Active House is a vision for housing built on integrated energy consumption, internal climate control and environmental impact. Active House Alliance is a non-profit organisation that counts Velux among its partners. It has developed a series of requirements and an assessment system to steer the design of new buildings or the revamping of existing ones.
The concept is to ensure each of the three load-bearing pillars
- energy, comfort and environment - comply with a series of parameters that, in combination, determine the level of “activity” for the building and thus whether it is actually an Active House.
Since an Active House must be designed to limit energy use as much as possible, the entire energy requirement is met using renewable sources and without CO2 emissions. Such houses have plentiful light and natural ventilation, offer high levels of thermal comfort regardless of the season, provide good air quality and ensure optimal internal humidity levels.
The Active House protocol has already been adopted for numerous new builds and restorations across Europe, including “Home for Life”, a Danish house designed by the AART architectural practice.
By adopting an integrated design approach, “Home for Life” moulded the traditional Danish family home into a structure that meets the energy consumption, functionality and comfort standards of an Active House.
In this new home, the window area equals 40% of the floor area, a figure far in excess of a traditional house.
This allows plentiful light to penetrate the interiors, optimises the flow of fresh air and helps to visually and physically link the inside and outside. Solar energy that comes in through these windows accounts for half of the energy needed for heating.
Sensors monitor the temperature, CO2 levels and humidity in each room and, in conjunction with an external weather station, provide data for the intelligent comfort and climate control system.
A solar heat pump and 7 sq m solar collectors produce energy for heating and hot water, while 50 sq m solar cells generate more electricity than the home needs.
“Home for Life” generates more energy than it consumes. With an energy surplus of 9 kWh/sq m/year, it would take about 40 years for the house to generate as much energy as was used in creating the building materials used in the construction.
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