Passive House is Here to Stay and This is Why

By Pablo Muñoz, Sustainability Consultant

In recent years, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions have seen a tremendous increase in interest in Passive House buildings. It’s not only in the news; here at SWA we have experienced a dramatic increase in requests for Passive House. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority (PHFA) now includes a 10 point incentive within its Qualified Allocation Plan to developers of affordable, low-income tax credit projects that design to Passive House standards.

In New York City, public initiatives like SustaiNYC have spurred a mixed-use project that will likely result in the largest Passive House building in the world. Other public initiatives, like the reopening of NYSERDA’s MPP program, carve out funding exclusively for Passive House projects. The emergence of singular and iconic Passive House projects, such as Cornell Tech – which, upon completion, will be the largest and tallest building with this certification in the world – have also boosted interest.

Architectural Rendering of Cornell Tech Campus

Architectural Rendering of Cornell Tech Campus

It is clear that as code is made more stringent across the country, the gap between basic compliance and Passive House certification will shrink, making it more attractive for developers.

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Green Building Targets the Indoor Environment, as Health Becomes Top Priority

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In SWA’s second contribution to Green Energy Timeswe examine the certification programs, operational strategies, and occupant behavior trends that contribute to enhanced indoor air quality (IAQ). The full article is featured below, or on page 29 of the April-June edition of Green Energy Times.


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Does your business qualify as “Zero Waste Certified”?

Author: Celeste McMickle, Senior Sustainability Consultant

Waste reduction is an important topic these days in New York, as the city is currently targeting sending “zero waste to landfills” by the year 2030 as part of the One NYC program. What zero waste means from a practical standpoint is a reduction of more than 90% of waste to landfills, as this ZeroWaste_onenyc-logo_credit_1.nyc.govaccounts for non-recyclable toxins, and so forth.

Much like the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the US Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) has developed a rating system that allows business to track and achieve different performance tiers of waste reduction in their operational practices. Read more

Passive House: At the Crossroads of Sustainability and Affordability

GreenEnergyTimes_Banner Green Energy Times is a bi-monthly publication chronicling the latest sustainability news in New England and New York (and beyond!). In 2016, SWA will be contributing a column for each issue. To start the year, SWA’s Heather Breslin discusses how and why the affordable housing market is beginning to embrace the Passive House Standard. The full article is featured below, or on page 27 of the February edition of Green Energy Times.  Read more

Unique Certification Options with National Green Building Standard™ (NGBS)

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If you’re unfamiliar with Home Innovation Research Labs’ National Green Building Standard™ (NGBS), the program is designed primarily to rate the performance of single-family homes or multifamily properties in six important categories: Site Design, Resource Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Building Operation & Maintenance. So how does NGBS differentiate itself from other green building rating systems? NGBS goes beyond the norm by offering certification paths for new land development and remodeling projects. Let’s take a closer look at these unique verification options. Read more