A Sustainable Brownstone Transformation in Brooklyn

A Sustainable Brownstone Transformation in Brooklyn

By Alexandra Lange
How do you make a Brooklyn brownstone more sustainable? First, get rid of the brownstone.

The street facade of New York City’s first certified Passive House, known as Tighthouse, is clad in pale gray stucco, sculpted with a few historic-looking details. But, if you knock on that wall, it sounds hollow: The stucco is merely the outermost layer in a 20-inch-thick insulated sandwich. The original brick is buried deep inside, where it can do no harm—via chinks, cracks, or settling—to the supersealed box this 19th-century, 3,120-square-foot Park Slope house has now become. The cornice, too, is a lightweight contemporary replacement: a hollow fiberglass shell mimicking a wood original.

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