UK’s first energy-positive office opens in Swansea

Ellen Cools
July 12, 2018
July 12, 2018 — The UK’s first energy-positive office, which generates more solar energy than it consumes, recently opened at Swansea University.

This new building, known as the Active Office, was designed by Specific, a UK-based innovation and knowledge centre led by Swansea University.

The Active Office combines a range of technologies that enable it to generate, store and release solar energy in one integrated system, including:

• A curved roof with integrated solar cells — showing the flexible nature of the laminated photovoltaic panel
• A PV thermal system on the south-facing wall, which is capable of generating heat and electricity from the sun
• Lithium ion batteries to store the electricity generated and a 2,000L water tank to store solar heat

The Active Office has been designed to be easy to reproduce. According to Swansea University, it only took one week to assemble, with much of the construction taking place off site. It also uses only technologies that are commercially available.

“Offices are enormous consumers of energy, so turning them energy-positive has the potential to slash fuel bills and dramatically reduce their carbon emissions,” said Kevin Bygate, COO, Specific. “The Active Office is a first, but it isn’t a one-off. It is quick to build using existing supply chains, and uses only materials that are readily available. This is tomorrow’s office, but it can be built today.”  

Next to the Active Office is the Active Classroom, the UK’s first energy-positive classroom. Also built by Specific, the Active Classroom generated more than 1.5 times the energy it consumed. CHECK OUT this video on the Active Classroom. 

The Active Office and Classroom will be linked together and able to share energy with each other and electric vehicles.

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