Today, the world is facing many environmental challenges. Natural resources are scarce, global warming needs to be tackled and well-known sources of energy are being depleted.
Meanwhile, there is a need to meet essential human needs for a healthy, comfortable indoor climate. Active House seeks to respond to these needs.
These specifications represent the next generation in sustainable buildings with a focus on user well-being.
This report outlines the specifications for designing an Active House, a building that combines energy efficiency with specific attention to user health and comfort, indoor climate and the environment. Its scope is residential buildings. This specification outlines the vision behind Active House, lays down the key principles that have influenced the evolution of the Active House concept and outlines the technical specifications of an Active House.
This definition and decription 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.
Living in an Active House should be a step forward and not present any obstacles for the occupants, whether they be children, their parents or grandparents – or people with special needs and physical challenges.
Active House is a vision of how to create sustainable buildings anywhere in the world. It really comes to life and becomes a viable proposition in the second generation of Active House specifications. There are now three steps:
The first is The Principles, providing an overview of the vision, thinking and principles behind an Active House.
The second step is The Specification, gaining the insight and knowledge needed to draw up the requisite technical specifications and design con- cept for an Active House. They include the important issues to consider when creating an Active House. These issues are often processoriented, some provide guidance on how to achieve the performance levels described in the technical specifications, and some describe the holistic approach of the design (biodiversity, local culture and location).
The third step is The Guidelines, addressing the process of planning the construction of an Active House.
These specifications for building an Active House seek to provide an answer for the three main challenges facing the building industry today: comfort, energy and environment.
The specifications focus on providing guidelines to constructing an Active House: a building that creates healthier and more comfortable lives for its occupants without impacting negatively on the climate – moving us towards a cleaner, healthier and safer world.
Members of the Active House Alliance have shared knowledge, experi- ences and feedback on the first edition of the specifications to produce this second edition.
This edition, like the first, was developed using an open source model. It involved online debates and contributions as well as offline meetings and workshops with broad participation across the building industry globally.
This edition has been substantially improved, especially in terms of usa- bility. Changes have been made to making the criteria/specification more concise and relevant. The content has also been changed, in Environment especially.
We are pleased to present these principles and specifications for Active House. And are looking forward to seeing more and more of them flourish around the world.
Brussels, 5 March 2013