425 Grand Concourse: Passive House on a Grand Scale

Market: Commercial, Residential
Type: Mixed-use
Location: New York, NY
Developer/Owner: Trinity Financial, MBD Community Housing Corp.
Architect: Dattner Architects
Project Services: Energy Code Commissioning, Passive House Verification
Building Size: Residential: 242,866 SF; Commercial: 8,659 SF; Retail: 8,771 SF
Certification: Passive House (PHIUS), Enterprise Green Communities
Incentive Programs: NYSERDA Multifamily NCP
Energy Savings: Projected: 90% cooling and heating energy, 60-70% whole energy demand

Project Background:

425 Grand Concourse is a joint effort between SWA, Trinity Financial, MBD Community Housing Corporation, Dattner Architects, and Dagher Engineering. Upon completion, it will be one of the largest mixed-use Passive House buildings in the world, and will consist of 270+ housing units, an educational facility, a health clinic, and a cultural space.

Project Services:

Steven Winter Associates, Inc. is providing Passive House Verification for the project, and Energy Code Commissioning services for the HVAC, domestic hot water, and lighting control systems. Through design reviews and functional testing, SWA is verifying that the project’s energy-related systems perform efficiently, reliably, and maintain occupant comfort. SWA is ensuring that the owner is receiving the high performance building they defined in the design phase

Energy Conservation Features:

The residential tower poses a unique challenge in controlling the building’s cooling demand due to its high density. Significant attention to detail has been placed on a highly efficient lighting design, incorporating high efficacy fixtures and bi-level controls. In addition, the project utilizes ENERGY STAR appliances and a combination green roof and ENERGY STAR light colored roof to minimize the building’s cooling demand –  a key component to the Passive House certification. Low flow and WaterSense plumbing fixtures will reduce water usage and water heating energy demand. Pursuant to Enterprise Green Communities, low/no VOC paints and sealants will be used, improving indoor air quality for occupants.

The building will be serviced by variable refrigerant flow (VRF) heat pumps which are ideal for a project with low heating and cooling loads. Heat recovery controls integral to the VRF system will allow for simultaneous heating and cooling. This is critical in the swing seasons when the dwelling units on one side of the building will require heating while the opposite side might require cooling due to it’s orientation.

425 Grand Concourse is projected to save 90% of energy demand for cooling and heating when compared to other typical existing high-rise apartment buildings of a similar size. It is also projected to save between 60 and 70% of the whole energy demand. As a result, these energy savings will translate into significant cost savings for the tenants. In accordance with the overarching greenhouse gas reduction goals set forth by NYC and the Passive House certifying agencies, 425 Grand Concourse will help set a precedent for the design of large, high-performing buildings.


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