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Introducing the World’s First Certified Active House

Watch out Passive House and Net Zero, there’s a new kid on the block.
 
The Active House concept and certification was created in Denmark and supported by various European partners from academia, professional practice and building material manufacturers. The goal is to create healthier and more comfortable living spaces without negatively impacting the environment or the climate. According to the Active House Alliance, certification is awarded based on energy, comfort and environment. According to the Active House website, this criteria is defined as:
 
  • Energy – contributes positively to the energy balance of the building
An Active House is energy efficient. All energy needed is supplied by renewable energy sources integrated into the building or from the nearby collective energy system and electricity grid.
  • Comfort – creates a healthier and more comfortable life
An Active House creates healthier and more comfortable indoor conditions for the occupants, ensuring a generous supply of daylight and fresh air. Materials used have a neutral impact on comfort and indoor climate.
  • Environment – has a positive impact on the environment
An Active House interacts positively with the environment through an optimized relationship with the local context, focused use of resources, and its overall environmental impact throughout its lifecycle.
 
The balance of these three aspects is how Toronto-based builder Great Gulf, a founding member of the global Active House Alliance since 2010 and one of the founding members of Active House Alliance Canada, came to build the world’s first certified Active House.
 
The home features a multitude of high-quality building products and smart technology selected as sponsors for the home, including skylights, a home monitoring system, three-zone furnace and heat pump HVAC system, and ZIP System® R-sheathing for an easy-to-install, tight-fitting exterior wall system.  
 
ZIP System R-sheathing solutions for residential, multifamily and light commercial construction are structurally approved engineered wood sheathing panels with built-in polyisocyanurate continuous foam insulation. While the integrated continuous exterior insulation helps manage thermal bridging and wall cavity condensation, taped panel seams over the system’s integrated water-resistive barrier also help reduce air leakage. The all-in-one system is a uniquely efficient way to manage air, water and thermal performance while meeting structural wall requirements. To help make it the right solution for each climate zone, ZIP System R-sheathing panels are available in a variety of insulation thicknesses from 1” to 2 ½.”
 
“We have built a reputation for high-quality, energy-efficient homes and it’s important that the products we use reflect that same level of quality and performance,” said Great Gulf President Christopher Wein. “ZIP System R-sheathing helped us meet the qualifications needed to be an Active House and its all-in-one features saved time and trouble on the job site.”
The world’s first certified Active House is not just a concept it’s been put through the real live paces. A family of 5 moved into the house and is monitoring its systems that include energy efficiency through movement, temperature and moisture in the environment, to see how the house performs to their lifestyle. Learn more and follow along with their experience at greatgulf.com/activehouse.
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