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Green Building News

A Day of Passivhaus Immersion in New York City

New York Passive House presents a one-day symposium on many of the region’s exemplary new-construction and retrofit projects

This Passivhaus residence in Orient Point was designed by architect Bill Ryall. Ryall and Passive House consultant David White will give a presentation on the house at the 2012 Passive House Symposium. [Photo credit: Four Seven Five]
Image Credit: Four Seven Five

Although the idea does have a certain appeal, for most of us it would be impractical to tour all of the approximately 40 completed or in-progress Passivhaus projects in New York. But a one-day symposium focused on a selection of these projects would be easily manageable and, it turns out, is already on the calendar.

On Saturday, June 23, New York Passive House, a nonprofit based in New York City, will play host to the 2012 Passive House Symposium – a detailed look at nine retrofit projects and nine new-building projects. While some of these projects are in the city (a hotbed of Passivhaus retrofit activity), the locations of others range from Long Island to upstate New York. The configurations include row houses, multifamily projects, and commercial and institutional buildings.

The presenters offer an impressive level of expertise – most are architects, many are builders and certified Passive House consultants. All have extensive experience applying the Passivhaus standard in New York’s climate zones.

Symposium details

The event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Sciame Auditorium, 141 Convent Avenue, at the City College of New York’s Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. (click here to register). The admission fee – $40 for the public, $20 for NYPH members, $50 at the door – includes lunch and beverages. Building professionals licensed in New York State can earn 5.5 hours of professional education credits by attending the symposium.

NYPH has summarized the schedule of events as follows:


Passive House: a global standard: Tomas O’Leary, founder and director of Brooklyn-based Passive House Academy, will describe the latest developments at the Passive House Institute and Passivhaus activities generally in Europe, and how New York fits in in the emergence of the standard.

Certified Passive House: Architect Bill Ryall (Ryall Porter Sheridan Architects) and Passive House consultant David White (Right Environments) will present their completed project, Orient Point, a new building on Long Island recently certified by PHI.

Project roundtable: Architects Andreas Benzing, Julie Torres Moskovitz, Jeremy Shannon, and Chris Benedict will each explore different aspects of working toward the Passivhaus standard in a variety of projects.

Lunch, which will include a showing of Passive Passion, a 20-minute documentary on Passive House, by Brooklyn-based documentary producer-editor Charlie Hoxie. The documentary features (See the trailer here.)


Certified Passive House: Architect Stephanie Bassler (North River Architecture + Planning) will present details about Omega Institute, an upstate institutional new-construction/addition that was certified in fall of 2011.

Project Slam: Four PechaKucha 20×20 presentations: Stas Zakrzewski (Z+H Architects): “PH in France, and what construction there can show us here”; Wendy Ing (certified Passivhaus consultant): “Facing thermal bridges in an upstate home”; Ken Levenson (475 High Performance Building Supply): “Row house, multifamily, and country house”; and Chris Steffens (Lightmill Design): “Data collection in PH buildings.”

Project roundtable: Architect Sam Bargetz (Loadingdock 5): “Brooklyn projects: variations”; builder Gennaro Brooks-Church (Eco Brooklyn): “Radical sustainability”; and engineer Jordan Goldman (ZeroEnergy Design): “New England PH: commonalities and differences.”

PH going forward – projects on the boards: Architect Paul Castrucci (Red Industries) on “ABC NoRio: PH, a tight urban site”; Brooklyn-based Architect Greg Duncan on “Commercial PH in Brooklyn: concerns beyond residential buildings”; and engineer Lois Arena (Steven Winter Associates), who will discuss “The process of PH enclosure assembly in upstate housing.”


  1. user941025 | | #1

    Holy smokes about ABC No Rio in there as a PassivHaus project. What a wild change for a longtime squat and punk show venue that was sold by the city for $1 after a decade-plus holdout. Miraculous that they made it through to this. Stunned and (I guess) impressed...?

    For those who don't yet find that development bizarre:

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    More on ABC No Rio
    For readers who are scratching their heads, Minneapolis is referring to the upcoming presentation by architect Paul Castrucci, who is working on a Passivhaus retrofit of the ABC No Rio building, described as "a tight urban site."

    [Later edit - I missed this reference when I first read the article. However, there is no reason I should have scratched my head.]

  3. user941025 | | #3

    scratching heads
    Yes, I'm repeating the words that are printed about 4" above my post, listed in the sessions. They say "ABC No Rio."

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