2015 Winner: Power to the People

The greatest percentage reduction in building energy use.

Who led the charge

 Andreas Benzing           Architect, A.M.Benzing PLLC



Andreas Benzing, founder and principal of architecture practices in New York and Berlin, began his training as a Passive House Consultant in 2009. Since then, he’s completed three passive house retrofits and two near passive house renovations. As a part–time lecture at New York’s The New School, Benzing conveys his passion for design and sustainability to architecture’s next generation.


  • Passive House requires a team so start early to assemble it

  • Do a very early construction meeting with everyone involved

  • Plan with an eye on future needs

Retrofit Passive House a First in its CountY

Like many Baby Boomers, the residential building in Mamaroneck needed a little work to keep it current and modern as it turned 50. Seeing an opportunity to increase energy efficiency and reduce costs, the building’s owner commissioned architect Andreas Benzing, a Passive House consultant and a co-founding member of NY Passive House, a group of Passive House practitioners to conduct the conversion. 

With the precision of a reconstructive surgeon, Benzing and his team fitted the building with a super-insulated, airtight and thermal bridge free building envelope. The result? The heating load now peaks at about 18,000 BTU—representing a 70 percent reduction in energy use. 

The design also incorporated exterior improvements, such as high-performance windows with a high solar heat-gain coefficient (SHGC) on the south facing façade, which reduces wintertime heating demand. Benzing also built a redwood pergola that provides shade for the structure’s south windows; this has led to a significant decrease in cooling demand in warm weather. 

Thanks to Benzing’s team, this now EnerPHit-certified residence features a modern look and, its energy reductions that will keep it relevant and efficient for years to come.

Not bad for 52, is it?

"The Passive House [concept] compels you to look at your building as an interconnected system–not just parts put together. This also influences how a team can work together more as a unit."


CLOSE UP: Mamaroneck Passive House

What did we do?
The team retrofitted and expanded 1963 building into a Passive House. This building maintained its original first floor footprint and walls; while extending its second floor.

Why we did it: 
To reduce energy use.

Our Approach: 
The Passive House retrofit concept.



  • Westchester County gets its first certified Passive House
  • It’s received EnerPHit certification from the PHI
  • Energy use has been reduced by 70 percent
  • Source energy intensity reduced by 82 percent