Passive House Architects New York

by | Jun 15, 2019 | Houses, Sustainable Design

A Passive House Architect can help you build a passive house by reducing energy usage and costs. Passive house has five key areas: high quality insulation, air tight construction, high quality windows, energy recovery, and solar heat management. Passive House Design is about the thermal envelope of a building and how it deals with heat gain and heat loss. An architect can apply Passive House Design single family homes or any other building such as large multifamily buildings.


Passive House Architects 

Below are the five main principles of Passive House Design:

  • Continuous Insulation / High Quality Insulation
  • Air Tight Construction
  • High Performance Windows
  • Energy Recovery
  • Solar Heat and Solar Shading


Passive House Architects New York

An architect not only designs what a house looks like but designs the construction of the house. Passive House Architects design certain aspects of the house to create an energy efficient design. The architect specifies details such as: insulation, exterior wall construction, windows, ventilation systems, and sun shading in order to achive a passive house.


Passive House Design

Heating and Cooling is the largest use of energy in homes and buildings. The main goal of Passive House Design is to increase efficiency and decrease the need for heating and cooling. The less heating and cooling the less energy and greater long term savings.


Passive House Architect NY

Passive House Architect New York


Continuous Insulation / High Quality Insulation

Passive house design and sustainability start with insulation. I live in New York where we have cold winters and hot summers. We need to keep the interior air cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Insulation is critical for temperature control in a home. As an architect I not only design what the house looks like but how it is built. We design the exterior wall construction to have the highest level of insulating quality possible.

Air Tight Construction

Insulation is useless if the building or house leaks air. This is more a problem with old construction and low quality construction. Today we want to make a house air tight. Air leakage in walls, windows, doors, and utility penetrations is a major cause of heat loss.

High Performance Windows

a passive house architect will specify windows with high thermal properties, thermal breaks, and low air leakage. All window product specification must be reviewed by the architect. In New York we have energy code standards but these are not very strict. At my architecture firm in NY we exceed the energy code in our buildings and homes.

Energy Recovery

Energy recovery is a critical aspect to passive house architecture. We already established that we build passive house to be air tight. If you have air tight construction how do you get fresh air. Well you need mechanical ventilation. You will have exhaust vents in the bathrooms, kitchen, and other rooms as well. All the air that is exhausted must be made up in air tight construction. An ERV or Energy Recovery Ventilation system can exhaust the old air and bring in fresh air. It uses the heat of the outgoing air to preheat or precool the incoming air without actually mixing the air.

Passive house architects must include an ERV or HRV.

Solar Heat and Solar Shading

As an architect I study the orientation of the structure, including solar orientation, trees, climate, etc… We take this and we must design a house or building to be as efficient ass possible. In New York we want sun to come in during the winter and we want to block it in the summer. We do this with windows on the south facade. There can be a deciduous tree that blocks the sun in the summer but lets it in when its leaves fall in the winter. The sun is at a high angle in the summer so roof overhangs or sun shades can help block the sun.


Passive House Architectural Design NY

The following are the basic principles for Passive House Design and Passive House Building. I am an architect in NYC where due to our climate passive house design can really make the difference in energy usage.


Passive House Design and Sustainable Design

There are many different techniques an architect can incorporate for sustainable design and energy efficiency. If you want to learn some more methods for sustainability we have a few other blog posts you can read. 21 Ideas for sustainable homes.


Passive House Architects in New York

In this article we reviewed some of the basics with regards to Passive House Architectural Services in New York. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.


Thank You for reading our blog post on Passive House Architects New York.

Please feel free to leave questions or comments below. We hope this was helpful. If you would like to discuss a specific project please contact us directly.


Jorge Fontan
Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.