The modern design contrasts with North America’s traditionally styled prototypical Active House. In Thorold, Ontario, wood finishes, a streamlined sloping roof and large windows combine to produce a desirable minimalist living space. The home stands out from its neighbors without looking out of place. Use of skylights is restrained and add to the understated contemporary feel. The home’s features range from low-flow faucets and LED lighting to built-in rainwater harvesting, climate control, and natural lighting and ventilation, all of which can be managed via iPad or iPhone.
The rainwater system has a water saving potential of 35 percent based on the annual rainfall in Ontario combined with the area of the roof and number of people living in the house. Solar thermal panels plus renewable gas and electricity from Bullfrog Power make the heat and electricity supply 100 percent renewable, while more than 50 percent of the materials in the house have recycling potential. Construction took only one week as the wood frame was prefabricated in Toronto at Brockport Home systems’ factory.
Active House was conceived in Denmark as a more comfortable and user-friendly response to the Passivhaus with ratings based on performance related to comfort, energy and environment. In 2009 in Aarhus, VKR Holding and Velux built the world’s first energy producing Active House dwelling. The Active House building standard incorporates many Passivhaus standards, such as tight insulation, heat exchange and optimal solar exposure. It also promotes natural light and ventilation enabled by an array of Velux skylights and windows.