NYC's first Passive House apartment building open for rent

NYC's first Passive House apartment building open for rent

Photos courtesy of Synapse Development Group.

Residents of the Big Apple looking for an energy-efficient, community-focused lifestyle have a new option in the first market-rate Passive House apartment building in the city.

Developed by Synapse Development Group and Taurus Investment Holdings, Perch Harlem provides convenient urban living that also uses 80 to 90 percent less energy than a conventional equivalent apartment. The building opened for rentals in October 2017.

Located in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of Harlem, Perch provides residents with views of the George Washington Bridge to the north and Midtown Manhattan to the south.

The 40,000 square-foot project features 34 residential units and 18 parking spaces. Amenities include a resident lounge, rooftop terrace, private gym and a virtual doorman.

To meet Passive House standards, the building was designed with 8 inches of insulation, high-performance triple-pane glazing selected to the specific climate and solar conditions and a system that stores heat output from cooling systems in the summer to produce hot water.

The apartments are also compartmentalized to minimize air movement.

Each apartment features its own central heating and cooling system and uses an energy recovery ventilator to manage fresh air flow and humidity levels. Residents are able to enjoy fresh air whenever they want by opening small windows, while larger fixed windows bring natural light and warmth into each home.

The designers' goal was to exceed the Passive House requirements for energy use. The building will use an estimated 9.57 kWh/sq. ft. each year, surpassing the 11.15 kWh/sq. ft. requirement for Passive House certification. The blower door test, which measures the number of times in an hour that indoor air is replaced at a given pressure, met the Passive House standard of 0.6 air changes per hour.

Because they are built to such a high level of airtightness, the apartments use heat from daily activities such as laundry to help warm the home.

Interior features include reclaimed wood floors and natural material used in wall coverings, floor coverings and furniture.

Justin Palmer, CEO and founder of Synapse, told Fast Company that one of his goals was to build the project at market rate to prove that a high-performance building could deliver an acceptable return on investment. He hopes to encourage other developers to adopt high-performance building practices that deliver lower energy and maintenance costs.

Palmer is planning to expand Perch into a line of developments built to Passive House standards across the country. The next project is already underway in Williamsburg, and other markets under consideration include Nashville, Austin, Seattle and Los Angeles.

Read more about Passive House certification.

Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, Energy Recovery & Heat Recovery, Home Design & Plans, Passive House, Sustainable Communities, Thermal Envelope

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