Knickerbocker Commons, a six-story residential building containing 24 units of affordable housing, is the country's first mid-sized apartment building to conform to Passive House design standards. To achieve the strict Passive House standards, each rental unit in Knickerbocker commons has its own ventilation system and small radiators for heating and airtight window air conditioning units for cooling. In addition, the building features triple-paned windows and a sculpted exterior facade (using STO EIFS insulation) that shades the windows from the sun in the summer and maximizes exposure in the winter. The building is designed to use 85 percent less energy than is typically required to heat a New York City apartment building in the winter.
The apartment is located in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn and was developed through HPD's Low Income Rental Program. Of the 24 units, six units were rented to households earning up to 30% of the Area Median Income (AMI), five units were rented to households earning up to 50% AMI, 12 units were rented to households earning up to 60% AMI, and one unit was set aside for the building superintendent. In addition to the residential units, the project includes almost 5,000 sq ft of community facility space.