NEW YORK – At a meeting led by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, the Manhattan Borough Board adopted a resolution endorsing ‘passive house’ building standards for ultra-energy efficient buildings and called for the city to undertake construction of a public project in Manhattan that complies with passive house standards.
“Manhattan is the center of the universe and our real estate is priced like it – but that means there’s nowhere that investments in smarter, greener construction are more prudent,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “We should promote the newest and best construction methods to lower our energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and counteract the urban heat island effect in our city. We can start by building a public ‘passive house’ project right here in Manhattan as an example to the real estate industry and the public that a greener, more energy-efficient tomorrow is possible today.”
Passive house standards are a rigorous set of design standards for buildings that require little to no energy for heating or cooling. The standards can apply to both new construction and renovations of existing structures, and can be adapted to residential, commercial, and other uses.
New York is home to a growing passive house movement, and will soon be home to the world’s tallest high-rise passive house, a 26-story dormitory building currently under construction as part of the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island. The island of Manhattan, known worldwide as the heart of New York City, is not yet home to any large, well-known passive house-compliant buildings.
The Borough Board cited the mayor’s One City Built to Last plan, noting that New York City’s roughly 69,000 buildings account for nearly three quarters of the city’s contribution to global climate change. Nationally, the U.S. Green Building Council has said buildings account for 39 percent of CO2 emissions and 70 percent of electricity consumption.
In the resolution, the Borough Board called for adoption of passive house standards in the city’s building code, construction of a public passive house project in Manhattan, and a city campaign enlisting the support of government agencies and officials, the real estate and construction industries, labor, and the public to promote zero net energy standards and renewable energy use.
The Manhattan Borough Board includes Manhattan’s twelve community board chairs and ten councilmembers, and is chaired by Borough President Brewer. Video of the Borough Board meeting is available here, and the Borough Board resolution can be viewed here.
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