ABC No Rio

Public Relations Event : Building Brooklyn Awards by Paul Castrucci

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Building Brooklyn  Awards


EIGHTEENTH ANNUAL BUILDING BROOKLYN AWARDS  

Honoring 11 construction and Renovation Projects that Enrich Brooklyn's Neighborhoods and Economy

 

Historical Restoration Winner
 

158 Clifton Residence Winning Team

Owner: Sawkill Lumber/ Alan Soloman

Architect: Paul A. Castrucci Architect

Project Architect: Grayson Jordan

Builder: Blue Line Construction

Sustainability Consultant: Right Environments

 


Awards Night Event

Wednesday | August 1, 2018
6pm Awards Program
7pm Cocktail Reception


Location

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Meadow Rue Ballroom
60 Furman Street Brooklyn, NY 11201 (Map it!)

Summer News : Awards - Publication - Press by Paul Castrucci

BBACalltoattendv5.png

Building Brooklyn  Awards


EIGHTEENTH ANNUAL BUILDING BROOKLYN AWARDS  

Honoring 11 construction and Renovation Projects that Enrich Brooklyn's Neighborhoods and Economy

 

Wednesday | August 1, 2018
6pm Awards Program
7pm Cocktail Reception


Location

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Meadow Rue Ballroom
60 Furman Street Brooklyn, NY 11201 (Map it!)

Link to tickets and registration
 

 

Historical Restoration Winner
 

158 Clifton Residence Winning Team

Owner: Sawkill Lumber/ Alan Soloman

Architect: Paul A. Castrucci Architect

Project Architect: Grayson Jordan

Builder: Blue Line Construction

Sustainability Consultant: Right Environments

 


Publication

 

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GET A FREE COPY 

We are proud to participate in the latest Passive House publication with Low Carbon Productions


From Small to EXTRA LARGE  : Passive House Rising to New Heights

 

Architect and projects profiles featured on pages 75-83.

To request a copy contact : info@nypassivehouse.org

 

 


In the News


ABC No Rio featured as "The Modern Passive House"
- ON AIR : LG HVAC Story


As Andreas Benzing notes in the introduction to a new guide, From Small to Extra-Large : Passive House Rising to New Heights, "New York City is fast becoming becoming a Passive House epicenter of the country" 
- Treehugger by Lloyd Alter


 "Three projects by Paul A. Castrucci Architect are described in the publication, including ABC No Rio’s new headquarters in the Lower East Side, which is one of the first passive commercial buildings in the city . . . The thermal breaks are essential for reducing energy consumed in regulating the interior temperatures throughout the seasons, according to the passive building philosophy."
- Architect Newspaper by Alex Wong


 

International presentation for Net Zero architecture and ABC No Rio at Paul Castrucci Architect by Paul Castrucci

Wendy Brawer is one of this year's TED fellows and co-developer for award winning R951 Residence. She invited an international group to tour top GreenMap sites.  Wendy Brawer is the creator of the Green Map, a tool that uses distinctive iconography to denote green-living, natural, social, and cultural resources. Locally led in 65 countries, GreenMap.org will soon relaunch with a new, open approach to inspire greater action on climate health and environmental justice among residents and travelers alike.

The presentation focused on basic passive house principles, net zero projects and ABC No Rio as one of the first Passive House art spaces.

Press Bowery Boogie : Stairway to Nowhere: The Final Days of the Original ABC No Rio on Rivington Street by Paul Castrucci

Posted on: April 13th, 2017 at 5:00 am by Elie

Demolition of a half-block of Rivington Street is full speed ahead, and with it, the destruction of the both the old ABC No Rio headquarters and the former Streit’s Matzo factory. For the last several weeks, the buildings comprising 148-156 Rivington have been decimated in dramatic fashion. A combination of Bobcats, backhoes, and handtools.

It’s a sad spring for this corner, as more than one hundred years of history is now a pile of rubble and dust.

As previously reported, ABC No Rio is currently hosting programs in exile while its new “passive house” at 156 Rivington Street is under construction. The state-of-the-art facility – designed by local architect Paul Castrucci – will eventually boast larger exhibition and performance spaces (doubling the size), in addition to a green roof and second-floor terrace. The solar-equipped building will also have an elevator and carry the organization’s zine library, computer lab, print shop, dark room, and kitchen.

ABC No Rio purchased 156 Rivington Street from the city In 2006 for one dollar. Since then, the organization has raised more than $8 million in both private donations and city grants. Plans for the 9,000 square-foot, Leed-certified structure are eight years in the making.

What remains is a stairway to nowhere.

ABC NO RIO In Progress – Demolition Phase by Paul Castrucci

ABC No Rio is now in the demolition phase. ABC No Rio's events, programs and the essence of community that it brings about continue "in exile"

The programming work ABC No Rio engages and the design work Paul Castrucci Architect are doing helps to strengthen progressive communities in response to the recent elections.  

 

Press Bowery Boogie : Demolition of ABC No Rio’s Former HQ Commences on Rivington Street by Paul Castrucci

Posted on: March 8th, 2017 at 5:00 am by Elie

The proverbial wrecking ball is busy around the Lower East Side these days. It’s tough to keep up. Over on Rivington Street, half the block is currently amidst demolition. First, the Streit’s Matzo Factory. Now, on the occasion of its centennial, the tenement that formerly housed ABC No Rio is receiving the same treatment.

The city finally issued demolition permits last week, some eight months after first approving the paperwork. And despite the lack of netting and ironwork attached to the century-old building, workers have already begun dismantling 156 Rivington Street. In fact, it appears that the roof is already gone. The above photo shows the wrecking crew on the top floor with daylight visible.

One resident across the street is keeping tabs, and noted the brief reprieve during yesterday’s rains. “Thankfully it’s rainy, which keeps the dust down,” the tipster told us. “On dry days it has been flying around like crazy. And the rest of the time, the whole block smells like mold.”

As previously reported, ABC No Rio is currently hosting programs in exile while its new “passive house” at 156 Rivington Street is under construction. The state-of-the-art facility – designed by local architect Paul Castrucci – will eventually boast larger exhibition and performance spaces (doubling the size), in addition to a green roof and second-floor terrace. The solar-equipped building will also have an elevator and carry the organization’s zine library, computer lab, print shop, dark room, and kitchen.

ABC No Rio purchased 156 Rivington Street from the city In 2006 for one dollar. Since then, the arts hub has raised $1.6 million in private donations, plus an additional $6.45 million in grants through City Council members, the former Manhattan Borough president Scott M. Stringer and the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs. Plans for the 9,000 square-foot, Leed-certified structure are nearly eight years in the making.

However, the punk institution hit a snag at the end of last year. Director Steven Englander revealed that construction bids for the eco-friendly “passive house” replacement came in much higher than anticipated and that ABC No Rio needs financial assistance. In the meantime, there’s an ongoing drive to help raise the necessary funds.

As you may recall, in 2014 we moved our project over to the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Given some of our project’s unique aspects, city officials felt that EDC would be a better fit as they allow for greater flexibility in project management and administration.

We put the project out to bid and, unfortunately, the bids came back a lot higher than our available funding. While we’re disappointed, we’re not giving up hope and continue to explore our options for raising more money and getting our dream building up and running. Remember, ABC No Rio originated from a creative action by artists who never dreamed that breaking into a building to protest the city’s real estate policies would lead to a community arts center where many several thousands of artists, activists and others have been able to connect and learn. We’ve survived years of eviction attempts and gentrification. When the city first told us that if we raised the money to develop the site, they’d give us our home, many thought that this was an impossible task. But we did it – and in 2006, the City signed over the deed.

So, far from giving up hope, we’ll keep exploring what we need to make our new home happen. We are working with EDC staff and the construction management firm they hired to determine how to best move forward with our available funds given the current challenging market and environment for construction costs.

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Press Bowery Boogie : ABC No Rio’s Passive House Replacement Potentially Delayed Due to Overall Lack of Funding by Paul Castrucci

Posted on: January 4th, 2017 at 5:00 am by Elie

Punk haven ABC No Rio is taking baby steps toward demolition and rebuilding of their new Rivington Street facility.

The city gave its initial nod back in July, then two months later, water, electric, and sewage utility lines were each severed. The remainder of demolition awaits the official go-ahead, though, and is expected to commence in “early 2017.”

Meanwhile, director Steven Englander continues to solicit funds, and recently provided a more transparent update on progress. Namely, that construction bids for the eco-friendly “passive house” replacement came in much higher than anticipated and that ABC No Rio doesn’t have enough coin in its coffers…

As you may recall, in 2014 we moved our project over to the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Given some of our project’s unique aspects, city officials felt that EDC would be a better fit as they allow for greater flexibility in project management and administration.

We put the project out to bid and, unfortunately, the bids came back a lot higher than our available funding. While we’re disappointed, we’re not giving up hope and continue to explore our options for raising more money and getting our dream building up and running. Remember, ABC No Rio originated from a creative action by artists who never dreamed that breaking into a building to protest the city’s real estate policies would lead to a community arts center where many several thousands of artists, activists and others have been able to connect and learn. We’ve survived years of eviction attempts and gentrification. When the city first told us that if we raised the money to develop the site, they’d give us our home, many thought that this was an impossible task. But we did it – and in 2006, the City signed over the deed.

So, far from giving up hope, we’ll keep exploring what we need to make our new home happen. We are working with EDC staff and the construction management firm they hired to determine how to best move forward with our available funds given the current challenging market and environment for construction costs.

So, those punk shows will continue in exile for the duration.

As previously reported, the reincarnated ABC No Rio at 156 Rivington Street will eventually boast larger exhibition and performance spaces (doubling the size), in addition to a green roof and second-floor terrace. The solar-equipped building will also have an elevator and carry the organization’s zine library, computer lab, print shop, dark room, and kitchen.

ABC NO RIO Moving forward with programs in "exile" : next phase in construction by Paul Castrucci

ABC No Rio is embarking on a new phase. The summer of 2016 became a pivoting moment as programming at the Rivington Street space shifted to alternative locations and the staff prepares for demolition and new construction.

ABC No Rio's events, programs and the essence of community that it brings about continue "in exile".  In this transitional period, creates an opportunity for a renewed focus towards collaborative work that brings them back to their roots. ABC No Rio was founded as a project of the 1970s artist group called Collaborative Projects.  The spirit of collaboration will enable people to continue sharing resources and ideas in this atmosphere of change and mutual support.

The construction phase highlights the importance of the city's artist-run community spaces. The programming work ABC No Rio engages and the design work Paul Castrucci Architect are doing helps to strengthen progressive communities in response to the recent elections.  ABC No Rio has been responding to the times we live in since the space was founded 36 years ago.  The lost felt of not being able to operate in their space, to express themselves as they once did and nourish their creative environment has created momentum for ABC No Rio to take the spirit of creating community to other sister institutions.

Before leaving the building, ABC No Rio celebrated their 36 anniversary in their "old home". In June, they presented two final exhibitions: InFinite Futures and The Past Will be Present. Infinite Futures involved eighteen artists with a historical connection to No Rio. Each artist was invited to create installations imaging the site in five, fifty or five hundred years in the future. The Past Will Be Present included four photographers who documented the spaces and textures of No Rio's building and the people working within it.

The last month in the space had a series of sold out weekly hardcore/punk matinees. Punks of different generations danced, sang and cried together as they bid farewell to the tenement where they came of age and found their political and creative voices.  The last COMA improv session in their "old home" was an extended evening of short sets both inside and out, involving almost fifty musicians playing solo, in duets and in ensemble. ABC No Rio's programs "will be - and are - continuing in exile". For example, the hardcore/punk matinees continue at "Do It Yourself" venues in other boroughs. The zine library moved to another local and historical community space, Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center. The visual art program will be hosted in various galleries around the city. This movement creates opportunity for ABC No Rio to work closely with other artist groups/collectives. Their collaboration with Flux Factory, an artist-run residency space in Queens, cultivates a spirit co-operation over competition and becomes an exploration of mutual aid.

 Image: Satellite view of ABC No Rio and Paul A. Castrucci Architect headquarters. One minute walk and neighborhood. 

Image: Satellite view of ABC No Rio and Paul A. Castrucci Architect headquarters. One minute walk and neighborhood. 

Paul A. Castrucci Architect and ABC No Rio anticipate demolition plans to be approved soon and to begin in early 2017. The journey so far has not been without challenging moments for both the firm and ABC No Rio.  The city gave ABC No Rio the opportunity to raise the money to develop the site and with a supportive community response the city signed over the deed in 2006.  In 2014, ABC No Rio moved the project over to the City's Economic Development Corporation. The city realized that greater flexibility in project management and administration was better suited to fit the unique aspects of this construction. In 2016, they received an additional $750,000 from the Mayor and the Department of Cultural Affairs. The bids came back a lot higher than available funding. Most recently, asbestos was found on the roof. 

Current circumstances test the artist run space and remind its community of ABC No Rio's origins. The ABC No Rio artist community was culled from a creative action by local artists who never dreamed that breaking into the building to protest the city's real estate policies would lead to this moment.  During the course of transforming the space and creating community ABC No Rio has overcome years of eviction attempts and the gentrification moment. 

Support and donations remain important in the next phase of construction.

ABC No Rio is a 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions to ABC No Rio are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Consult your tax advisor with any tax-related queries.

                         Thank you for your support

                       Thank you for your support

Press Bowery Boogie : With Demolition Looming, Final Shows at Exiting ABC No Rio Announced by Paul Castrucci

Posted on: June 8th, 2016 at 5:13 am by Elie

Lower East Side punk haven, ABC No Rio, just released its final slate of programming in their longtime Rivington Street location. The announcement comes as the arts organization prepares to demolish the current building at 156 Rivington Street, and replace with a new energy-efficient “passive house.”

The takedown and subsequent reconstruction – which should begin by end of June – will force ABC No Rio into exile for the duration. However, there still aren’t any demolition permits on file with the Department of Buildings.

This replacement is more than seven years in the making. Challenges and roadblocks abounded. Plans all along called for a 9,000 square-foot, Leed-certified “passive house” that boasts exhibition and performance spaces, in addition to a green roof and second-floor terrace. Yet, the project progressed sluggishly through a quagmire of bureaucracy and administrative red tape.

ABC No Rio purchased 156 Rivington Street from the city In 2006 the for a dollar. Since then, the arts hub has raised $1.6 million in private donations, plus an additional $6.45 million in grants through City Council members, the former Manhattan Borough president Scott M. Stringer and the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

After the concurrent final shows – “InFinite Futures” and “The Past will be Present” – in comes the wrecking ball. “ABC No Rio will then vacate the building in advance of demolition and the subsequent construction of a new facility on its site,” Director Steve Englander noted in a public statement.

From the mailbag:

For Infinite Futures artists with an historical connection to ABC No Rio, from founders to current members of No Rio’s Visual Arts Collective, were invited to create installations throughout the building that imagine the site in five, fifty or five hundred years in the future.

Participating artists include Kevin Caplicki with Alexander Drywall, Peter Cramer + Jack Waters, Barrie Cline with Paul Vance, Jody Culkin + Christy Rupp, Mike Estabrook, Fly, Brian George + Kelly Savage, Julie Hair with Douglas Landau, Takashi Horisaki, Becky Howland, Vandana Jain, Mac McGill, Max Schumann, Noah Scalin, Amy Westpfahl, and Zero Boy.

The gallery will include work by four photographers for The Past Will Be Present. Jade Doskow, Vikki Law and Chris Villafuerte will show work that examines the textures of No Rio’s building on Rivington Street. Margarida Correia will present a series of portraits of ABC No Rio volunteers.

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Press in Doggerel - Passive house: A road map for radically reducing energy consumption? by Paul Castrucci

By Alex Ulam / June 30, 2015 

This winter was one of the coldest on record in New York City, and many property owners saw major spikes in their energy bills. However, thanks to passive house technology and a glazed glass south-facing façade, the occupants of a recently retrofitted townhouse in Park Slope, Brooklyn, were able to leave the heat off even when temperatures outside fell below zero. According to the architect, the building’s cooling and heating systems consumed less than a fifth of the energy needed to keep neighboring townhouses at a comfortable temperature.

The project’s designer, a firm called Build with Prospect, bills itself as the first worker cooperative in New York City’s construction industry. Build with Prospect also is one of the first firms in the city to start doing passive house retrofits. And although construction costs for a Build with Prospect retrofit range from 4 to 7% more than conventional construction, the energy savings are so significant that a building can start yielding paybacks within as little as four years.

“The nice thing about a passive house is that the results are verifiable,” Build with Prospect architect Nate Priputen says, noting that the energy-efficiency standard, which was developed in Germany in the early 1990s, is a holistic system based upon strict measurements of total energy usage and air circulation. In contrast, the US Green Building Council’s LEED checklist system awards points for various other environmental benchmarks in addition to energy efficiency.

 Drawing of one of Brooklyn’s first new-construction passive house buildings, designed by Paul A. Castrucci Architect; finished apartment seen above

Drawing of one of Brooklyn’s first new-construction passive house buildings, designed by Paul A. Castrucci Architect; finished apartment seen above

The passive house movement is strongest in Central Europe, where most of the more than 9,500 buildings certified as meeting its exacting energy efficiency criteria are located — in addition to the tens of thousands of buildings that have been built with passive house technology but not certified. A growing number of cities, such as Brussels and Frankfurt, are incorporating passive house standards into their building codes, and passive house–oriented masterplans are being developed for entire neighborhoods. And with the new European Union requirement that as of 2020 all new buildings meet “nearly zero” energy standards, meaning that they be built with a very high level of energy performance, the passive house model is destined to become even more prevalent.

With the growing concern about climate change, passive house is finally catching on in the United States.
— http://doggerel.arup.com/passive-house-a-road-map-for-radically-reducing-energy-consumption/

In New York City, one of the leaders in the United States for this type of construction, only a handful of buildings have been certified as passive house. But with the growing concern about climate change and the burgeoning interest in “zero net” carbon emission strategies, the approach is finally catching on in this country. The New York City government’s recently published One City: Built to Last report, which lays out a road map for reducing the city’s carbon footprint, discusses passive house as a potential energy performance guideline for all new construction.

The passive house standard requires a tightly sealed and heavily insulated building envelope to ensure optimum energy efficiency. The minimum airtightness level allowed is 0.6 air changes per hour under 50 pascals of pressure. To ensure that a house is in compliance with this limit and that there are no leaks, the building’s designers conduct an on-site blower door test. “The biggest challenge is the sealing,” says Priputen, adding, “If you have a weak spot you have to make all of the other areas stronger in terms of insulation and air sealing.”

 Paul A. Castrucci Architect’s new home for ABC No Rio, a community arts organization, is slated to become the first commercial passive house building in New York City.

Paul A. Castrucci Architect’s new home for ABC No Rio, a community arts organization, is slated to become the first commercial passive house building in New York City.

The other main pillar of passive house construction is a compact air and heat exchange system that conserves energy by transferring heat and/or moisture between incoming and outgoing streams of air. Designers specify one of two systems, depending on the site’s climate: heat recovery ventilators (HRVs), which transfer only heat, or energy recovery ventilators (ERVs), which transfer both heat and moisture.

We look at a solid new concrete wall in the back of the building, which is 18in thick as opposed to the 10in that Priputen says would be the standard for a new wall in a New York City townhouse. Accounting for part of the new wall’s thickness is expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation, which removes the need for formwork made of plywood or metal. Not only does EPS insulation result in a more efficient construction process, it also eliminates the enormous amount of waste from the more typical plywood and metal formwork that is generally disposed of after the concrete has set in conventional construction.

Along with the superinsulated walls, passive house construction generally features windows with an R-7 insulation value or higher. (Insulation value calculations can be highly complex. For the sake of comparison, however, a typical single-paned window has an R-0 value.) These triple-paned windows, which are only beginning to be manufactured in the United States, lower the heat loads while keeping the inside face of the glass significantly warmer, greatly reducing cold spots within a room.

Although the passive house standard is much more prevalent in Europe, it evolved out of research conducted in the United States back in the 1970s, when the country was in the throes of an oil crisis. In fact, two of the prototypes for passive house construction were built in the 1970s by a team headed by the architect Wayne Schick at the University of Illinois. The University of Illinois team determined that most houses lost heat through cracks and thermal bridging. So to eliminate thermal bridging and air leaks, the team used double-stud walls and massive amounts of insulation, which Schick dubbed “superinsulation.” Of course, removing all of the natural ventilation made getting fresh air into the house a challenge, especially during winter months. To compensate for the lack of natural ventilation, Schick and his team developed one of the world’s first HRV systems.

 ABC No Rio rendering

ABC No Rio rendering

While the University of Illinois team’s research failed to bring about immediate changes in the American building industry, it caught on in Germany, where engineer Wolfgang Feist used it as the basis for the original passive house standard, developed in 1991.

A number of factors have led to the passive house standard taking so many years to catch on in the United States. One of the challenges, according to Priputen, was the imperviousness of the insulating membranes available in the 1970s, which trapped water vapors with dire consequences. “It created mold and degraded entire buildings,” he says. “People moved away from it, and it has taken this long to embrace that way of building again.”

Passive house is strongest in Germany and Austria.
— http://doggerel.arup.com/passive-house-a-road-map-for-radically-reducing-energy-consumption/

However, the political climate in the United States also appears to have played a part in retarding advances in building science. “The story in the US is that we took energy efficiency seriously for about eight years in the 1970s, and then Reagan got elected and it all got shut down,” declares Ken Levenson, a founding board member of New York Passive House, a nonprofit advocacy organization; and a founding partner of 475 High Performance Building Supply, which specializes in passive house building materials and technology.

In addition to politics, Levenson says that differences in national architectural education standards have led some parts of the world to adopt the system much faster. “[Passive house] is strongest in Germany and Austria, where there are the highest technical capabilities and the architects and engineers are much more aligned culturally with it,” he says.

Until recently, cost premiums also were a limiting factor to the passive house standard becoming a commercially viable alternative in this country. For example, up until about five years ago, there were only a couple of importers of passive house–quality triple-paned windows to the United States, says Levenson, but now there are more than a dozen importers and the cost has come down significantly. “Passive house windows were more than twice the cost of a decent American double-paned window,” he says. “Today, you would probably get it for a 25% upcharge.”

Although passive house products such as imported high-performance triple-paned windows still sell for a slight premium, they significantly pay off in the long run by eliminating thermal bridges, creating airtightness, and increasing comfort for inhabitants. “Consequently, you don’t need to have perimeter radiator heating or air conditioning — you can get rid of all of those mechanical systems and pull them back to the core of the building,” Levenson says. “Because of the optimization, which should be driving energy loads down by 85 or 90%, there typically is 75% reduction in size of mechanical systems needed for heating and cooling.”

One architect practicing in New York has even found a way to incorporate passive house technology into affordable housing. Chris Benedict, principal of Architecture and Energy Limited, has built two 24-unit affordable housing developments in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn that are on the way to achieving passive house certification. Currently, she is getting ready to break ground on a market-rate 40-unit apartment house, which will be the first passive house residential building in Manhattan.

According to Benedict, who has been designing energy-efficient buildings in New York City since 1996, the growing popularity of the passive house standard has made it easier to sell her specialized skills to clients. “I was in the energy-efficiency world prior to the arrival of the passive house standard in the US,” she says. “Before, if I was going to talk with people about energy-efficient buildings, I would have to talk about tons of different things. Now all I have to do is say passive house.”

In addition to being responsible for several of the largest passive house developments built to date in this country, Benedict has also played a role in getting zoning and building codes changed to make these types of buildings more cost effective for developers. For example, in New York City, prior to zoning code changes, developers interested in more energy-efficient buildings actually stood to lose the amount of allowable floor area because of the extra wall thickness that passive house requires. “In new construction it was a tough nut to crack for developers,” Benedict says. “What is nicer for developers than a glass building where the wall thickness is 2 inches? That is a lot more developable floor area because the wall thickness was counted as part of the floor area of the building.”

However, three years ago, Benedict successfully lobbied the New York City Planning Commission to allow floor area bonuses for extra insulation on both preexisting and new construction. As a result, on new construction in New York City, any building that has a wall thickness of more than 8in does not count as floor area so long as the wall assembly has a higher R-value than the current building code’s R-value requirement.

The change in the zoning code is already paying off for Benedict’s clients. On the market-rate passive house Manhattan apartment building that Benedict designed, she has been able to recover about 800ft2 of floor area for the developer in exchange for providing walls that exceed the New York City Building Code’s insulation requirements. This amount “was the cumulative extra thickness of insulation that didn’t have to count as floor area,” she said.

Currently, there is a debate within the US building science community as to which passive house standard to adopt. Most of the existing passive house buildings in the United States have received their accreditation from the original Passive House Institute (PHI), founded in Germany. And in order to receive PHI certification, an inspection is required by one of the institute’s accredited inspectors. However, there is also a Belgian Passive House standard, as well as a Swedish Passive House standard. In 2007, several architects split from the German passive house standard and founded their own organization called Passive House Institute US (PHIUS).

One of the big bones of contention between the German-based PHI and PHIUS is a difference of opinion over what a building’s maximum energy loads should be in order to qualify for certification. Benedict says that the PHI standards are impractical for very hot or very cold climates in the US that are unlike that of Germany, and that it would be more practical to have limits on peak energy loads rather than on yearly energy use. “One of the reasons we haven’t had the huge launch that could have happened in this country is because of the rift and the fighting that has been going on,” she says. “That has confused the marketplace a bit, and it also has confused practitioners who hear one thing and then another, so they don’t know which way to turn.”

It will doubtless take time for the competition between the different passive house institutes in this country to play out, and perhaps there is room for several different types of standards. Meanwhile, it has become much easier to build these types of buildings as a result of passive house technology becoming significantly more affordable and regulatory barriers being removed in places like New York City. With US cities tightening their energy codes, it seems clear that the building industry in this country will soon need to know a great deal more about passive house technology than it does now.

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6sqft Press: ABC No Rio’s Graffiti-Covered Tenement Will Be Replaced with an Ultra-Modern “Passive House” by Paul Castrucci

POSTED ON MON, DECEMBER 1, 2014BY DIANE PHAM

abc-no-rio-lower-east-side-nyc.jpg

When ABC No Rio announced more than five years ago that they would be demolishing their building in favor of an updated facility, artists immediately began grieving over the impending loss of the cooperative’s hardcore punk roots. Not much movement was made after that—only word that the artists would be going green with their renovation—but lo and behold, a new rendering revealed by Bowery Boogie shows us what will soon replace the artists’ collective: a 9,000 square-foot, LEED-certified Passive House complete with exhibition and performance spaces, a green roof and a second floor terrace.

abc-no-rio-rendering.jpg

Though a design by architect Paul Castrucci has been secured, Bowery Boogie reports that the project has been locked in the construction bid phase for the last few years. Costs apparently came in much higher than anticipated, and though they received a discount on the purchase of the building–and $1.5 million in city funding in October–the collective is still short on the funds needed to make the project happen. As a result, the project will be put out for bids again in spring 2015, and if all goes as planned, work will begin shortly after.

ABC No Rio purchased the building from the city for $1 back in June of 2006 under the provision that it be renovated.

What do you think of the new design?

[Via Bowery Boogie]