Test-Case Scenario

written by:
photos by:
June 15, 2010
Originally published in The Energy Issue

Beating out a host of competitors, one Danish family left their home behind (it’s just down the road, really) to camp out for a year in an Active House, a green-home prototype with all the bells and whistles. Here’s what they learned.

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  The Active House sits on a sloping plot on the outskirts of Aarhus, Denmark, with views to the south over the sea.
    The Active House sits on a sloping plot on the outskirts of Aarhus, Denmark, with views to the south over the sea.
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  While the slate-clad northern facade has few windows and a steeply pitched roof, the southern facade is dominated by glass with the solar-panel-clad roof strategically angled to catch the sun.
    While the slate-clad northern facade has few windows and a steeply pitched roof, the southern facade is dominated by glass with the solar-panel-clad roof strategically angled to catch the sun.
  • 
  Axel, Anna, and a friend watch television in the living room.
    Axel, Anna, and a friend watch television in the living room.
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  The living room receives ample light through the south-facing glass doors and floor-to-ceiling windows.
    The living room receives ample light through the south-facing glass doors and floor-to-ceiling windows.
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  Sophie sits at the Nava dining table in the kitchen, which is flanked by Gubi chairs and illuminated by the Aeros light by Ross Lovegrove for Louis Poulsen.
    Sophie sits at the Nava dining table in the kitchen, which is flanked by Gubi chairs and illuminated by the Aeros light by Ross Lovegrove for Louis Poulsen.
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  Axel sits on the staircase, which like all the internal and external cladding in the house is made from Douglas fir.
    Axel sits on the staircase, which like all the internal and external cladding in the house is made from Douglas fir.
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  A computerized control panel in the hallway allows the family to monitor and control the house’s energy consumption.
    A computerized control panel in the hallway allows the family to monitor and control the house’s energy consumption.
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  An upstairs bedroom is at once bright and cozy.
    An upstairs bedroom is at once bright and cozy.
  • 
  The children enjoy larger bedrooms in the Active House than at their old place. Anna loves the ladder up to her sleeping deck. The furniture is by the Danish firm We:Do:Wood. The interior Douglas fir is from Dinesen.
    The children enjoy larger bedrooms in the Active House than at their old place. Anna loves the ladder up to her sleeping deck. The furniture is by the Danish firm We:Do:Wood. The interior Douglas fir is from Dinesen.
  • 
  Untreated fir forms a sunshade on the exterior.
    Untreated fir forms a sunshade on the exterior.
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