Press Mentions

Zack Semke, for Passive House Buildings Magazine 10.20.18

Passive House Building Beacon: The Carrick Library

PASSIVE HOUSE BUILDINGS MAGAZINE — The Carrick neighborhood in south Pittsburgh had been making the most of its branch library for decades. Granted, the small one-story building carved into a slope was cramped and cavelike, with the only natural light filtered through the glass block of the library’s front façade. But that didn’t stop library staff from developing innovative programming for local youth and adults and establishing the library as a hub of the community.

When it came time for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to invest in a new Carrick branch, the Carrick staff and community knew exactly what they needed from the new building: light, space, and views to the outside. The tight site made this tricky, though.

“We found a way to create a two-story scheme on the existing site,” says Laura Nettleton, owner of Thoughtful Balance and the design partner on the project with NK Architects. “But the community felt they were being shortchanged. It still felt too small, and it didn’t really flow. They weren’t happy.”

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Amanda Waltz, Pittsburgh City Paper 10.17.18

Carnegie Library gives Carrick branch an energy-efficient facelift with Passive House design

PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER — The CLP Carrick location will soon become the first certified Passive House library in the country.

After five years of planning, designing, development, and construction, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Carrick branch is a certification away from being the first Passive House library in North America. That designation is in the hands of the Passive House Institute, which will assess the branch's energy efficiency, air quality, resiliency, and comfort. With or without the official certification, the changes at CLP - Carrick will deliver considerable savings to energy costs in the years to come.  

As the founding principal of Nicholson Kovalchick Architects, Brandon Nicholson oversaw the design of the Carrick branch, along with the sustainable architecture firm, Thoughtful Balance. He says CLP has always been supportive of green building and energy efficiency standards (CLP previously incorporated some elements of Passive House design into CLP - Hazelwood).

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Diana Nelson Jones, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 10.01.18

Carrick's energy-saving library almost ready for eyes of the world

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE — The new Carnegie Library branch in Carrick is crawling with laborers priming, painting, hammering, measuring, cutting, fitting drywall and going up and down on work platforms.

In three weeks, the new, 8,000-square-foot building at 1811 Brownsville Road will be one stop on a tour of the area’s most energy-efficient buildings during the North American Passive House Network conference Oct. 17-21 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

This is its first conference in Pittsburgh. More than 1,000 people from around the world are expected to attend.

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Marc Stiles, Puget Sound Business Journal 08.15.18

Washington's first passive house apartment building opens soon in Seattle

PUGET SOUND BUSINESS JOURNAL — Cascade Built, which constructed Seattle's first "passive house" townhouse project, is about to open a much larger apartment building.

Pax Futura has 35 apartments at 3700 S. Hudson St. in Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood.

The four-story project is believed to be the first passive house apartment building in Washington state, said Cascade Built President Sloan Ritchie, a Pacific Northwest pioneer in the passive house movement.

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Brandon Nicholson, for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 06.09.18

Build better buildings in Pittsburgh

OPINION — The city can meet its climate-action goals, but only if its buildings are more energy-efficient.

The May 22 headline in the Post-Gazette read, “Pittsburgh Aims To Cut Water, Energy Use Under Latest Climate Plan.” It reminded me the two best-kept secrets about Pittsburgh initiatives to slow climate change. First, buildings are by far our city’s biggest source of carbon pollution, responsible for 81 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, according to 2013 data. Second, we Pittsburghers already know how to turn this problem into a solution, and to unlock tremendous opportunity along the way.

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Lloyd Alter, Treehugger 04.27.18

Just opening on Broadway: The Ice Box Challenge

TREEHUGGER – If it can make it here, it can make it anywhere.

There have been some very boring shows on Broadway; some say that Tom Stoppard plays are like watching paint dry. Right now, New Yorkers can do something almost as boring; they can go to Broadway and watch ice melt in the Ice Box Challenge.

But wait, there is true drama in this show. It started way off-Broadway in Vancouver last year; the show was then picked up by new producers, NK Architects for a road show in Seattle, before hitting the bright lights of Broadway.

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Brian Miller, Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce 01.23.18

Intracorp gets $68.5M for Zig apartments

SEATTLE DAILY JOURNAL OF COMMERCE — Intracorp has sold the new Zig apartments at 550 Broadway for $68.5 million, according to King County records. Intracorp acquired the First Hill property in 2014 for $7.5 million, and developed it.

The buyer was Greystar of Charleston, South Carolina.

Both parties used LLCs. David Young and Corey Marx of JLL brokered the deal.

Zig has 170 units, 85 underground parking stalls and about 5,000 square feet of commercial space. The six-story building was completed last fall. Total size, including the parking, is about 150,000 square feet. Amenities include a rooftop deck with outdoor kitchen, a club room, fitness center and bike storage.

NK Architects designed Zig, and Exxel Pacific built it.

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Lloyd Alter, Treehugger 01.16.18

Another reason to love Passive House: it's really quiet

TREEHUGGER — New tests by NK Architects show that it cuts the noise in half.

When Passive House started in the 90s, it was all about energy, and that is what the basic standard regulates. But saving energy is a hard sell these days when fossil fuels are so cheap, so Passive House people are pivoting to other virtues of Passive House design that are byproducts of super-insulated walls and high quality windows: Comfort, that comes from having a wall surface and window that is close to room temperature, and Resilience or security, because Passive House designs stay warm when the heat goes out.

But there is another feature that comes with thick insulated walls and triple-glazed windows: Quiet. It really cuts down the noise inside. 

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Brittany Porter, NK Architects 10.26.17

Ice Box Challenge: a cool test of Passive House

DJC - Each September Occidental Square is home to the Seattle Design Festival, an annual event featuring creative displays representing some of the pressing issues facing the design community.

Last year, Seattle-based Olson Kundig contributed a temporary installation called “Ice Cube,” a 10-ton block of ice that slowly eroded in the sun. The cube was a beautiful visual spectacle about the inevitable passage of time. The public was encouraged to interact with the ice and impact the melt through the warmth of their touch. After a few weeks in the sun the monolithic block was no more than a puddle.

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Greg Copeland, King 5 09.29.17

Passive building could change the future of housing

KING 5 - Many of us felt the heat this summer. Here in the Northwest many of us don't have air-conditioned homes. And then there's the rainy season just around the corner, with a cold, wet winter forecasted as well. How's your insulation? Your windows? Saving up for those heating bills?

But what if you didn't have to? That's where passive housing comes in.

"Think of the passive house as the Tesla of buildings. It's basically carbon-free," said Tim Weyand, president of Passive House Northwest. "This is a movement, not just a conference."

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