The first certified Active House in North America is now complete in Webster Groves, MO near St. Louis. Designed by Jeff Day Architect and built by Hibbs Homes & Verdatek Solutions, the Smith House is a traditionally-styled home that fits within the context of the historic neighborhood, all while achieving a high level of energy efficiency, healthy indoor quality and minimal impact on the environment. The Active House guidelines can be used for both new construction and renovations and place a strong importance on how the home performs after completion. While many Active Houses exist around the world, this is the first in the US to achieve the certification.
Active House specifications were first developed in Europe and the Smith House in St. Louis is the first to be built and certified in North America. The standards, like many other green building systems, focus on energy efficiency, materials, and environmental impact. As you can imagine by the name, “Active” implies a bit more work on the part of the house than say a Passive House, which places a strong emphasis on a tight thermal envelope and minimal energy use. According to Matthew Sachs at Inside The Housing Revolution, the Active House standard was created by window manufacturer, Velux, to provide an alternative vision of sustainable housing – on that includes more windows than a typical Passive House. So basically, for those who want more windows, this is the energy standard for you!
Designed by Jeff Day Architect and decorated by Lusso at Home, the home is located in a historic and quaint suburban area of Webster Grove, and first uses orientation and passive solar design. To achieve the look and still maintain energy efficiency the home relies on daylighting, fresh air, energy efficient lights & systems and photovoltaics. The project was designed to achieve four certifications: Energy Star Homes, EPA Indoor, Building America Builder’s Challenge, and ANSI ICC-700 also know as The National Green Building Standard. Inside, the home features low-VOC materials and finishes along with reclaimed and recycled materials.
In March 2013, the home was open to the public for an open house and now the owners will move in. As part of the project, the home owners have agreed to work with the University of Missouri’s Midwest Energy Efficiency Research Consortium to monitor the home for the first year they are living there. With this data, researchers and builders can hopefully get some solid data to see how well this home building stacks up.
Via Jetson Green
Images ©Active House USA