The Active House standard comes from Europe, and is intended to steer the builder toward a comprehensive and affordable pathway to high-performance, low-impact buildings. Instead of points, this system is based on a minimum threshold of performance in each criterion that can then be assigned to one of four levels.
Criteria in the system fall into three categories, with three components to each:
Each parameter is evaluated individually and mapped using the Active House Radar diagram that places the quantitative parameters of the system onto a plot according to the performance levels outlined in the standard as a means to help owners and the design team visualize the degree of performance they will achieve.
This is a very flexible system that allows a team to focus on criteria that are important to them, while ensuring at least a minimum standard of performance in all criteria areas. The ability for a team to be recognized for a high level of achievement in certain areas is different than the pass/fail or high/low rankings of other systems. The weighting of each criterion is equal, so participation in the program does not push the team toward an emphasis on a particular criterion.
Though the system is largely based in Europe, there have been some North American projects. An Active House label is awarded to a building after a verification process.
The specification and radar tools are available for free, and the calculation tool is available to all members of Active House.