The Tyler – East Haven High School Adaptive Reuse with EnerPHit

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Founded in 1971, WinnCompanies began its journey with affordable housing, and is now recognized as the fifth largest multifamily property manager in the country with over 100,000 units across 23 states and Washington D.C. They continue to lead the industry a visionary plan for the adaptive reuse of the East Haven High School complex, originally constructed in 1936.  Vacant for over 20 years, this historic structure is being converted into a senior affordable housing development named The Tyler. Design and construction must adhere to Connecticut’s State Historic Preservation Commission (SHPO) requirements as well as the National Park Service standards. In addition to those requirements, Winn is pursuing certification under the Passive House Institute’s retrofit standard known as EnerPHit.  Because SHPO’s standards prohibit any changes to the existing façade that will change its historic appearance, the team faced some challenging design decisions to balance the historic nature of the project along with the energy efficiency goals set forth.

Through an in-depth thermal analysis performed by SWA, in close coordination with Winn, The Architecture Team, Keith Construction, Inc, and the historic commissions, the team was able to balance the energy goals, comfort of the occupants, and durability of the building envelope without sacrificing historic character. The final building envelope design included an R-21 air-tight façade using interior insulation, thermally broken double pane windows in keeping with the historical context and highly insulated roofs and floors, which will provide superior comfort critical to the health and well-being of the seniors who will live there. Construction is nearing completion and the first occupants are expected in the fall of 2020.


  • Projected savings of 50-60% whole building energy demand
  • Energy recovery ventilation will ensure excellent indoor air quality
  • High performance heat pumps will provide heating and cooling to the tenants.


The Architectural Team


Petersen Engineering
Steven Winter Associates


Keith Construction