Energy-efficient affordable housing approved

Image: Courtesy of Chris Benedict, R.A.

Brooklyn apartment building will comply with “Passive House” standards designed to dramatically reduce energy costs. On April 29, 2010, the City Council approved the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s proposal to allow the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council to build an energy-efficient, affordable apartment building at 803 Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The six-story building, known as Knickerbocker Commons, will provide 24 dwelling units, affordable to households earning between 30 and 60 percent of area median income; a senior citizen center; recreation space; and seven parking spaces

The project, designed by architect Chris Benedict, will be the country’s first apartment building to conform to the strict “Passive House” design standards created in Germany and expected to be adopted by the European Union in the near future. Passive Houses are super-insulated, airtight structures that rely on a variety of tools, such as well-placed windows and highly efficient air circulation, to dramatically reduce energy costs. Each rental unit in Knickerbocker Commons will have its own ventilation system, and the building’s facade will include details that will shade the triple-paned windows from the sun in the summer and maximize exposure in the winter. According to the architect, the building will use fifteen percent of the energy typically required to heat a New York City apartment building. 7 CityLand 41 (April 15, 2010).

Council: Knickerbocker Commons (April 29, 2010) (Architect: Chris Benedict R.A.).

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