Active House Symposium an opportunity for development industry to get on the same page


By Madeline Zito
Great Gulf

A unique opportunity awaits the development industry in Toronto, when the 7th Active House Symposium will be held for the first time in North America here on Sept. 16 to 17, 2019.

Taking place at Evergreen Brick Works, Active House is an international building practice based on a balanced and holistic approach to building design and performance. Toronto won the bid to host the Symposium, previously held in Italy, Denmark and other global cities.

Clean, healthy, safe

The ambition is simple – to create a viable, independent and international influential Alliance which supports the vision of buildings that create healthier and comfortable lives for their residents without impacting negatively on the climate and environment. The goal is to move towards a cleaner, healthier and safer world, focusing on three core principles: Indoor climate conditions; energy consumption; and impact on the environment.

The importance of this event is to bring together industry professionals from around the world, including architects, academics, builders, engineers, regulators, designers and other specialists to stimulate conversations, exchange of ideas and education surrounding healthy and sustainable building design with the mission to benefit homebuyers and owners.

Active House is gaining popularity in China, where the importance of sustainability targets to build Green buildings has escalated due to global warming.

Featured speakers will include architects Kristian Lars Ahlmark, Denmark; Jishou Zhong, China; and Siamak Hariri, Canada. From the business community, Michael Koenig, Honda Smart Home US; and from academia, Marco Imperadori, Italy and Alex Lukachko, Canada.

Developers have always been at the forefront of building science and have a social responsibility to pay attention to these issues, with the mandate to provide comfortable and healthy shelters while being prepared for climate change.

Commitment to standards

Great Gulf was attracted to this building concept 10 years ago and became one of the founders of the Alliance. It committed to these standards with CSA certified H+ME Technology building science, an advanced indoor automated manufacturing plant that allows floor, wall and roof assemblies to be built as integrated panels in a controlled environment. The H+ME Technology facility is supported by 3D computer visualization, prototyping and fabricating technologies that reduce environmental waste and increase energy performance through the manufacture of tight-fitting building components.

“Together with Velux and other members of the industry, we are the driving force behind Active House Alliance,” says Active House Chairman and Great Gulf President, Lowrise, Tad Putyra. “We use wood in our homes, including midrise residential buildings because it is a sustainable resource of the future. We’ve already built several Active Houses in Ontario and use these as prototypes. We have included some of these elements in our current projects which are being extensively tested and implemented in our Great Gulf homes to improve our standard product. This includes improvement in daylight, climate control and overall building science.” For more information, visit

Madeline Zito is Vice-President, Public Relations at Great Gulf.