New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh supports Passive House and PHPP

Brian Kavanagh, Senator, 26th District, September 18, 2019


I write to request that the New York City Department of Buildings give favorable consideration to including the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) as a Calculation software tool and alternative compliance path in the New York City Energy Conservation Construction Code (NYCECCC) to enhance energy efficiency in new construction and retrofit projects. PHPP is a set of design principles and a standard for energy efficiency that enables buildings to be more resilient against power outages and extreme weather. By approving the PHPP, New York City will be reaffirming its commitment to addressing climate change by opening the door to significant energy and economic savings for new construction and retrofits of buildings.

Passive House is a calculated modeling methodology that promotes energy efficiency by emphasizing structural solutions that help to maintain temperature within a building. This includes thermal insulation, high performance windows and doors, ainightness of the building envelope, reduction of thermal bridges, and ventilation, which all prevent heat loss and drafts in the winter, and minimize heat gain during the summer. Conserving energy in this manner reduces monthly utility costs for individual occupants and yields a smaller carbon footprint for entire buildings. Adopting this standard into the NYCECCC would encourage the voluntary construction of more efficient buildings and retrofitting of inefficient buildings. With more than 100 Passive House projects construcled or in development throughout the city, 20 of which are within my district, New Yorkers have begun to recognize these standards as a pathway to reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

Both the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Division of Homes and Community Renewal have acknowledged the energy-saving benefits of Passive House standards. As you know Mayor de Blasio signed Local Law 32, requiring the city to adopt a stretch Energy Code with aggressive reductions in 2019 and 2022 and energy performance targets similar to Passive House standards by 2025. More recently, the City Council ovenvhelmingly passed and the Mayor signed the Climate Mobilization Act, committing the City to reducing carbon emissions by requiring owners of buildings with more than 25,000 square feet to cut emissions by 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2050—a pledge whose $4 billion cost to owners can be offset through energy savings and increases in property values resulting from Passive House slandards. Including the Passive House standard in the NYCECCC would be an important step in demonstrating New York’s leadership in addressing climate change.