Pushing the Envelope: Passive House Construction in the Hudson Valley

A Chronogram Conversation presented by Upstate House and in partnership with Passive House Alliance Hudson Valley.

Join the conversation on Thursday, April 13 as we discuss the Passive House construction standard (the most rigorous, energy-efficient set of performance-based building technologies currently available); highlight recent Passive House projects in the Hudson Valley; and examine the technology’s role in the roll-out of New York State’s ambitious climate goals.

The Passive House concept—which can reduce heating and cooling energy consumption of buildings by up to 90 percent—represents today’s most compelling option for counteracting climate change in the built environment.

The event will feature presentations by builders and architects and a panel discussion moderated by Chronogram Media editorial director Brian K. Mahoney.


New Energy Works

River Architects


Stephanie Bassler, RA, Certified Passive House Consultant—North River Design Build LLC

Stephanie is an expert in energy-efficient building design and a Certified Passive House Consultant. As North River’s principal Architect, and a founding member of North River Design Build, her work has included large-scale master planning and development projects, numerous net-zero and Passive House residential designs, the Passive House-certified Women’s Leadership Center at the Omega Institute, and a LEED-Certified multi-floor renovation for Eileen Fisher, Inc. in New York City. Basten Farm, a recent Passive House project of North River Design Build, was featured in the Spring issue of Upstate House.

Ryan Enschede

Ryan Enschede Studio is an architectural practice based in Brooklyn working to create poetry from solutions adapted to climate and existing built conditions. Technical areas of expertise include ultra-low energy Passive House construction, sunlight harvesting for daylighting, rooftop solar, and renovation of existing buildings. Additional areas of focus include passive conditioning, climate-responsive design, and building-integrated vegetation. Ryan believes these techniques can be shaped into a new language of beauty and pleasure, which can in turn facilitate returned intimacy with “nature” in our experience of the built environment.

Christina Griffin

Christina Griffin Architect Studio is an award-winning architectural design firm providing innovative, timeless and uplifting design throughout the Hudson Valley for the past 31 years. The firm has extensive experience creating thoughtful design within the residential, commercial and public sectors, with a recent focus on sustainability and net zero energy projects.

CGA Studio is a civic-minded firm known for community projects including a nature center, a library park, a school playground, downtown plazas, a firehouse extension, and affordable housing. CGA Studio was awarded an AIA Design Award in 2016 for “Pocket Change Communities,” a model living collective based on conservation of energy and the environment, and making use of local farming to support the new community. In 2017, CGA Studio was awarded an AIA Design Award for a site development and feasibility study for “Sugar Pond Nature Center” located in Hillside Woods in Hastings-on-Hudson.

Buck Moorhead, Founding Principal of Buck Moorhead Architect

Buck Moorhead Architect is a full-service architectural firm headquartered in New York City, specializing in high-performance and Passive House building design. He is also Principal Architect for, and Partner alongside industry experts Greg Hale and Peter Malik in Regen Associates LLC, which is currently undertaking The Catskill Project—a 120 acre, 18 home single-family residential development project in Livingston Manor, NY. The mission of The Catskill Project is to define a new standard of carbon-neutral living and building in a rural environment. It marries the principles of Passive House design—envelope optimization for up to a 90% reduction in annual energy requirements—with meticulous carbon tracking, renewable energy sources, master craftsmanship, and the efficiency and quality control of off-site panelized wall systems, to deliver artfully designed, peak-performance homes on an accelerated timeline.

Photo Caption: A rendering of Groundworks, a Passive House retrofit in Gardiner designed by architect Ryan Enschede that is transforming a preexisting three-bay cinderblock garage into a general purpose studio space ready for gathering, dance, contemplation, and inspiration. Owners Kristen Leonard and Frank Leon Rose envision the space where people can come together to make positive ripple effects in the world.