in this video: Passive House Explained in 90 Seconds.

This technique, once implemented, is cost efficient to the point where some buildings can be heated by the sun alone and reduces the heating bill to almost zero. As more and more buildings in NYC become electrified they will also need to retrofit their buildings unless the tenants will have to start paying higher heating costs. As of now, most NYC buildings run off of oil heaters which are terrible GHG emitters and polluters but building owners pay for it, not the tenants.

Which is why Sendero Verde is such an appealing project. The vision of the project is to build a “Community of Opportunity.” and will have very affordable heating and cooling bills for its tenants. The poor in New York City must often choose between paying their heating bill and paying for groceries and they often choose groceries. Passive housing techniques will significantly lower bills allowing them to not have to make that decision.

Stakeholders: 1. New York City government. 2. Architects 3. Construction and building managers 4. Tenants of the building 5. Citizens of New York

Implementation of this technology: 1. Teaching architects, builders, city planners of the Passive Housing techniques 2. Change of policy requirement (passive housing will work nicely with Local Law 97, which is requiring buildings to greatly reduce their GHG emissions. 3. Building and retrofitting buildings with passive housing techniques

One thought on “Passive Housing Techniques Increase Efficiency and Reduce GHG Emissions in NYC Buildings

  1. This makes a LOT of sense. The amount of buildings that heat using old systems of heating oil boilers driving steam heat, which then causes everyone in the building (especially upper floors) to open their windows in the winter to balance the temperature. This is incredibly inefficient, and a huge driver of GHG emissions in the city.

    Like

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