Architecture

Tighthouse: The first certified Passive House in NYC

Tighthouse: The first certifie...
Tighthouse is a refit of an existing NYC row house (Photo: Hai Zhang)
Tighthouse is a refit of an existing NYC row house (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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Tighthouse is a refit of an existing NYC row house (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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Tighthouse is a refit of an existing NYC row house (Photo: Hai Zhang)
The property is over a hundred years old (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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The property is over a hundred years old (Photo: Hai Zhang)
Fabrica718 cites savings of "90 percent less heating energy and 75 percent less energy use overall compared to the standard home" (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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Fabrica718 cites savings of "90 percent less heating energy and 75 percent less energy use overall compared to the standard home" (Photo: Hai Zhang)
A solar thermal hot water system provides hot water, and solar panels are fitted to reduce grid-based electricity needs (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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A solar thermal hot water system provides hot water, and solar panels are fitted to reduce grid-based electricity needs (Photo: Hai Zhang)
During the renovation, Fabrica718 also added a new rear facade, an additional third floor, a roof terrace, and a double-height art studio (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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During the renovation, Fabrica718 also added a new rear facade, an additional third floor, a roof terrace, and a double-height art studio (Photo: Hai Zhang)
Lighting is either LED or fluorescent, and there's also an abundance of natural light (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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Lighting is either LED or fluorescent, and there's also an abundance of natural light (Photo: Hai Zhang)
Tighthouse is a refit of an existing NYC row house (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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Tighthouse is a refit of an existing NYC row house (Photo: Hai Zhang)
The property's energy usage is currently monitored through remote log-in via computer or iPhone (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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The property's energy usage is currently monitored through remote log-in via computer or iPhone (Photo: Hai Zhang)
Fabrica718 cites savings of "90 percent less heating energy and 75 percent less energy use overall compared to the standard home (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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Fabrica718 cites savings of "90 percent less heating energy and 75 percent less energy use overall compared to the standard home (Photo: Hai Zhang)
Lighting is either LED or fluorescent, and there's also an abundance of natural light (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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Lighting is either LED or fluorescent, and there's also an abundance of natural light (Photo: Hai Zhang)
During the renovation, Fabrica718 also added a new rear facade, an additional third floor, a roof terrace, and a double-height art studio (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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During the renovation, Fabrica718 also added a new rear facade, an additional third floor, a roof terrace, and a double-height art studio (Photo: Hai Zhang)
Tighthouse is a refit of an existing NYC row house (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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Tighthouse is a refit of an existing NYC row house (Photo: Hai Zhang)
Fabrica718 cites savings of "90 percent less heating energy and 75 percent less energy use overall compared to the standard home" (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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Fabrica718 cites savings of "90 percent less heating energy and 75 percent less energy use overall compared to the standard home" (Photo: Hai Zhang)
Tighthouse is a refit of an existing NYC row house (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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Tighthouse is a refit of an existing NYC row house (Photo: Hai Zhang)
Lighting is either LED or fluorescent, and there's also an abundance of natural light (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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Lighting is either LED or fluorescent, and there's also an abundance of natural light (Photo: Hai Zhang)
The property's energy usage is currently monitored through remote log-in via computer or iPhone (Photo: Hai Zhang)
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The property's energy usage is currently monitored through remote log-in via computer or iPhone (Photo: Hai Zhang)
Architectural drawing of Tighthouse (Image: Fabrica 718)
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Architectural drawing of Tighthouse (Image: Fabrica 718)
Architectural drawing of Tighthouse (Image: Fabrica 718)
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Architectural drawing of Tighthouse (Image: Fabrica 718)
Architectural drawing of Tighthouse (Image: Fabrica 718)
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Architectural drawing of Tighthouse (Image: Fabrica 718)
Architectural drawing of Tighthouse (Image: Fabrica 718)
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Architectural drawing of Tighthouse (Image: Fabrica 718)

Architectural design firm Fabrica718 recently completed the very first Passive House Institute (PHI) certified house to be located in New York City. Dubbed Tighthouse, the property is based on an existing row house which is over a hundred years old and has been extensively retrofitted to meet the exacting Passive House standard.

Tighthouse's moniker refers not to its size, nor the spending habits of its occupants, but rather to the dwelling being almost air-tight. However, this wasn't always the case, and the original property required a significant amount of work to be brought up to scratch.

During an extensive renovation which included input from consultants Studio Cicetti, Anastos Engineering, and ZeroEnergy Design, a new rear facade, an additional third floor, a roof terrace, and an art studio were all added.

Two solar thermal panels provide hot water, and solar PV panels reduces electricity supplied by the grid. All powered lighting is either LED or fluorescent, and natural light has ben harnessed where possible. A highly-efficient heat recovery ventilation system (HRV) is always running to provide fresh air.

Lighting is either LED or fluorescent, and there's also an abundance of natural light (Photo: Hai Zhang)
Lighting is either LED or fluorescent, and there's also an abundance of natural light (Photo: Hai Zhang)

This setup offers what Fabrica718 cites as savings of "90 percent less heating energy and 75 percent less energy use overall compared to the standard home."

Fabrica718 founder Julie Torres Moskovitz told Gizmag that the energy consumption of Tighthouse is currently monitored through remote log-in via computer or iPhone, and though a full seasonal cycle has not yet been completed, it has already nipped a small power anomoly in the bud, illustrating the value of remote monitoring.

Though the Passive House energy certification doesn't award points for photovoltaic panels, Moskovitz cites a preference for a dual approach of conserving as much energy as possible by following the Passive House standard, and adding renewable energy sources to reduce energy use from the power grid yet further.

Tighthouse measures 3,200 sq ft (300 sq m) and was completed in 2012.

Source: Fabrica718 via Arch Daily

3 comments
BigGoofyGuy
I think that is both cool and green. It really looks nice. Being in NY, it is probably expensive.
Moebius Machiavelli
Okay, so you must have plants in it then, right? to absorb off gassing from plastic products and other pollutants? I mean, this is one of the problems they ran into with space craft... They didn't realize as our "things" break down they release sometimes toxic gasses...
James Sullivan
Clearly by looking at the street in front of the house and at the surrounding neighborhood from the exterior views this house in in Brooklyn and NOT NYC. So why not just say Brooklyn instead of NYC? BIG $$$ DIFFERENCE. 3200 sq ft in NYC would be out of the price range of pretty much everyone except the ultra rich and they they don't do solar.