First US Active House opens its doors for visitors

First US Active House opens its doors for visitors

For the first time in the United States, green home lovers got a close look at an Active House.

The first Active House in the U.S. had its open house May 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves, Mo.

Architect Jeff Day designed the home to replace a 1921 stucco house in the historic neighborhood.
However, beneath the clapboard siding and behind the tapered Craftsman-style columns on the inviting porch, the Active House is a high-performance home designed to generate more electricity than it uses.

An Active House is one that incorporates a comprehensive, exceptionally sustainable and green design inside and out.

See photos of the Active House Open House.

In 2011, the Active House Alliance developed specifications including a wide range of energy-efficient, environmentally friendly practices and guidelines.The world’s active home opened in Denmark in 2009 and featured lots of solar panels and windows, so that over the years the home could capture more energy than it used.

Another active home in Russia was built to consume five times less energy than an average home in the country.

Active House open houseThe U.S. Active House utilizes solar panels and ultra-efficient exterior walls, made with structural insulating panels (SIPS). It’s also loaded with skylights which provide light and ventilation. The traditional front porch and window awnings offer energy-saving benefits by blocking the heat of the afternoon sun.

The house has two arrays of rooftop solar panels, one to heat water and another to provide much of the home’s electrical needs. Efficient LED lighting shines throughout the two stories. Grains of quartz in the roof shingles will reflect summer heat and help keep the home’s interior cool.

All of the upstairs bedrooms have skylights. Two more at the top of the stairwell can be opened to allow breezes to circulate through the house and vent unwanted heat.

The owners of the house didn't sacrifice comfort and livability for the green benefits. But the investments will pay off for years to come said Kim Hibbs, of Hibbs Homes, builder of the house.

"The benefits will be endless as far as the homeowners are concerned," Hibbs said. "This will be a net-zero home, there will be much better indoor air quality, and they'll have greater durability and less maintenance."

Read more about Great Green Homes.


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