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Dekalb Passive House – October 2015 Update

As many of you know we’ve been pushing very hard with a new high performance Passive House retrofit project at 244 Dekalb Avenue in the heart of Fort Greene, Brooklyn and I am finally comfortable enough to start posting about it.  In brief, this project essentially entails sealing the house up from the inside as tight as possible to eliminate any uncontrolled air flow between interior and exterior.  The end result being an incredibly efficient, comfortable, well sealed and insulated environment that the occupant(s) have near total control over with regards to fresh air ventilation and which requires a significantly lesser load on heating and cooling.

While the hurdles to reach Passive House certification are slightly less stringent than if it were a new build, it has proven exceedingly challenging to seal each and every pin hole of this 152 year old landmarked brownstone, with loose bricks and ancient framing as the leading on site nightmares, to achieve our goal of 1.0 air changes per hour (ACH).

After 3-1/2 months of painstakingly taping each and every joist pocket, wrapping the front and rear facades in a Pro-Clima air barrier and coating the party walls using a method not previously employed in the United States, we have finally completed our first blower door test.  The results… .22 ACH a.k.a. “the lowest preliminary air test to date in New York City!” according to our PH consultant Greg Duncan of Duncan Architects PLLC.  A huge accomplishment that is due partly to a little creativity but mostly to a lot of patience and hard work from the entire Ecostruct team.  I know this is a bit wordy for my first post, but I needed some validation before letting the cat out of the bag.  Check out our progress pictures and keep an eye out for our next post soon!





Opened Up and New Structure!:



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Air Sealing!:







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