The lower level of the house contains a bedroom for the couple’s daughter, Lucia, along with a separate restroom and a study. These rooms sit at the core of the building, adjacent to the bulk of the mechanical systems, yet one would never know it because the ventilation system registers little sound. During our visit, the architects demonstrated how amazingly quiet their PassiveHaus ventilation system is. Sam turned on the Mitsubishi Mini Split Heat Pump ducted indoor ventilation unit at maximum power, daring us to perceive any noise.
We stood in the house in near dead silence, as only a faint hum could be heard by approaching the air diffusers in each room. This house’s mechanical system is “passive” beyond its energy consumption; at key locations, the system is barely perceptible, only revealing itself via small wall registers and minimal sound. Loadingdock5 utilizes the ventilation system’s minimal requirements to their advantage: exposed ducts and pipes add minimal focus points to otherwise blank concrete masonry walls, and a silent system can be easily hidden behind walls to preserve visual and audial privacy.
Through their ability to emphasize or hide the inner workings of this building based on the functional needs of each space, and by working as a designer-client team to conceive an ideal living space, Loadingdock5 has created an beautiful and very livable prototype for Passiv Haus construction in New York City.