Turning buildings into power stations

are laminated; and Cisco Systems, who have developed the networking infrastructure and electric vehicle management systems. Smaller collaborators include BIPVco,

developer of the integrated solar roof; Naked Energy, whose Photovoltaic- Thermal devices are capable of generating electricity and heat at the same time; and Dulas, who supplied the battery system. The Active Office is the latest building


HE Active Office at Swansea University’s Bay Campus is the UK’s first energy positive office, capable

of generating more solar energy than it consumes over the annual cycle. Designed by SPECIFIC Innovation and

Knowledge Centre and used by university staff for teaching and office space, the building incorporates a range of innovative technologies that will enable it to generate, store and release solar energy. They include an integrated solar roof and battery storage with solar heat collection and storage, all working together in one integrated system. The concept delivers low carbon

buildings at affordable cost, with low energy bills, the ability to generate revenue from excess energy, and a higher level of comfort for occupants. It has already been applied in a number

of demonstration buildings, including a house and a classroom on the same campus, but the Active Office is the first to provide real data and evidence of how this concept works in an office situation. This will enable further development of the design. Partners in the project include Wernick,

for off-site building manufacture and construction management; Tata Steel, whose products include the Colorcoat Urban®

cladding and roof panels, onto which Building Integrated Photovoltaics

to demonstrate SPECIFIC’s “buildings as power stations” concept, which has already been proven and is operating successfully next door in the award- winning Active Classroom, the UK’s first energy-positive classroom, which is also situated at the university’s Bay Campus. In its first year of operation, the Active Classroom generated more than one and half times the solar energy it consumed. The two Active Buildings will able to

share energy with each other, and with electric vehicles via three charging points, demonstrating how the concept could be applied in an energy-resilient solar- powered community. Whilst the Active Classroom was used

to test technologies at different stages of development, the Active Office uses only technologies that are commercially available now – and hence could be used on any new building.

Among the new technologies used are:

the first curved integrated PV roof by BIPVco, which demonstrates the flexible nature of the 23kWp photovoltaic panels; 100kWh lithium ion phosphate batteries; the first commercial installation of a wall- mounted photovoltaic thermal (PVT) system, which is capable of generating both heat and electricity, by Naked Energy; a 2000 litre water-based solar heat store capable of storing sufficient energy to provide space heating for the following day (enables time-shifting of electrical heating demand); heating derived from solar energy by combination of solar thermal, a heat pump and an immersion heater; a smart controller will use occupancy and weather forecasting information to optimise charging of the 2000 litre cylinder; and smart systems including wireless access. The Active Office was funded by

Innovate UK with support from Swansea University and the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

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