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St. Louis, Missouri will soon be the home of the nation’s first Active House prototype. Active House USA is an innovative sustainable home being built by Hibbs Homes and Verdatek Solutions using the Active House specifications created by the Active House Alliance.
By focusing on three main sustainability factors―energy, environment and indoor climate―during planning, construction and after the homeowner takes residence, Active House USA aims to have a positive impact on both the homeowner and the surrounding community. The immediate goal is to provide the homeowner with a cost-effective and easy to operate living space that creates healthier and more comfortable lives for occupants without impacting the climate.
To meet the energy efficiency, thermal comfort, and indoor environmental quality requirements of the Active House specifications, the home will be built using structural insulated panels (SIPs) from Insulspan. SIPs provide a well-insulated building enclosure that limits air infiltration and allows for better control over indoor air quality.
“We start at the building envelope with everything we do,” said Matt Belcher with Verdatek Solutions. “SIPs are a great way to handle both the thermal envelope and vapor barrier in one step.”
Active Houses must meet a challenging energy use requirement of between 30 and 80 kWh per square meter. But Active House takes this a step further, requiring that most energy be provided by renewable sources and by positioning energy efficiency as one part of a holistic concept of sustainability that also includes indoor environmental quality, water efficiency, and total environmental impact.
The home is also designed to be certified under four North American sustainable building standards: ENERGY STAR, EPA Indoor airPlus, Building America Builder’s Challenge, and the National Green Building Standard. By meeting and exceeding these existing certifications, the Active House USA prototype aims to help develop metrics and standards for Active Houses around the world.
For more information on Active House USA, visit activehouseusa.com