Passive House social housing transformative for NYC tenants Your very own sanctuary in the Big Apple

16 March 2022 by Jason Quinn

Passive House social housing in New York City is taking off, according to this Guardian feature story. Two things stand out: the extent of the uptake (dozens of affordable Passive House developments are currently underway throughout the city) and the way developers and occupants are describing the benefits. It’s great language I will remember when I’m describing the “why” of Passive House to others.

When developers adopt [Passive House] design standards, “not only are you changing the life of the building,” said Kaur, “you’re changing the life of the people who are in there.”


Tenants talk about the quiet internal environment, describing their apartment as a sanctuary. If you’ve never visited New York City, it’s hard to imagine the relentless assault of the noise.

Also noteworthy is the low premium for Passive House performance in the US. The article estimates the premium is about 5-10% more than a conventional house but that drops to just 3% more for construction of a multi-family residence ie apartment block.

Volume counts! As I’ve observed before, in New Zealand we’ve done the hardest thing first by building single-family homes to Passive House certification. Duplexes, other semi-detached typologies and apartment blocks are cheaper and easier in comparison, as are commercial and public buildings.

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