Buildings create about 40% of carbon emissions worldwide. That number is New York City, however, is north of 70%. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is among many city officials working to change that with an ambitious goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. City-wide green building initiatives alongside organic spread of the intuitive methods incorporated in passive design has led to passive house standards spreading across single and multifamily development around the City.
The Passivhaus Institut placed the price premium at around an additional 6% for buildings to adhere to the standard in the United States. As green building materials costs have dropped, however, so has some of this premium. The passive design strategies like airtight walls and efficient insulation that are key to a sealed building envelope are more attainable now than a decade ago.
In addition to the standard becoming more attainable for builders, it's more advantageous for renters and homeowners. Because passive design banks on a building's ability to moderate air temperature with little or no formal heating and cooling sources, passive homes can cut utility bills up to 75%. This is especially important in New York City, where electricity costs are significantly higher than the national average and the power grid is often compromised by overuse of air conditioners in summer. Passive design strategies implemented in big cities are also known to improve indoor air quality so dramatically that people report lower rates of respiratory problems like allergies or asthma. Indoor dust and pollution reduction is also critical in New York's most densely populated neighborhoods.
Check out the many passive design projects currently underway in the New York Metro on the New York Times.