Work got underway last week on the single largest Passive House multi-family building in the country.
Certified by the Passive House Institute of the United States (PHIUS), Beach Green North in Far Rockaway will provide 101 of the most energy efficient apartments ever built for very low-, low-, and moderate-income households.
It will also have resilient features to ensure the safety of residents during storm events in the Far Rockaway community.
“This is new-age housing for our new-age climate and superstorm reality,” said Commissioner and CEO James S. Rubin.
“With hi-tech, environmentally congruent features, this building is sustainable and will mitigate storm damage in a flood-prone area for what Governor Cuomo has called ‘the new normal’ of superstorm forces.
“Those 100-year storms our grandparents talked about, today are our children’s climate reality with annual and even semiannual reminders of how our climate has degraded. We are proud to be here with our partners to usher in this exemplar of environmentally-conscious affordable housing for more than 100 vulnerable New Yorkers.”
Passive building cuts energy consumption by 60-80 percent compared to code buildings. In addition to Passive House certification, Beach Green North will participate in the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Multifamily Performance Program (MPP), and will achieve an Energy Star rating. Energy-efficient and resilient features include the use of energy-efficient windows, individual Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) systems in each apartment, energy-efficient central air/heating, and energy-efficient water saving devices. All fixtures and appliances used in this development will be Energy Star approved. Low-energy consuming LED light fixtures will be used throughout the building.
The construction will also feature a Combined Heat and Power System (CHP), also known as a cogeneration system. A CHP system will produce a significant quantity of the electricity used in the building through the use of a natural gas-fueled engine to generate electricity that will be distributed throughout the building.
The ‘waste’ heat by-product of the electricity generation will be captured and reused to heat the building’s water heaters and boilers.
The seven-story building ill have green spaces, on-site laundry facilities, recreational space, bike storage, and on-site at grade parking.
There will be a roof garden alongside a terrace on the 7th floor. Special native species plantings and bio-swales will be introduced at the ground level and rear raised terrace areas to help the environment by retaining storm water run-off and providing a supply of on-site water for irrigation purposes. Insulated concrete form (ICF) construction will be used in all exterior walls. This will provide a comfortable, resilient, air tight structure. This will also result in drastically lower heating and cooling costs for each tenant.
The property is being developed by a public private partnership that includes the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and the New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR)along with The Bluestone Organization and Triangle Equities Development Company.
“Beach Green North is designed to be at the forefront of sustainability and resiliency. Built to the Passive House standard and in excess of current FEMA and building code requirements, residents will be able to live more comfortably and safely in the event of future storms and potential sea level rise,” said Steve Bluestone, partner at The Bluestone Organization.
The total development cost for Beach Green North is approximately $32.5 million. HDC provided $14.4 million in tax exempt bonds towards construction financing and $7.6 million in subsidy towards permanent financing from their corporate reserves. HPD provided $7.6 million in City Capital in permanent financing. HPD also provided low-income housing tax credits.
HCR is providing more than $900,000 in New York State low-income housing tax credit equity. Bank of America provided $2.0 million in subordinate loan funds and provides credit enhancement on this project.