Passive House and High Performance Building Consulting for Architects and Project Teams.


Nicole Schuster, AIA, CPHC, LEED AP  315.552.0226 

I have a deep passion for creating spaces that not only meet the needs of those who inhabit them, but also nurture the environment we all share. Through my work, I strive to design and build spaces and buildings that achieve high levels of performance, sustainability, and durability. I believe in tailoring every project to its unique conditions.

As owner of Positive Trace, providing sustainability consulting to project teams, I am dedicated to sharing my expertise and experience with others in our industry. I'm a licensed architect, registered in New York State, and have been a Certified Passive House Consultant since 2014. Together we can make a real difference in creating a more sustainable world.

In my free time, I continue to learn and grow my skills as an architect, always pushing the boundaries of what's possible in sustainable design. My goal is not only to leave a positive impact on every project I touch but also to inspire others to do the same. Through collaboration and shared passion, we can create spaces that truly care for both people and planet.



Certified Passive House Consultant

As a Certified Passive House Consultant, Nicole will guide you through the process of designing your project to meet the Passive House Standard, perform the required energy modeling through WUFI to inform decision making and demonstrate compliance, and coordinate and submit the required documentation to the Passive House Institute US.

Building Science Consulting and Analysis

If you want to build long-lasting, durable and low maintenance buildings which will stay beautiful and healthy, understanding the building science implications of assemblies and detail is critical. Positive Trace can help, with in depth knowledge of building science, applicable to multiple building types and assemblies and WUFI analysis capability to aid in decision making and detailing on your project.

Sustainability Master Planning

If you want to make your project more energy efficient, more sustainable, more healthy and more comfortable for the people inside, Positive Trace brings almost 20 years of experience in sustainability on a wide range of building types and will tailor this service to your unique project and team. This can include project goal-setting charrettes to define targets for success, guidance through understanding rating systems and decision making around pursuing certifications, and a holistic sustainability approach.

Energy Modeling

From Early Design through Construction, understanding the energy impacts of material and component selections provides a crucial basis for informed decision making. Models can reference a baseline for showing performance improvement and can track performance relative to a set of targets to reach project goals. Whether it's a new build or retrofit, Positive Trace's Energy Modeling Service empowers you to create spaces that are energy-efficient, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective.

Embodied Carbon Analysis

Positive Trace employs advanced tools like BEAM and EC3 to offer an in-depth evaluation of the carbon footprint associated with the materials and assemblies chosen for your building project. Leveraging the precision of BEAM and the comprehensive database of EC3, Positive Trace is equipped to identify high-carbon materials and propose viable, low-carbon alternatives without compromising on quality or performance. Our Embodied Carbon Analysis is an essential step toward achieving your sustainability goals, ensuring that your project contributes positively to the fight against climate change and paves the way for a greener future in the built environment.

Document Quality Reviews

Boost the quality of your project drawings with Positive Trace’s Document Quality Review Service. Drawing on Building Science expertise, invaluable experience, and close attention to detail, we will perform a thorough review of your drawing sets, focusing on alignment with your standards, clarity and accuracy of technical aspects, and coordination of trades and elements. Our approach is collaborative and practical, aiming to provide valuable feedback that strengthens your documents and facilitates a smooth construction process. With Positive Trace, you gain a trusted ally dedicated to supporting the success of your project through meticulous document review. Let’s work together to ensure your drawings are clear, coordinated, and ready for action.

What is Passive House?

Passive House is a building energy standard with the goal of creating buildings which are low energy to combat climate change, but also durable, healthy and comfortable. The basic strategies are climate appropriate levels of insulation and highly airtight construction with climate and building appropriate windows and ventilation systems which provide fresh air and recover heat, resulting in minimal loads on mechanical heating and cooling systems.

Projects - in the works

Multifamily in Tannersville, NY. Phius Consultant

Ashley McGraw Architects

This project, led by Ashley McGraw Architects, is a new construction multifamily complex pursuing Phius CORE certification.

Projects - Completed

Syracuse STEAM School WUFI Analysis

LaBella Associates

This project, led by LaBella Associates, involves a renovation, including insulation and air sealing of an historic mass masonry building from the 1930's. Positive Trace provided WUFI analysis of potential intervention strategies to aid in risk-mitigating decision-making.

Tupper Lake Multifamily Feasibility Study. Consultant

Black Mountain Architecture

This project, led by Black Mountain Architecture, undertook a feasibility study to determine the most appropriate multifamily project approach for the local community and the owner organization.

Low Energy Adirondack Cabin

This cost effective 1300 sf house was designed for beauty and comfort while achieving very low energy use due to highly airtight construction, efficient and effective details and easy-to-install continuous insulation.