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The Team Takes a Tour of Hook & Ladder

June 17, 2021

The Hook and Ladder building is a five-story, PHIUS certified, affordable housing community in Northeast Minneapolis. Precipitate was the Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC®) for the project and worked closely with the design team to energy model and ultimately certify Hook and Ladder. This project is the first PHIUS certified multi-family project in Minnesota. For more details on the Hook and Ladder project check out this previous post.

Precipitate takes every opportunity to learn and build off of previous projects. Revisiting the Hook and Ladder building was not only a wonderful opportunity to go back and see the success of a previous project, but also critique the building and see where we can improve for future projects. As such, we met with partners from one of our current projects at Hook and Ladder to open a dialogue about the building, and think about things we'd like to recreate at the new project and things we could do differently, ranging from materials and windows to mechanical systems and operations. Overall, the building seems to be operating well, particularly in keeping units nice and quiet despite their location adjacent to a busy rail line.

The team also discussed decisions made for Hook and Ladder where there are now more possibilities available. In particular, underground parking for Hook and Ladder was deemed too difficult at the time to incorporate into a PHIUS-certified project, so the project had open-air tuck-under parking to simplify the design (and it also worked better for the tight site). Laundry was also something cut last-minute from Hook and Ladder when the machines that were specified were not commercially available. Precipitate enjoys finding creative solutions to incorporate amenities into Passive House Certified projects, so while not everything was possible in this first project, check out the West Side Flats project, a PHIUS pre-certified affordable housing building that includes underground parking and full laundry. We're excited to be able to continually improve what's possible in a highly energy efficient building.

The return to Hook and Ladder with some of our current partners highlighted how collaboration is at the core of all the projects we work on. We saw this throughout our visit as representatives from the design, construction, and operations process were in conversation with each other about the interrelationship between design, cost, aesthetics, and of course energy use. For Precipitate and Passive House, actual energy use is critical to all elements of the project. We're hoping to further study the actual energy use of this project soon. Stay tuned!


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