158 Clifton Place in Brooklyn, NY was passive house certified as retrofitted to the EnerPhit Standard, authorized by the Passive House Institute. Above, Dr. Wolfgang Feist, a founder of the standard, holds the certificate with PHIUS representative Sharon Gaber, at an event in Germany. Many thanks to the team that got the project over the threshold by just a point. It’s said to potentially be the oldest residential structure or wooden rowhouse in the U.S. to gain certification from the institute. The ways the residence has been heated and cooled over the eras has continued to change.
Passive House pre-test happened this week at 158 Clifton. David White, Grayson Jordan of Castrucci Architect, Jim Hartin and the crew of Blueline Construction looked to meet the Passive House Institute (PHI) tightness threshold; measured by the decisive Air Blower test. The retro-fit started over a couple of years back, with an 1887 wooden row house – “…in as bad of shape as I’ve ever seen”, related construction veteran Hartin. The project doubled down with an unlikely new building envelope – two thousand year old Redwood windows, Worcestershire Sauce wooden tank facade cladding, and the trampled planks of the Coney Island Boardwalk as a perforated rain screen on the back.
David White, attaching a space age Air Blower to the parlor window; and utilizing a pen sized smoke sensor and European Allen wrench, proceeded with the energy test . At the outset, the house hovered 40 CFM’s over the target, with certification numbers remaining out of reach throughout the day. But the team chipped away at the high leakage reading by sealing microscopic leaks in window and door seams, ducts, electrical penetrations and consequential but previously undetected spots of energy loss. Even if a score came up short, the process was witness to the value of certification. But the final result was pass.
Course No. 001
Working with Reclaimed Wood
Participants will be guided through basic woodworking skills that make use of hand and power tools to construct side or coffee table from reclaimed wood. The class also introduces the sources of the woods – both forest origin and the historical structure – along with finishing options, safety considerations, and a review of available leg options.
Featured reclaimed woods include NYC heartwoods, Barn hardwoods, Redwood storage tank and the Coney Island Boardwalk
Tuition: $175 + material (ranging from $40 to $100)
Time: Sat./Sun 10-2 pm
Location: Sawkill Lumber – 71 Troy Ave. Bklyn Trains: A, C to Utica Ave.
Class size: 6
This reclaimed Hard Maple flooring served an Edison Factory in NJ since the mid-1890’s. It was the early start of recorded music as the Edison Phonograph , with it’s signature megaphone attachment and hand crank operation was being released, crooning American parlors into the 20th c. This UK based record label pays tribute to the origins of their industry in the reception area at the Tribeca NYC space. The pattern of hard knock industrial wear is also a vibrant welcoming look, hitting the perfect design note. Maple is second only to Hickory in hardness among American woods.
The reclaimed wood stairwell may be the last step of the house to be completed, as the transition pieces on the railings need to be custom milled. But the exceptional work by Jim Hartin and his crew at Blueline Construction produced the rustic and finely crafted steps, carving out stringers from dense 3 x 12 antique Pine timbers that arrived from 514 West 29th St.- the ascent feels like earth underfoot.