International Passive House Magazine Interview

iPHM Interview with Gregory Duncan, New York, USA

Written by Tamas Banki @ iPHM on 30 July 2011
Gregory Duncan
Gregory Duncan

Gregory Duncan’s interest in high performance building began while working on a deep energy retrofit to an office building in Hamburg, Germany in 1996. He returned to the United States to obtain a Master of Architecture degree at the University of Pennsylvania. Working in New York for over ten years, Mr. Duncan has acquired a significant amount of experience with building construction.

iPHM: Tell us about yourself.
Greg Duncan: My interest in high performance building began while working on a deep-energy retrofit to an office building in Hamburg, Germany in 1996. I returned to the United States to obtain a Master of Architecture degree at the University of Pennsylvania. Working in New York for over ten years, I have acquired a significant amount of experience with building construction. Complementing this practical experience, I continually pursue advanced training in the theory of green design and building science. I am a Registered Architect, LEED Accredited Professional and one of a select group of Certified Passive House Designers in New York State.

iPHM: What did you think that time about the Passive House?
Greg Duncan: I first heard about Passive House in an article in the German magazine Detail. I researched the standard further and discovered Jeremy Shannon’s blog about his townhouse project in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
I was impressed by the ability of the Passive House energy-modeling software to accurately quantify the energy savings in a building. I joined New York Passive House and am now a member of the executive committee.

iPHM: Are you a Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC)? What does a CPHC do?
Greg Duncan: I became a Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) after taking the exam last year. The official designation from the Passive House Institute for CPHC’s who are also architects is Certified Passive House Designer – Architect. A Certified Passive House Designer uses the energy-modeling software PHPP to ensure that a building meets its energy target. As an architect I use my training and experience to design the building as a whole and all the details as part of the Passive House design process.

Your country

iPHM: How well known the Passive House standard in your country?
Greg Duncan:  Green building professionals are increasingly aware of the Passive House standard in the United States. In just a few years, this awareness has increased exponentially. The first wave of early-adopter homeowners shows by example how people in New York and the rest of the country can benefit from the Passive House standard.

iPHM: How many Passive Houses are there in your country?
Greg Duncan:  Nationally, there are dozens of completed Passive House buildings. There is currently one certified Passive House building in New York and almost a hundred under construction or in planning phases.

iPHM: Is there any subsidy in you country for the Passive House?
Greg Duncan:  There are many incentives for energy efficiency that a residential or commercial building that meets Passive House standards would qualify for.

Design/plan/develop

I have designed energy-efficient single-family, multifamily, and mixed-use buildings in and out of New York. I am now developing prototypes for Passive House multifamily buildings in New York City. I performed an energy analysis for a deep-energy retrofit of an historic carriage house being converted to office space at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts.