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Design is underway for a new recording studio project in Manhattan's Lower East Side. The owner has asked me to help bring her vision to life of a healthy, safe gathering place for her musical community, with great light and air - in a cellar! I am pleased that she has accepted my proposal to reflect a beam of sunlight from a rooftop heliostat through a series of mirrors to the floor of the live room: simultaneously making a natural gathering point and providing great natural light in a typically dark location.
Today we passed a tremendous hurdle: air-infiltration at the Red Hook Passive House tested 0.75ach50! This means we have met a critical requirement for achieving PHI certification. There are few buildings in the world that can claim that level of performance, and we achieved it within the additional constraints of a NYC renovation. Controlling air infiltration is fundamental for energy performance in buildings. As a frame of reference, a typical old Brooklyn townhouse often tests as high as 20 ACH50. That’s two orders of magnitude larger, with accompanying heating bills in proportion.
Its an exciting moment: the windows, typically a defining feature of a Passivehouse, have been installed in Red Hook. Ours are no exception: without exaggeration, these are among the nicest and best-performing windows on the planet. The frame of that window is rated at U-0.19, and the glass at U-0.105... that's R-10 for the glass! Also typical is the economic trade-off that makes the cost of these windows reasonable: they are paid for with the savings from a much-reduced heating system, part of the underlying economic formula that makes Passivehouse so compelling.
The house I remodeled for Seth and Rabia in Kensington has been published in "Eco-house Renovations: 45 Green Home Conversions" (Schiffer Books). I find I am in some good company, including Pugh + Scarpa, Bercy Chen, my esteemed colleague Andrew Tesoro, not to mention the inimitable Jersey Devil.
Construction documents have been filed at Bronx DOB for my largest rooftop solar array project to date: A 107Kw system elevated on new structural steel above the roof of an existing block-and-plank elder-care facility in Mott Haven. When built, it will surpass a previous project, Dumont Green, as the largest solar array in NYC installed on a residential building.
Three Letters of Completion in One Day: Letters of Completion arrived today for three solar array tax abatement projects! Each one of these pieces of paper represents a year or two of tedious bureaucratic hurdle-jumping: often two plan exams, a DOB plan audit, NYSERDA, DOB, ConEdison, Underwriter's Laboratories (really!) and NYC electrical inspections, post-approval amendments with revised drawings, stacks and stacks of paperwork, and truly endless follow-up... often for a dozen panels clipped to a frame on a roof. Each one of these letters represents escape from purgatory... three in one day is remarkable indeed!