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This $60 million project will be the largest Passive House Certified building in the world, with 10% more conditioned passive house floor area than the Lodenareal 354-flat project in Innsbruck, Austria. Utilizing Lean Design and Construction, Arnold Development Group and dedicated, highly motivated design and IPD teams worked closely with Passiv Science to ensure the project would meet PHIUS+ 2015 Passive Building Criteria. Built to last 200+ years, the concrete structure features urban farming on the roof, 20% affordable housing, a $4 per sf lower first cost and a 19% total lower lifecycle cost than stick built multifamily buildings. The Arnold Development Group, a certified B-Corporation, intends to replicate the model in 5 cities in the U.S. and create 20,000 high performance housing units by 2026.

 As written by Kevin Collison for CityScene KC in April 2019, work is progressing well on the 276-unit Second and Delaware apartment development. Its energy-efficient, concrete walls rapidly rising beneath a tower crane visible throughout the River Market area. The building will consume 90% less energy than standard buildings, making Second and Delaware one of the most efficient buildings on the planet.  Expected completion by August 2020.  

“This thing has leaped out of the ground.” said Cliff Cohn, a partner in the project.   

Jonathan Arnold, the guiding partner, says the project overlooking the Missouri River has held true to its vision of being the world’s largest “passive house building,” using 90 percent less energy than similar buildings in Kansas City.   

This project has been the culmination of years of effort and thought,” said Arnold.  

It helps that one of his chief financial backers is Affordable Housing Partners, a company that’s part of the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio controlled by Warren Buffett.

Arnold and his partners, father and son Cliff and Jonathan Cohn, believe the apartment market remains strong, particularly in the River Market neighborhood. National studies indicate will be a demand for 45 million units in walkable, urban neighborhoods, Arnold said.

The building is expected to be attractive to both empty-nesters and younger adults because of its energy efficiency and amenities, including a cooperative rooftop garden.

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Built for Lasting Value

The development will have 56 studios; 120, one-bedroom units, and 100 two-bedroom units. The monthly rents are expected to range from $1,200 for a 550 square-foot studio to $2,100 for a 1,325 square foot two-bedroom units. 

Units will feature polished concrete floors. Because of its mass and rigidity, concrete is especially effective in reducing the transmission of unwanted noise and sound. Sound control is one of the most important components that affect the quality of life of residents.

The key design component to making the Second and Delaware project super energy-efficient is the use of passive building standards. Its 16-inch thick walls are built with two layers of concrete with a layer of insulation between them. 

Energy costs are projected to be 70-80% less than other residential buildings. 

Passive House Institute construction is a system that’s more energy efficient than the highest LEED building standard. 

By using concrete, the building is expected to withstand all types of extreme weather and last for 200 years.

The key design component to making the Second and Delaware project super energy-efficient is the use of passive building standards. Its 16-inch thick walls are built with two layers of concrete with a layer of insulation between them.

What is a passive house ?

Passive building comprises a set of design principles used to attain a quantifiable and rigorous level of energy efficiency within a specific quantifiable comfort level. “Optimize your gains and losses” based on climate summarizes the approach. To that end, a passive building is designed and built in accordance with these five building-science principles:

Employs continuous insulation throughout its entire envelope without any thermal bridging.

The building envelope is extremely airtight, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air. Employs high-performance windows (double or triple-paned windows depending on climate and building type) and doors – solar gain is managed to exploit the sun’s energy for heating purposes in the heating season and to minimize overheating during the cooling season. Uses some form of balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation. Uses a minimal space conditioning system. Passive building principles can be applied to all building typologies – from single-family homes to multifamily apartment buildings, offices, and skyscrapers.

Passive design strategy carefully models and balances a comprehensive set of factors including heat emissions from appliances and occupants to keep the building at comfortable and consistent indoor temperatures throughout the heating and cooling seasons. 

As a result, passive buildings offer tremendous long-term benefits in addition to energy efficiency:

  • Superinsulation and airtight construction provide unmatched comfort even in extreme weather conditions.
  • Continuous mechanical ventilation of fresh filtered air provides superb indoor air quality. 
  • A comprehensive systems approach to modeling, design, and construction produces extremely resilient buildings.

Passive building principles offer the best path to Net Zero and Net Positive buildings by minimizing the load that renewables are required to provide.