Passive House in Brooklyn’s Space Craved Brownstones

How feasible is it to green renovate a Brooklyn Brownstone along Passive House standards? After looking into it the main issue I see is the lack of space. A brownstone has a fixed building line, usually something along the dimensions of 20×40 feet. At least a foot of that is taken up by bricks, leaving you 19×39 feet to work with.

Because of the large amount of insulation needed to meet Passive House standards the challenge is to not take up too much of that precious space. At an average of 1 to 1.5 million dollars for a Brownstone, those extra inches are indeed precious.

Because our Brooklyn Green Show House is roughly built along Passive House standards and it is a success we are interested in doing our next project even more aligned with Passive House.

There are courses that one can take to learn about Passive House. But to get a general idea there are also things on the web.

The original Passiv Haus German site is a good start.

The US Passive House web site is another good resource.

The Green Building Advisor has some insights of their own on Passive House. They have gotten a lot of flack from Passive House diehards because they dared to interpret it with an outsider’s skeptical eye. Passive House people can be a little religious about things IMO.

The book Homes for a Changing Climate is an interesting read. It talks about Passive House in the USA.

This free Passive_House_Sol_English gives a great outline of Passive House building across Europe. It shows how different countries altered the system to their needs.

About the author: Gennaro Brooks-Church

Has one comment to “Passive House in Brooklyn’s Space Craved Brownstones”

You can leave a reply or Trackback this post.

  1. sam - November 26, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I can ease your concern about loosing too much space due to super insulation. in our Brooklyn Passive House retrofit we found out that 3″ of closed cell spray foam insulation is plenty to make PH standard.
    That’s mainly because the compact volume of town houses and the shared wall with it’s neighbors. But you have to insulate about the first 3 feet of the party wall in the front and the rear of the house because of thermal bridging…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.