One for the Books: Cornell Tech Officially Certified World’s Tallest Passive House

The House at Cornell Tech

The House at Cornell Tech

Over the past two weeks, The House at Cornell Tech achieved two distinguished certifications: LEED for Homes Multifamily High-Rise Platinum and Passive House. The 26-story residential tower on Roosevelt Island is now officially the world’s tallest building to earn certification through the rigorous Passive House building standard. SWA is proud to have provided Passive House, LEED, and ENERGY STAR consulting services, NYSERDA Multifamily Performance Program (MPP) support, commissioning, accessibility consulting, and energy modeling services for the project.

The House is a 26-story residential tower designed by Handel Architects, and developed by The Hudson Companies, The Related Companies, and Cornell University. Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA) provided Passive House consulting, green building certification services, commissioning, accessibility consulting, and energy modeling services for the project.

In 2012, Cornell announced that its graduate school of engineering would transition from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island – a local historic gem that sits parallel to Manhattan in the East River. The move was a joint venture between Cornell University and Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in an attempt to redefine high tech and high design in an academic setting.

Rising above all other structures on Roosevelt Island, Cornell Tech’s residential tower includes a color-changing façade that acts as a thermally insulated blanket, as well as a louver façade on the south side that opens into the Manhattan skyline. These elements provide naturally regulated heating and cooling throughout the building and work in concert with a variety of interior systems and installations that contribute to the building’s overall self-sufficiency and positive impact on human health. Compared to conventional approaches to construction, the building is projected to save 882 tons of CO2 per year – the equivalent of planting 5,300 new trees.

Steven Winter Associates guided the 352-unit tower to achieve Passive House Certification, LEED® for Homes Multifamily High-Rise™ Platinum, and ENERGY STAR®. Additionally, SWA helped navigate the project through the NYSERDA Multifamily Performance Program. SWA’s direction also ensured the projects compliance with several federal and local accessibility standards. These requirements include Chapter 11 of the 2008 New York City Building Code, the seven design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Amendments Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Cornell Tech’s transition to Roosevelt Island was aimed at improving the dynamism of the built environment to better support synergy and collaboration between all members of the school’s community. Following this landmark Passive House achievement, the industry will look forward to seeing and contributing to the new ways in which Cornell Tech approaches this goal.

Read more about SWA’s Residential New Construction Services 

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