AH: innovative buildings for sustainability in architecture
In the last years we have been witness of the innovation of the building sector that it is trying to improve buildings behaviour in order to save energy and optimize the use of renewable sources. It is a necessary step considering that buildings consume more than 40% of all the energy we use, and about 50% of it is used for the conditioning systems. In this context the innovation of the building vision itself is changing faster, from the passive house principles we are moving to the zero energy building, but while this change is happening a new vision is rising: the active house vision. An Active house is a building that gives more than it takes to the environment; it is based on three principles: energy saving, positive contribute to the environment and attention to the users comfort. The concept Active House is based on a responsive behaviour of the building, which is no more an inertial shell but it is capable to answer instantly to thermal strains, assuring indoor comfort and saving energy. This vision, born in the North European regions, is moulded on some case studies, model homes built to spread the image of the future houses and designed for northern climate. Although the standard is meant to be unique and common in every region of Europe, giving advices and fixing performance levels, it is not clear if it fits also to hot regions, where climate and needs are totally different. The comparison between active house specifications and other standard (ZEB-Passive House) is necessary to define the most important parameters that influence the design, the features and the behaviour of the building itself, helping to understand if active house principles are sustainable also for the Mediterranean regions.