Brooklyn building shows that Passive Houses can have apartments too

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255 Columbia Street
credit: Margaret Badore

November 7 to 9 are the International Passive House Days, a weekend of events and tours highlighting low-energy building techniques.

A Passive House is a highly energy efficient building that is heated primarily by the sun and by the people and appliances inside the building. This is achieved through heavy insulation called a “building envelope” and an energy-recovering air ventilator system.

Although the term “Passive House” might seem to refer to single family homes, these concepts can be applied to all kinds of buildings. This apartment building at 255 Columbia Street in Brooklyn is an example of how a multifamily residence can use Passive House concepts. There are still relatively few Passive House apartment buildings in New York, but the trend is growing.

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