In Quebec, we already know the LEED Guide for Building Design and Construction, which provides recommendations and advice on how to build homes that have a minimal ecological footprint and are self-sustainable in terms of energy. These types of homes can also be called passive houses. But Norway has taken the concept a step further with active houses. Active houses are exceptional because they produce more energy than they consume. They also make up for their energy costs in terms of operation and construction throughout their existence. These positive energy buildings are an environmental dream!
Energetic… From the Basement to The Attic!
These revolutionary houses are built with impressive attention to detail. The environment of the house (i.e. its land, its type of soil, neighbouring buildings, etc.) is also evaluated in order to design a building that exceeds environmental requirements. The roof, the walls, the windows, the materials: everything has been chosen with care. Nothing is left to chance.
To achieve such a result, active houses use different technologies such as bioclimatic technology (using the sun or wind to generate electricity). Their insulation is also superior to anything that exists. As for heating or air conditioning systems, they are equipped with the most energy-efficient models on the market. These types of buildings are even designed to store energy. The construction volume of these properties is also more compact in order to limit losses.
The Pros and Very Little Cons
In a world where climate change is a threat, BEPOS houses have several advantages. In addition to their eco-friendly appearance, they also have the advantage of providing their occupants with a healthy and comfortable space, especially thanks to the purity of the ambient air. Homeowners also save significantly on their energy bills. On the other hand — and this is the biggest downside — this type of house is expensive to build. Also, it can be difficult to find the materials and qualified experts for its construction.
The First BEPOS School
In February 2018, in Norway, a positive energy school was inaugurated. It was the first in the world. The school is Powerhouse Drobak Montessori High School. Its sloping roofs hold solar panels and it is heated with geothermal energy. The building was designed to produce more energy than it will need throughout its lifetime, nearly 30,500 kWh per year. Thus, the building will have produced enough energy to give back what it will take to demolish it (in the distant future).
Many engineers around the world are working to find solutions for the construction of greener houses. New technologies are constantly surprising us! Would you be interested in this type of house?