Healthy buildings for people and the planet.
An Active House draws on the knowledge derived from older buildings, but it also uses passive technologies such as natural ventilation and solar gains in combination with quality craftsmanship. The goal is to create a building that looks beyond energy performance, incorporating comfort aspects such as air quality, climate, and natural light to be as accommodating as possible.
The vision of Active House USA is to make the occupants the center of attention. The concept offers a range of benefits for developers, architects, and real-estate professionals, but in the end it’s the health and comfort of the residents that are used to measure the success of an Active House.
People spend up to 90% of their time indoors in urban areas.
Promoting actions for healthy indoor air (IAIAQ), 2011
Considering how indoor air quality, daylight, and the thermal environment affect productivity, health, and well-being, it is essential to design buildings that facilitate comfort as well as sustainability.
Buildings that follow Active House principals will do exactly that; create a healthier and more comfortable home for their occupants with a minimal climate impact.
Active House puts the occupants at the center.
An Active House is a building that offers a healthy and comfortable indoor climate without a negative impact on the environment– measured in terms of energy, freshwater consumption, and the use of sustainable materials. This is a holistic approach to building design that has been adopted in the construction industry and amongst planners and designers. The principles have been tested, and current specifications are based on real data, not just estimates.
Putting the occupants at the center means focusing on the parameters which matter most to humans, with a minimal carbon-footprint.
Healthy Buildings for People & the Planet
An Active House is a building that offers a healthier and comfortable indoor climate for the occupants without negative impact on the climate – measured in terms of energy, fresh water consumption and the use of sustainable materials. This is a holistic approach to building design that has been adopted in the construction industry and amongst planners and designers. The principles have been tested, and current specifications are based on real data, not just estimates.
Setting the user at the centre means to quantify the parameters which matter most to users, with a minimal footprint on the planet.
Healthy Buildings for People & Planet
for BIM and home automation. Adapts to all seasons
Photo: Jörg Seiler.
Benefits for developers and builders
constructing Active House buildings
Developers focus on the user in a holistic way through the building design, and can gain feedback once people occupy the building
Buildings are sustainable ecosystems in themselves, and should be healthy for the planet and people, supporting health and well-being, and enhancing productivity and quality of life
Global international leading edge
and stimulating reports from an early stage of design
and manufacturers with the same goals
INCREASED SALE VALUE
BY THE ACTIVE
open-source educational and support material available and visibility of the projects. Smart thought out design program that is easy to follow
The products, technology and competences are AVAILABLE OR AT HAND
Being part of a dedicated NETWORK OF PROFESSIONALS
THIRD-PARTY VERIFICATION of the house design by an external engineer/expert
Benefits for the users / occupants
COMPREHENSIVE COMFORT including thermal and visual comfort, health, daylight and well-being
empowering users to make informed choices on how to live sustainably
PRODUCTIVITY at work and learning made easier for children
MORE NATURAL LIGHT
Daylight shower daily to stay healthy and maintain a high performance in work, life and play
FRESHED AIR which equals better sleep
of the building’s functions
of the house design by an external engineer/expert
Active House buildings demonstrate that the vision of comfortable and low-energy buildings can be achieved in an effective and reproducible way. The Alliance facilitates cooperation between all interested parties and supports developers in their journey towards the Active House label.
How to get the
Active House label
In order to be labeled an Active House, the performance of the house will have to be assessed based on the Active House calculation. The results should include a balanced focus on daylight, thermal comfort, indoor air quality, energy, and water use, as well as a lifecycle analysis of the building material.
The Active House radar shows the building performance based on calculated and measured data. Energy calculations are based on national building codes.
- Training Training is offered in the form of webinars, case studies, videos, and a regular newsletter.
- Additional resources: specification book, guidelines, and more are available for download on our website.
- Award: builders, developers, architects, and other real-estate professionals can submit their sustainable building projects, which will be evaluated based on the Active House vision. The winner will be awarded with an Active House label and presented on the website as well as during events.
- Networking material: a list of verifiers is available, and a list of certified and recommended products will be available soon.
- Membership: members can participate in internal workshops and knowledge-sharing activities, training activities regarding specifications, as well as in the development of the Alliance.
Active House Specifications
Active House Specifications 3.0 outlines the specifications for designing an Active House, a building that integrates health and comfort with energy efficiency and environmental performance. It can be used in combination with the Active House Guidelines to help people get an understanding of the vision and principles of an Active House, and how to apply them to new designs or renovations.
The Active House Specifications explain the vision that is Active House and outline the technical specifications that determine the quality and performance of an Active House.
This definition and description of an Active House is intended as a guideline at an international level. It seeks innovative technical approaches whilst introducing
goals of architectural quality and environmental design, at the same time as providing energy efficiency.
Active House is a vision of how to create sustainable buildings anywhere in the world. These Specifications offer insight and knowledge needed to draw up the
required technical specifications and design concept for an Active House. They include important issues to consider when creating an Active House. These issues can be qualitative or quantitative.
The qualitative aspects describe aspects that influence the quality of a building or how it is being experienced by the user, but difficult to put a number on, such as having a view. The quantitative aspects form the basis for the Active House radar, that can be used as a
communication instrument to display the quality of an Active House in an instant.
An Active House is the result of efforts to actively integrate the three main principles of Comfort, Energy and Environment in the design of a building and in the finished building.
The Active House Radar shows the level of ambition of each of the three main Active House principles, containing four criteria for Comfort, three for Energy, and two for Environment.
The integration of each principle describes the level of ambition of how ‘active’ the building has become. For a building to be considered as an Active House, the level of ambition can be quantified into four levels, where 1 is the highest level and 4 is the lowest passing level.
The ambitious requirement for Active House includes all nine criteria and recommends the lowest level for each of them. As long as a criterion is better or equal to the lowest level of ambition, it is an Active House feature within that specific criterion.
The Active House Radar to the right shows how all criteria and goals within each principle are dependent on each other.
When (re)designing a dwelling or housing complex, the basic idea is to select individual and ambitious requirements for each criterion.
The Active House Radar is a great tool for displaying the ambition reached for the building with the calculated values. When the building is inhabited and the criteria are calculated based on measurements, the Radar can also be a useful tool for monitoring, evaluating and improving the building. As a communication tool, it provides a clarity as to why the integration of criteria is important for creating Active Houses.
To calculate the separate values displayed in the radar, different tools can be used. On the website of Active House (www.activehouseusa.org), a number of tools are available.
An Active House creates healthier and more comfortable indoor conditions for the occupants, ensuring a generous supply of daylight and fresh air. Materials used have a neutral impact on comfort and indoor climate.
An Active House interacts positively with the environment through an optimised relationship with the local context, focused use of resources, and its overall environmental impact throughout its life cycle.
An Active House is energy efficient. All energy needed is supplied by renewable energy sources integrated in the building or from the nearby collective energy system and electricity grid.