NY's Perch apartment complex sheds 90% of energy burden

In New York, in Harlem's Hamilton Heights neighborhood, there's an apartment complex in the works called Perch that is the first of its kind. Built to "Passive House" standards, the complex is being designed to use between 80% and 90% less energy than the same sort of structure built to common standards. It will do this while providing the same sort of urban living structure city dwellers have come to expect, however.

The Perch apartment complex, while the first of its kind in the U.S., isn't a new idea. According to a New York Times article from last year, the so-called "design philosophy" has come over from Germany, and it has already been used with new and existing homes — a few dozen, at that point — making this newest undertaking simply a new milestone.

The Perch Hamilton complex is designed to be sustainable, doing so by using things like 8-inch thick insulation to cut down on temperature fluctuations and energy needs, as well as glass specifically tailored to a region's particular climate and levels of sunlight. Heat comping from the cooling systems is used to heat up water, and windows are positioned in such a way to maximize natural lighting.

This won't impact the residents in a negative way, though — they are still given control over the individual climates in their own apartments. Overall, the apartment complex's various sustainability efforts result in even less energy uses than the passive house goal of 11.15kWh/sq/ft per year. Perch Hamilton boasts 9.57kWh/sqft annually.

If all goes as planned, Perch Hamilton will open in May, and new similar buildings will be installed elsewhere.

VIA: Gizmag