Boston’s new Winthrop Center is now officially the largest Passive House office building in the world

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The Winthrop Center in Boston. Image courtesy of Millennium Partners.

The new Winthrop Center in Boston by Handel Architects has just been certified by the Passive House Institute (PHI) as the largest Passive House office design in the world, according to an announcement made Friday by its developer Millennium Partners.

Inaugurated in the spring after a six-year concept and construction phase, the 691-foot mixed-use tower includes 812,000 square feet of Class A office space and another 510,000-square-foot segment with 317 luxury residences within its 52-story design. 

The office component of the Center, which earned the PHI designation, incorporates between 30 and 35% more fresh air than a typical commercial design. Millennium Partners shares: “A typical Class A building in Boston’s existing stock uses 150% more energy and existing LEED Platinum buildings in Boston use 60% more energy than Winthrop Center’s office space.”

Image courtesy of Millennium Partners.

“With Winthrop Center, we wanted to think beyond the status quo, and we were ready to employ an innovative approach in order to deliver an unparalleled experience and quality of life,” Christopher M. Jeffries, the founder of Millenium Partners, said in a statement. “We’ve brought the most energy efficient solution for large scale buildings to the heart of Boston, and we can’t wait to see more successful implementations of the Passive House method across the globe.”

Image courtesy of Millennium Partners.

Boston is in the midst of a green building revolution, with bans on fossil fuels in new municipal properties combined with plans for a ban covering all new and renovated buildings and a slate of new green infrastructure and public works projects. The state of Massachusetts has invested heavily in Passive House construction, specifically with The Passive House Design Challenge, which is aimed at multifamily developments. (Learn more in our feature article exploring the potential future impact of passive house designs.) 

The Winthrop Center under construction in 2021. Image courtesy of Millennium Partners.

Jessica Grove-Smith, the Senior Scientist and Joint Managing Director of the Institute, said finally: “As proof of concept that Passive House can be implemented at such a large scale and this type of building, they are an important driver for much needed market change towards highly energy-efficient buildings.”

A closer look at Handel’s design for the building can be found here.

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