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Efficient High-Rise: Passive House Design Gets First Big US Run

A new European building method—touted to cut energy costs by up to 90%—is getting its first big US run at Cornell's new tech campus on Roosevelt Island, marking the first high-rise of its kind in the world.

Hudson Cos and Related Cos are developing the 270-foot-tall "passive house" building, which spans 272.5k SF, with special materials and insulation to keep the interior at a consistent 55 degrees—even during the winter and with little power.

The passive design that focuses on special ventilation systems emerged in the 1990s in Germany. It's been slow in gaining traction in the US. About 90% of passive housing units are in Europe, with just 152 certified passive homes in the US. Most sustainable buildings are LEED certified instead. 

"Our goal is that people will just think they have an amazing apartment, and they didn’t even know it’s a passive house," Hudson principal David Kramer says. The new dorm building is set to open in 2017[WSJ]