New York’s Roosevelt Island will soon be home to the world’s largest passive house–a building that minimizes its ecological footprint by requiring very little energy for heating and cooling. Cornell University plans to incorporate the building as part of their new tech campus bound for the island. This new passive house will join a fleet of other similar eco-friendly buildings that have already sprung up across the five boroughs, many of which are situated right here in Brooklyn.
Passive houses have long been popular in Europe, and there are over 20,000 that take the form of kindergartens and hospitals across Germany, Poland, France and other countries. The passive house bound for Roosevelt Island however, will serve partly as a 250-foot high student residence hall that will house a total of 520 people when the building is complete in 2017, according to the urban issues think-tank, Sustainable Cities Collective. This building will place New York City as something of a leader in the passive house movement, if only for the building’s height, because it will be the world’s tallest once it’s complete.
Brooklyn on the other hand, is home to the Knickerbocker Commons, a building established in 2014 that straddles the Bushwick Ridgewood border, in addition to several other units that meet passive house standards. The unusual thing about Knickerbocker Commons however, is that its units are affordable, and only available to residents earning thirty to sixty percent of the area’s median income. Chris Benedict, one of the principal architects behind the Knickerbocker Commons, also had a hand in the passive house project at 424 Melrose street in Bushwick, which happens to be the first officially certified, multi-family dwelling passive house in the country.
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