The content for this article was originally featured in Buildings Magazine on September 20, 2022.
Apartment buildings are one of the last real estate verticals to embrace sustainability. But in a national housing shortage, an eco-friendly property is a major leasing advantage. One standard that’s attractive to developers and renters is Passive House.
Unlike point-based certifications with a broad view of environmental responsibility, Passive House focuses on measurable energy efficiency and carbon neutrality. Priority is given to envelope tightness, window glazing, all-electrical systems and heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation.
“If you think of multifamily as number of doors, it has a tremendous environmental impact,” said Emily Doe, senior associate for Weber Thompson. “It’s the most sustainable way to build housing compared to a single-family home on virgin land. Given the size of these developments, there are incredible opportunities to create a high-performing building.”
“Both the owners and developers need to understand that achieving stringent energy and carbon principles like Passive House need not be a daunting challenge. It’s just a matter of putting together the right design team,” added Dr. Ganesan Visvabharathy, founder of Hawthorne Development Corporation. “The cost is also not much more than traditional construction, and you make up the investment many times over with a higher net operating income.”
See how two multifamily projects have achieved Passive House’s rigorous criteria while remaining financially competitive: Eco Terra in Chicago and Solis in Seattle.