As part of three new buildings under construction at Cornell University's new technology campus, in Ithaca, N.Y., a 26-story apartment tower is slated to be one of the greenest high-rises in the world once complete.
In 2011, New York–based firm Handel Architects partnered with developers and engineers to design the residence. In an ambitious proposal, the team decided the building would meet the thoroughest energy-efficiency standard in the world: the "passive house." If the building passes the standards, it will be the tallest and largest passive house in North America.
The passive house design was popularized in Germany 25 years ago, but remains uncommon in the United States. The concept behind the home states that a home shouldn't rely on energy-sucking technologies to create a comfortable climate, but should strategically use design and construction to remain comfortable.
Several basic strategies can be used to create a passive house, including positioning the building to capture steady southern sun and designing a compact shape. Handel's building coincidentally met these standards due to the site's orientation and the building's oblong shape. The firm is also working to insulate and install efficient windows. The finished product is expected to use 25 percent as much energy as a typical apartment building.
To read more about the project, visit The Atlantic.
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