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Passive House standards proving their worth in multifamily sector

Energy performance beats conventionally built by 32% to 58%.

June 01, 2021 |
Passive House standards proving their worth in multifamily sector

Illustration: ©Building Energy Exchange. Download the "Multifamily Passive House:
Connecting Performance to Financing"


A recent study from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the Community Preservation Corp., BrightPower and Steven Winter Associates, found that multifamily dwellings built to Passive House standards significantly outperformed conventionally built buildings in energy efficiency.

The study compared Passive House structures to two control groups: one consisting of New York City multifamily buildings built before 2003, and the other comprised of conventional new construction properties built after 2003. When comparing energy use, the Passive House buildings outperformed the post-2003 buildings by 32% to 58%.

Passive House upfront costs are up to 5% higher than conventionally built structures. But, the report asserts that the cost premium is likely to decrease as components become more widely available and cost-efficient.

Obstacles to wider Passive House adoption include a lack of experience and familiarity with the process of designing and building larger-scale Passive House developments among contractors and owners. The study also found that Passive House residents enjoy more consistent interior temperatures, humidity levels, and better acoustic comfort than those living in traditional buildings.

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