The 68-unit, 8 story HANAC Corona Senior Residence was constructed in Corona, N.Y. for providing safe and affordable housing system through cutting edge sustainable building design to low-income seniors. The project aimed at achieving 75% – 90% energy savings compared to the existing buildings, which is a prerequisite for obtaining the Passive House Institute (PHI) certificate.
PHI developed the Passive House certification system, a high performance building standard, in 1990 which focuses on building’s passive measures like insulation, air tightness and heat recovery for providing superior indoor air quality, while reducing the energy bills to the highest possible extent.
In October 2020, HANAC Corona Senior Residence was fully approved as a Passive House certified building with the help of New York Engineers, a NY based MEP engineering firm. This made HANAC as the 1st affordable housing project in NYC that meets the PHI standards. NY Engineers provided mechanical, electrical, plumping and fire protection designs for achieving superior energy efficiency and indoor air quality.
For a building to get the Passive House certification, it must meet several performance requirements. The following table represents the building quality requirements and the associated performance levels of each.
HANAC Senior Residence
Passive House Criteria
Heating Demand (kWh/m2a)
Heating Load (W/m2)
Cooling + Dehumidification (kWh/m2a)
Cooling Load (W/m2)
Frequency of Excessively High Humidity
Primary Energy Use
HANAC achieved this performance level with a combination of architectural and MEP design features by New York Engineers for minimizing energy consumption that led to HANAC Senior Residence getting the PHI certificate. The design ensures minimal need for space heating, which is at the top of energy expenses for most of the buildings in New York.
How Passive House Design Benefits NY Buildings
New York City has the most ambitious goals of reducing the emissions by 85% by 2050. This goal was due to a new law to reduce the building emissions as a part of the NYC Green New Deal. Passive House design could play an important role in meeting the emission reduction target in NYC. The NYC Green New Deal aims to accomplish the targets in 2 steps:
The deal affects 20% of buildings by 2024.
The deal affects 75% of building by 2030.
For developers planning for building projects in NYC, an effective strategy to meet the emissions limit would be to opt for passive house design from the start. This ensures high savings in retrofits and also energy bills. With the help of renewable energy systems like solar panels, the emissions can further be reduced.
Another benefit of a passive house certified building is that it provides safety advantages against COVID-19 as many health authorities agree that improved indoor air quality reduced the risk of infection.