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Rental Building News and Offers

Residential spaces in various LEED and Passive House standard buildings in NYC Residential spaces in various LEED and Passive House standard buildings in NYC
It has long been assumed that the only way to go green is to go off the grid, build a house out of recycled materials, and set up a field of windmills and solar panels on an upstate plot of land. However, some could argue that New York City is a great place to go green. The subway is the largest public transportation system in the world; a number of shops are devoted to environmentally friendly products; several restaurants’ preference for serving local means fewer greenhouse gases when transporting ingredients; and recycling is getting easier in buildings and on the streets.

Even the buildings themselves are getting in on the act with sustainable construction practices and materials as well as energy-efficient appliances in the units. This does not come at the expense of aesthetics or luxury - indeed, some buyers have come to appreciate “LEED Certified” and “Passive House” as a new type of status symbol. We take a look at the difference between LEED and Passive House standards, as well as listings in both types of buildings.

og:image, cornell tech, passive house The House at Cornell Tech is the worlds tallest Passive House. It boasts 352 units and 26 stories (

How to Find a Green Building: LEED Certification

One of the people who has helped to drive sustainable development in New York City is David Burney. From 2004 to 2014, Burney served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction. In this capacity, he managed capital projects for multiple city agencies and launched the Design and Construction Excellence Initiative. Among the Initiative’s goals was a mandate to promote sustainable design projects. Burney, now a professor of architecture at the Pratt Institute, explains that despite the fact that public sector projects took the lead in terms of sustainability, the landscape is changing: “Since the widespread implementation of the USGBC LEED accreditation system most large new buildings and major renovations apply for LEED certification, both public and private.”

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a third-party verification system for green buildings. Somewhat like the more familiar USDA label used to certify organic products, LEED certifies that a building has been developed following a set of sustainability principles, which include the following:


  • Location and Transportation: Does the building offer easy access to public transportation, a car sharing service, like Zipcar, or provide onsite bicycle storage?


  • Sustainable Sites: Does the site allow for rainwater management or light pollution reduction? 


  • Water Inefficiency: Does the building include water reduction strategies? 


  • Energy and Atmosphere: Does the building meet energy performance standards? 


  • Materials and Resources: Does the building have a recycling program and a demolition and construction waste management plan? 


  • Indoor Environmental Quality: Does the building meet air quality performance standards and maximize natural resources, including daylight? 


  • Innovation: Does the building feature new technologies or materials designed to promote sustainability? 


  • Regional Priority: Has the project been designed to address local environmental challenges?
If you care about living in a sustainable building, Burney advices, “First, check to see if the building has LEED certification, and there are several levels, from silver to platinum, reflecting the degree of sustainability achieved. Then check the building maintenance and operations.” As he cautions, “Many buildings start out as LEED certified but if they are not properly run and maintained, they quickly become less energy efficient.”

This Noho penthouse, formerly owned by developer Matthew Blesso, was given a green upgrade that includes FSC-certified wood throughout and an edible rooftop garden

What is Passive House

In addition to LEED, some New York City developers are beginning to adopt another recognized standard in sustainable housing—Passive House. Originated in Germany in the mid 1990s, Passivhaus, which is also applied to public and commercial buildings, continues to gain ground due to its significant energy savings. While LEED certified buildings typically use 25-30 percent less energy, Passive House buildings generally cut energy consumption by 60-70 percent and have been known to cut energy consumption up to 90 percent. Rather than rely on solar panels or wind turbines, Passive House is a building standard focused on the development of properties that use less energy from the start.
Architect Ken Levenson, a Certified Passive House Designer and founding member of New York Passive House, emphasizes that Passive House, which arrived in New York City in 2009, has had a very different history than LEED. While LEED certified projects have traditionally been concentrated in the public sector, Levenson emphasizes, “Passive House has been dominated by single family first adopters.” However, he is now witnessing a new trend: “Multifamily is in the process of taking the lead, and we expect commercial and institutional projects to follow.”
In many respects, the fact that individual homeowners have taken the lead in the Passive House movement is not a surprise. As Levenson explains, “Passive House is narrowly focused on the things that truly drive performance—comfort, health and energy.” Another advantage is that Passive House is more accessible: “Cost is another advantage of Passive House over LEED, in that all the extra effort of Passive House is put toward optimizing the building performance, and cost optimization is part of that process. Cost is a driver, not an add-on. Consequently, properly optimized Passive House construction can cost just marginally more than conventional construction, making it not only affordable but a money maker going forward.”

Check out CityRealty's ongoing list of NYC Passive House projects here.
A sampling of Passive Houses throughout NYC
Despite the growing number of sustainable residential projects across the city, there is still a gap between the number of green buildings in the public versus private sectors. “The public sector has mandated the use of the LEED system very broadly,” Burney explains, “But there is no requirement to do so in the private sector, although the Building Code is imposing increasingly stringent requirements for energy efficiency. Government is also slowly imposing more sustainable practices on the private sector as part of a broader climate-change policy.” Burney adds that beyond these legislative changes, consumers also are increasingly looking to buy and rent in sustainability-focused developments: “The market is demanding sustainability.” The growing enthusiasm for Passive House, which has always been more accessible, arguably also reflects the growing market demand for sustainable homes.

Where to Find Sustainable Residential Buildings in NYC

Below are just five private and public residential properties informed by the principles of sustainable design. Notably, the projects range from LEED certified and Passive House developments to developments that have prioritized sustainable design principles but chosen not to seek either certification.

Roosevelt Island: Cornell Tech opened its campus on Roosevelt Island in 2017 and is home to the world’s first high-rise residential building that meets Passive House standards. The 270-foot tall building, designed by Handel Architects, features a façade that goes well beyond aesthetics. Serving at the “gills” of the building, the façade is also designed to house the building’s highly energy-efficient cooling and heating equipment.
Battery Park City: The Visionaire, completed in 2008, has had little difficulty living up to its name. Designed by Pelli Clark Pelli Architects, this NYC building was the city’s first to become LEED Platinum Certified. The condominium has been praised for its energy efficiency and indoor air quality.
77-Greenwich-Street-01 All images of 77 Greenwich Street via The Marketing Directors
The Visionaire
The Kalahari
550 Vanderbilt
Williamsburg: Designed by architect Gregory Merryweather, Greenbelt Brooklyn is situated near McCarren Park in Williamsburg. A LEED Gold Certified building since 2010, Greenbelt has a lot to boast about on the sustainability front. The building uses 40 percent less energy and 30 percent less water than comparable homes. The building was also constructed using 40 percent recycled materials. Where new materials were required, sustainable choices where made—the floors, for example, feature rapidly renewal bamboo.
Harlem: Located on the south tip of Harlem just blocks from Central Park, the Kalahari is a mixed-income and LEED Silver Certified building. Among the building’s sustainable features are its recycled building materials, bamboo flooring, green roof and reliance of renewable energy sources, including solar and wind power. Designed by Frederic Schwartz Architects, the building embodies a whole systems approach to development.
Prospect Heights: The eye-catching design of COOKFOX's 550 Vanderbilt is underscored by environmentally friendly design features. All finishes, paints, and fabrics meet low volatile organic compounds standards, and FSC-certified wood, natural stone, and other sustainable materials were used throughout the building. Each apartment has sophisticated air filtration systems that lead to high-quality air. Outside the walls, extensive planted space offers the potential to reduce the urban heat island effect and better encourage storm water retention. It is aiming for LEED Silver certification.

Passive House Listings
From the listing:
Baxt/Ingui, premier residential architects, have completed a breathtaking brand-new renovation, giving this house not only new splendor, but state-of-the-art systems. The "Passive House" is completely sealed against drafts for an ultra-efficient, ecologically sound home which takes less energy and money to keep warm, while keeping out noise and pests. A sophisticated ventilation system tempers the fresh air that constantly flows into the house. Triple-glazed windows are Passive House certified and Landmarks approved, preserving both warmth and elegance. See floor plan and full details here.

From the listing:
Apartments at Convivium, a Passive House-certified new rental, have high ceilings and over-sized triple-glazed windows that have been treated to provide thermal retention and complete noise abatement. The layout is spacious and bright, with large windows and open plan designed for flexibility. The designer kitchen has Dekton countertops, Italian kitchen cabinetry, Fisher Paykel appliances including dishwasher and microwave, and stone floors. See floor plan and full details here.

298-East-Houston-Street-02 Interiors via Nest Seekers
From the listing:
An immaculate floor-through condo inspired by environmentally-friendly Passive House standards, this 2-bedroom, 3-bathroom home is a portrait of contemporary Lower East Sidea luxury. Features of the home include wide plank hardwood floors, keyed elevator access, triple glazed floor-to-ceiling windows with northern and southern exposure, high ceilings, an office nook serving as a optional third bedroom, a private balcony, an Energy Recovery Ventilator System, and a Miele washer/dryer with heat-pump technology. The marquee feature of this stunning residence are the dramatic, unencumbered views of One World Trade Center and the Lower Manhattan skyline. See floor plan and full details here.

From the listing:
Located just off Central Park, 15 West 68th Street is a magnificent 26' wide, 6-story single-family Beaux-Arts mansion that has been newly renovated to the highest standards to combine an abundance of stunning original detail with the finest modern amenities. This exceptional LEED-certified home with extensive Passive House innovations affords approximately 15,000 square feet of immaculate indoor living space, plus an additional approximate 2,540 square feet of marvelous outdoor space in the garden, two terraces, and roof deck. See floor plan and full details here.

LEED Certified Listings
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From the listing:
Built to exacting LEED standards, 77 Greenwich is both environmentally sustainable and luxurious. Each residence combines natural beauty with the comforts of an exceptionally appointed home, including ceilings over 10', panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows, and custom Deborah Berke-designed Poliform kitchen with top-of-the-line appliance package. See floor plan and full details here.

98-Front-Street-01 All images of 98 Front Street via Triumph Property Group
From the listing:
98 Front will offer residents a LEED-certified home nestled amongst some of the city's most notable landmarks and attractions. Natural light pours in from oversized insulated sound-attenuated 8'8" windows by ALUMIL, and the 5" white oak floors further illuminate the space. High ceilings are made of polished concrete complete with junction boxes for easy lighting fixture installation. See floor plan and full details here.

From the listing:
City Tower is LEED Silver certified with over 23,000 square feet of amenities, both indoor and out, and views that span from Manhattan to the Harbor, City Tower encompasses all that has made Brooklyn an international destination and cultural reference point. This west-facing one bedroom / one bathroom home has large windows, a walk-in closet, dishwasher and in-unit Bosch washer/dryer. The price is net effective to reflect two months free rent on a 12-month lease. See floor plan and full details here.

From the listing:
Residence 5E at 200 East 21st Street, a new condominium targeting LEED Gold certification, is a stunning home with beautiful western light streaming in from over 8' tall bronze windows. Thoughtfully proportioned rooms and spaces feature 7" wide plank oak flooring finished in a sophisticated custom smoked oil stain, while grand entry and interior doors feature Valli & Valli hardware throughout. See floor plan and full details here.

Brodsky Organization

Brodsky Organization
City Tower Leasing Office
10 City Point
Brooklyn, New York 11201
(718) 230-XXXX

Additional Info About the Building

Contributing Writer Cait Etherington Cait Etherington has over twenty years of experience working as a journalist and communications consultant. Her articles and reviews have been published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and internationally. An experienced financial writer, Cait is committed to exposing the human side of stories about contemporary business, banking and workplace relations. She also enjoys writing about trends, lifestyles and real estate in New York City where she lives with her family in a cozy apartment on the twentieth floor of a Manhattan high rise.