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Strike a Chord: Building a Greener Future

passive house

Passive houses need to meet higher standards for air tightness, ventilation and waterproofing than other types of buildings. They first gained popularity in Europe, but passive houses are now popping up all over the United States.

Photo Credit: Chad Ludeman, Flickr

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Scott Short, the CEO of Riseboro, said Riseboro's housing developments are unique because they're not only affordable, they're also energy efficient. These buildings are called passive housing. He said they have a number of benefits. 
 
"Passive house apartments are quieter," Short said. "They're more comfortable throughout the apartment. You don't have that typical New York City experience."
 
Passive houses need to meet higher standards for air tightness, ventilation and waterproofing. They first gained popularity in Europe, but Short says these buildings are now popping up all over the United States. "The comfort of the apartment, the lack of air transfer, and the reduced incidents of pest problems are all things I think tenants are starting to realize and look for in future buildings," Short said.
 
Short said there are dozens of passive house buildings in New York City and that number will only increase. 
 
Dylan Salmons is on board with the trend. Salmons works at Pennrose. It's a real estate development firm that specializes in building affordable passive houses. Salmons said building passive house apartments is a lot less expensive than people think.  
 
"You might spend more on the window than the window you need to achieve passive house than the window next door or across the street, but that's going to allow you to downsize an aspect of the HVAC system," Salmons said. "You need that level of creativity on the engineering side to meet the delivery on the construction side."
 
New York City government is encouraging the passive house standard. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that buildings that don't comply with certain energy saving standards will face stiff penalties.