Case Study

Swansea University     Back to universities

Active Office: UK’s first energy positive office

  • Swansea University’s Active Office is the UK’s first energy positive office, designed to generate more energy than it uses each year.
  • A full-scale demonstration programme, which aims to test and prove the ‘Active Buildings’ concept with a range of building uses.
  • Will provide functional office space, as well as another full-scale building development facility for SPECIFIC and its industry partners.

Swansea University’s Active Office is the UK’s first energy positive office, designed to generate more energy than it uses over the annual cycle.

It is the latest building in SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre’s full-scale demonstration programme, which aims to test and prove the ‘Active Buildings’ concept – in which buildings use a range of technologies to generate, store and release their own solar energy in one system – with a range of building uses. Our demonstration programme is vital for this new approach to be adopted more widely by the construction sector, regulators and consumers.

The Active Office is located next door to the Active Classroom: the UK’s first energy positive classroom, which was named Project of the Year 2018 by the RICS Wales (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). In its first year of operation, the classroom generated more than one and half times the energy it consumed.

The two Active Buildings will be able to share energy with each other and electric vehicles, which demonstrates how SPECIFIC’s ‘Active Buildings’ approach can 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 only uses commercially available technologies and existing supply chains. It demonstrates that the ‘Active Building’ approach is applicable now – there is no need to wait for new technology to become commercially available.

The Active Office will provide functional office space, as well as another full-scale building development facility for SPECIFIC and its industry partners.

The Active Office was conceived and designed by SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre at Swansea University, and funded by Innovate UK with support from Swansea University and the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

‘It’s difficult to overstate the potential of developing a building that powers itself. The concept could genuinely revolutionise not only the construction sector but completely change how we create and use energy, so the opening of the Active Office in Swansea is an exciting step forward. Developing technologies like those demonstrated in the SPECIFIC Active Office can play a strong role in the Government’s modern industrial strategy to create ‘clean growth’ and fulfil our mission to halve the emissions of new buildings by 2030’ Ian Campbell, Executive Chair of Innovate UK.