The world’s largest, tallest Passivhaus structure, a new 270,000-square-foot, 26-storey student residence at Cornell University’s new Roosevelt Island technology campus, broke ground in New York City last month.
“It’s been an exploratory process for us, partly because nobody has done anything of this scale,” said architect Blake Middleton of Handel Architects. The design features exterior walls made of l4-inch, prefabricated panels, with 11 inches of mineral wool insulation and triple-glazed windows.
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“The fun will begin when it gets tested for air changes per hour,” TreeHugger reports. While that can be easier for larger buildings, “things can get weird when buildings get tall and the wind starts acting on them. Buildings flex, and low pressure on the downwind side can suck air out through the smallest leak, so those prefab wall panels have to be installed perfectly and sealed carefully.”
The project “is a clear signal that in today’s era of climate change, it’s not enough to simply build tallest,” said Ken Levenson of NY Passive House Inc. “To lead the market, your tall building will need to be a passive house.”