‘Passive House’ Development Brings 275 Affordable, Efficient Units to Brooklyn

A 14-story tower uses the ‘Passive House’ approach to drastically reduce energy use and improve quality of life for residents.

1 minute read

November 15, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Rendering of 14-story Chestnut Commons building at twilight

City of New York / Chestnut Commons rendering

Writing for Bloomberg CityLab, Lizzie Kane describes a mixed-use Brooklyn development that combines affordable housing with sustainability via Passive House methods. The project is part of the East New York Neighborhood Plan, which is designed to guide responsible development in the area.

The building, known as Chestnut Commons, is the largest multifamily Passive House building in the state at 300,000 square feet. As Kane explains, “This European-born energy-efficiency standard combines advanced technology for ventilation, insulation and airtightness with design solutions that help retain heat in the winter and keep it out in the summer.” In addition to efficiency benefits, the Passive House approach also reduces noise and air pollution, Kane adds. “Thanks to its Passive House features, Chestnut Commons enjoys a 70% reduction in energy costs. An energy recovery ventilation system in each apartment raises efficiency, while highly insulated units prevent outside temperatures from intruding.”

The building features 275 affordable residential units and ground-floor retail. “Beyond the residential spaces, Chestnut Commons is also designed to offer amenities and resources for the surrounding community, including a neighborhood community center that now inhabits one of the first-floor retail spaces beneath the apartments.”

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