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Active House Centennial Park

Active House Centennial Park Residence is about bringing an easily maintained, environmentally friendly home to the consumer and improving the quality of life for homeowners who lead busy lives.

The first certified Active House in the World

Located in the suburban West End of Toronto, Ontario, Great Gulf’s Centennial Park Residence is designed to improve human comfort and well-being. Its clean modernist architectural aesthetics comes with energy-saving and environmentally conscious features such as interior and exterior LED lighting systems, low-flow water fixtures and finishes that are easy to maintain. But what ultimately makes this home so appealing is an approach to design that maximize opportunities for natural daylight and ventilation. The project is a result of highly process-driven approach to building an affordable energy-efficient product achieved through the combined expertise of a team of Danish and Canadian Building Science professionals, the award-winning Toronto architecture firm superkül, and Great Gulf, the builder committed to evolving the Active House concept in Canada.

Experiecing living in Active House:

To better understand what it means to live in Centennial Park Residence, Russell Ibbotson, Technical Manager for Building Industry at VELUX Canada, will be moving into the home with his wife Bethany and their three children for six months. As Russell Ibbotson explains, “people know how to build a house like this, but after living in it and being able to experience it, we’ll have a much better understanding of how it functions that will resonate with a wider audience.” With his family, Ibbotson will document the home’s many energy-efficient features — and how indoor climates affect us physically and mentally. His experience will be captured through a blog, short videos and social media channels all available on the website- activehouse.ca. With the help of a third-party research group comprising specialists dedicated to daylight, energy and indoor climate, Russell’s evolving narrative will include a number of scientific experiments that will form the basis of a quantitative analysis to help guide the monitoring and surveying process of the home to refine a design process for making healthy spaces.

people know how to build a house like this, but after living in it and being able to experience it, we’ll have a much better understanding of how its functions will resonate with a wider audience.


Open Design

Visitors immediately notice the light-filled double-height C-shaped courtyard which forms an architectural “anchor” for the entire home. When the windows are open, the home’s overall design facilities cross-breezes and natural ventilation, therefore minimizing a reliance on air conditioning. The ground-floor living room, dining area, and kitchen are laid out in an open plan with no barriers to obstruct daylight. Double-height spaces vertically connect upstairs spaces, such as the family room on the second floor. This strategy of maintaining strong visual connections also guarantees clear exterior views from almost every room in the house, without sacrificing privacy.

Bring light in, turn the lights off!

It is the strategic use of natural daylighting that defines the true character of the Great Gulf Active House where little to no artificial lighting is required during the day. The Danish design team modelled extensive computer visualizations to avoid insufficient levels of natural daylight in nearly every space of the home.

Natural Ventilation is a Breeze

Centennial Park Residence is also an evolution in home automation with an emphasis on easy-to-use, hassle-free and reliable systems that can monitor aspects of the home. To reduce the energy required for air conditioning, Centennial Park Residence contains features that boost air quality while mitigating fan energy. Large operable windows and skylights facilitate a natural air flow to help keep the house cool during warmer months while ensuring effective ventilation throughout the year.
The fully programmable VELUX skylights are designed with an intuitively designed intelligent touchscreen remote control that can open and close the skylights as needed. In addition to maintaining their automatic and/or remote functioning for natural ventilation purposes, the skylights also have controls for an insect screen, and integrated rain sensors that automatically close them during inclement weather.

Putting it together

Visitors immediately notice the light-filled double-height C-shaped courtyard which forms an architectural “anchor” for the entire home. When the windows are open, the home’s overall design facilities cross-breezes and natural ventilation, therefore minimizing a reliance on air conditioning. The ground-floor living room, dining area, and kitchen are laid out in an open plan with no barriers to obstruct daylight. Double-height spaces vertically connect upstairs spaces, such as the family room on the second floor. This strategy of maintaining strong visual connections also guarantees clear exterior views from almost every room in the house, without sacrificing privacy.
  

Active House – Coordinated for living

Just as the latest models of electric vehicles are appealing because the technology and design are highly integrated, innovation and design strategies that support the Great Gulf Centennial Park Residence work holistically, triggering an emotional appreciation—and not just a scientific curiosity—for healthy and sustainable living. And similar to the latest generation of electric vehicles in which consumers want reliability, performance, and style in one complete package: A hassle-free product that respects the environment while improving their quality of life.

Partners:

Builder: Great Gulf

Design

superkül Inc. (architect), Building Knowledge Canada Inc., Brockport Home Systems Ltd., Danish Technical Institute, VELUX A/S Building Industry

Products:

ROXUL, Home Technology, Rogers, Lennox, Huber Engineered Wood

Product solutions used in this case

Electric "Fresh Air" skylights

Designed for both deck and curb mount installations, the VELUX Electric "Fresh Air" skylight is the perfect daylighting solution for overhead applications. It allows for abundant natural light, and with the touch of a button, opens to let in fresh air. And if you forget to close it, a rain sensor will shut the skylight during inclement weather.

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