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

Market: Multifamily - Affordable & Market Rate
Type: Affordable high-rise, Market-Rate
Location: New York, NY
Developer/Owner: Carrera RS, LLC
Architect: Arquitectonica
Building Size: 140,226 SF; 140 units
Project Services: Energy code commissioning,
Passive House consulting and verification
Certification: Passive House (PHI)

Project Background:

Rising 22 stories tall, the development at 511 East 86th Street offers 105 market-rate and 35 affordable rental units to residents of New York City. The apartments range in size from studios to two-bedrooms, and most feature balconies and views of the East River. Community amenities 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 create a stand-out experience.

The site is unusual in that it’s 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:

SWA provided energy code commissioning and Passive House verification services for this project.

Primary Energy Conservation Measures:

  • The walls were built using aerated concrete block with an interior steel stud cavity and are insulated on the exterior with 4 inches of XPS.
  • Fresh filtered air is provided via 84% efficient central commercial-sized ERVs.
  • Each balcony is thermally isolated using structural thermal breaks and is accessed by Passive House-quality, full-light glass doors.
  • Heating and cooling is supplied by a centralized variable refrigerant flow (VRF) heat pump system.
  • All units have triple pane windows and doors.


Read more about SWA’s Green Building Certification Services