Active House is a holistic specification, meaning it takes into account everything involved with a house − the resources used to construct a building, its impact in terms of energy and water consumption, occupant comfort and even such external parameters as storm water run-off. Several prototype homes have been built around Europe, and one in Russia, using the Active House principles, which were proclaimed in Brussels in April 2010. These geographical areas have provided a wealth of experience and knowledge of durable construction in harsh climatic conditions and planning for dense concentrations of population. This experience also includes dealing with scarcity of materials and managing the impact of those population densities on existing and future resources. These issues, combined with an ever-increasing demand for energy, created an opportunity to merge that knowledge and experience to address these issues, while promoting better comfort and health for building occupants.
In the United States, the resource efficiency in today’s American green standards (like Green Globes) stems from post-war construction and the limited amount of natural resources such as timber, due to deforestation. The continued growth in demand for energy efficient developments, buildings, new homes and retrofitting of the 128 million existing homes that account for the bulk of the nation’s residential energy consumption, means that innovative concepts capable of addressing this energy efficiency are crucial. Sound business planning, including risk management, is also essential to be able to operate and compete in the rapidly evolving construction market.
Other homes have been built around the world under the Active House umbrella utilizing Active House specifications. Active Houses can be found in countries such as Portugal, Austria, Norway, UK, Italy, Netherlands, and Russia.