511 E 86th Street – NYC’s All-Inclusive Passive House Development

Market: Residential
Type: Affordable high-rise, Market-Rate
Location: New York, NY
Developer/Owner: Carrera RS, LLC
Building Size: 140, 226 SF; 140 Units
Certification: Passive House (PHI)

Project Background:

Rising twenty-two stories tall, this development will offer 105 market-rate and 35 affordable rental units to residents of NY. The apartments will range in size from studios to two bedrooms, most of which will also feature balconies and views of the East River. Community amenities will include roof terraces, a resident lounge, a fitness center, and bike storage. Although the development’s amenities and features might resemble those found in nearby high-end condo buildings, its comfort and efficiency will create a stand-out experience.

The site is slightly unusual in that it is flag-shaped, a product of being cobbled together from four existing lots. Taking full advantage of the property, the development consists of two distinct sections, one narrower and shorter—just 12 stories—and connected by a corridor on each floor to the taller, wider portion. The building rests partially on a slab-on-grade insulated to an R-20 and partially on a full basement.

Project Services:

Steven Winter Associates is providing Energy Code Commissioning and Passive House Verification for this project.


Primary Energy Conservation Measures:

  • The walls will be built using aerated concrete block with an interior steel stud cavity, and will be insulated on the exterior with 4 inches of XPS.
  • Fresh filtered air will be provided via an 80% efficient central commercial-sized ERV.
  • Each balcony will be thermally isolated using structural thermal breaks and will be accessed by Passive House-quality full-light glass doors.
  • Heating and cooling will be supplied by a centralized variable refrigerant flow heat pump system.
  • Units will have triple pane windows and doors.


Read more about SWA’s Green Building Certification Services