While a planned 200-unit apartment complex helmed by LEGO-loving Danish wunderkind Bjarke Ingels has dominated Manhattan real estate chatter north of 96th/110th Streets over the past few days, here’s a quick look at another noteworthy residential project coming to Harlem that’s managed to quietly slip through the cracks: a multi-family passive house project overseen by the development arm of Synapse Capital that, when completed, will be the greenest apartment building in all of Manhattan according to Crain’s New York.

While prematurely slapping any sort of planned building with “ the greenest” superlative is inherently a bit troublesome, the Chris Benedict-designed development will technically be Manhattan’s very first building constructed in strict adherence to passivhaus standards (the NYC burbs and the outer boroughs, specifically Brooklyn, are lousy with them, including a smattering of under-development multi-family passive house projects).

Like with any legit, performance-based passive house project, the ultimate aim of the new building is a 90 percent reduction in energy consumption achieved through thick layers of insulation, triple-pane windows, energy recovery ventilators, high-efficiency appliances and lighting, and a tightly sealed building envelope.

“We've discovered a process by which we can build a building we think will cost the same, consume less energy and create a better quality of life for the people inside,” Al Picallo, managing partner at Synapse, tells Crain’s.

Adds partner Tom Bencivengo in a recent press release issued by Synapse: “For years, the industry has been tied to dated materials and techniques. Our team looks at insulation, air infiltration, condensation, etc., holistically. All of these components matter in a Passive House, and the ability to accurately model the building’s heating and cooling loads produces a far more efficient end product.”

To be erected on a 9,900-square-foot vacant lot on W. 153rd St. between Broadway and Amsterdam that Synapse Residential Group and Taurus Investment Holdings recently  acquired for an undisclosed amount from the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent, the trailblazing new development will consist of between 35 and 40 market-rate rental units. No word if 20 percent of the units will be earmarked as affordable under the city's 80/20 scheme as is the case with the larger Ingels-designed complex on East 125th St.

If all goes as planned and the blower door tests yield the anticipated results, Manhattan's first airtight passive house development will welcome its first residents in 2016.

Via [Crain's New York]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Manhattan's first passive house project to be built in Harlem
After acquiring a vacant lot in Harlem from a group of nuns, a development group announces plans to build Manhattan's first passive house apartment complex.