A milestone for Active House: Copenhagen International School

Copenhagen International School is a school in Copenhagen, Denmark designed by C.F Møller Architects for the foundation of the school. The project won an Active House Award at the 2018 Active House Symposium. Below Peder Vejsig Pedersen of Kuben Management answers a few questions on behalf of the Copenhagen International School project.

Your project won an award at the Active House Awards this year, congratulations. Why did you submit your project for the Active House Awards?

Due to BIPV oriented funding in Denmark from the EUDP and ForskVE RTD programmes ( see: www.activehouseroofsandfacades.com ), it was possible for Cenergia now a part of Kuben Management to make an agreement with Copenhagen International School to realise an Active House labelling for the school, and to include an online Active House radar by assistance from the company Leapcraft.

What does winning the Active House Award mean for your project/organisation? What would you say are some of the key features that make Active Houses better buildings?

Copenhagen International school, CIS is a unique building project, which it has been a pleasure for me and my colleagues, Miriam Sanchez and Vickie Aagesen to work with. The cooperation also included Karin Kappel from Solar City Denmark, which has made an amazing work on promoting best practice BIPV architecture since 2004, and Gate21 who was an engaged collaborator in relation to the ForskVE realisation. For my organisation, I hope that winning the Active House award will support the idea of working with the Active House standard in practice since it has many benefits and is not costly to work with.  In relation to ForskVE it has been possible to include several Active House labelled projects in the Danish sustainable building database which can now also be viewed in English. See www.bæredygtigebygninger.dk.

At this years symposium there was a lot of talk about digitalisation and technology changing our buildings. How does your project use these?

The idea of working with performance documentation has always been a part of the Active House approach and with demands for this in the EU Building Directive it becomes more and more relevant, and something that will be supported by the development towards more digitalisation in buildings.

How do you think we can convince more people of the importance of healthy buildings? How does your project address this important aspect?

CIS is a good example of a school building with a strong focus on a healthy indoor climate, which had a strong focus in the design process, also based on special demands from the builder, f.ex. on using decentralised ventilation systems. This is in a situation where problems with a bad indoor climate is a general problem in Danish schools. It is our hope that the indoor qualities documented in the online Active House radar will help to ensure a continuous focus on the indoor climate.

(Photo by Adam Mørk)

One of this year’s speakers at the symposium suggested that as prices go up, so do the expectations of homebuyers. Do you think the Active House label can help purchasers identify good products?

I agree that homebuyers can use Active House documentation to help on securing the quality also due to reasonably low costs for the use. A good advice could be to try to cooperate with other sustainable building quality systems. In the Nordic countries we f.ex. have the Nordic Swan Label which one of the leading contractors (NCC), use for all their housing projects.

If you were to give one piece of advice to next year’s contestants, what would it be?

My advice for the future is to focus on really new and unique projects, which support the Green Transition, and here try to work with engaged builders like what we saw for the CIS building. CIS is a really good example of what a determined builder can do in practice. Here the driving force was one of the board members of the school who at the same time was a designer and secured full-scale BIPV Mock-Ups on the actual building site to identify the best possible BIPV design (in cooperation with the experienced BIPV manufacturer, Solar Lab). This actually led to the withdrawal of the architect (C.F. Møller), for a short period, due to risks they saw in connection to the use of a completely new technology for almost all facades. In the end, they came back and was deeply engaged in securing the qualities in practice of many of the technical and architectural solutions.

Read more about Copenhagen International School here


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