Brooklyn, NY—Originally built in 1889, this three story townhouse was renovated to become a certified Passive House with the aim of retaining as much of the original character of the building as possible, while significantly reducing its operational energy use.
Architect: CO Adaptive
MEPS Engineers: ABS Engineering Structural Engineers: Nate Bergen
General Contractor: LB General Contracting Corp Solar Panel Installation: Brooklyn SolarWorks Finished Photographs: Peter Dressel & Emily Gilbert
The envelope was substantially insulated on the interior of the building and new triple-pane windows were installed. Operable exterior shades were tucked behind the existing brownstone, allowing them to disappear from view when open and mitigate solar heat gain when closed.
Together these interventions keep the building cool with minimal mechanical intervention, even during the ever-hotter summers of New York City.
The interiors were demolished down to the building structure. The existing joists were reinforced and then building was wrapped with insulation and an air-tight membrane.
To preserve the existing character of the building, CO Adaptive removed all of the ornate woodwork for later refinishing and reinstallation. The plasterwork was preserved wherever possible or carefully surveyed and recreated.
Natural gas, a non-renewable resource commonly used for heating homes in the neighborhood, was removed from the building and replaced with solar-powered electricity. A solar array was installed on the roof to offset the electrical load of the building and power and electric vehicle charging station.
All new plumbing, electrical and ventilation systems were located within an interior central spine from which it branched out to service each floor. This strategy minimized the penetrations in the air tight membrane which is critical to maintaining the performance of a Passive House.
The project was completed in November 2018.