The Active Classroom was constructed in 2016 and was the first building to demonstrate the Active Building concept

By Joanna Clarke, Head of Design

The Active Classroom was designed and delivered by SPECIFIC IKC, proving the Active Building concept and paving the way for the development of the Active Building Centre, which was funded through the Transforming Construction challenge in September 2018.

The UK’s first Active Building

The Active Classroom is the UK’s first energy positive classroom. Over an annual cycle it is capable of generating more solar energy than it uses.

The Classroom uses both existing technologies and a range of new technologies and construction methods developed by SPECIFIC and its partners.

Completed in October 2016 and located at the Swansea Bay University Campus, the Active Classroom gives Materials Science students the chance to learn in a building that actively demonstrates the qualities of the materials that they are learning about.

The two-storey Active Office was completed in June 2018 shares energy and information with the Active Classroom.

Proving the concept

Alongside the Active Office, these two Active Buildings share energy with each other and electric vehicles, which demonstrates how Active Buildings can contribute to more efficient energy use and decarbonisation.

Proving the design and concept works is vital before it can be adopted by the construction sector, regulators and consumers.

Since being built the Active Classroom has produced 1.6 times the amount of energy it has consumed.

This proves SPECIFIC’S energy-positive design concept and demonstrates an innovative and sustainable approach to constructing buildings.

“The classroom is a vital research tool, with over 50 sensors collecting performance data in real time. The building is used on a daily basis as an educational facility and the information gathered allows us to investigate the performance of the technologies we use in a working environment, which is just not possible in a controlled laboratory setting. The data collected is being shared with an international team of solar experts across several universities, who use it to validate their models and control algorithms.”

Desmond Brennan, Data and Smart Systems Officer, Active Building Centre

Working together to transform construction

It is only by working together on real projects with real companies, by bringing together those in the construction, energy and systems industries, that our vision of a more sustainable, more prosperous environment can be achieved.

Ian Hewson, Off-grid Engineer, Solar Plants

“We are proud to be involved with this game-changing project, this classroom challenges commercial property design norms, and if successful will help shape the way buildings are designed going forward.”

Active Building demonstrators

The Active Building Centre demonstration programme has been designed to test and prove the Active Buildings concept in a range of uses.

These two Active Buildings  capture heat and electricity from the sun and store it in the building until it is needed. They test and prove technologies and show how they can be connected in one integrated system, working together to generate heat and power for the building.

The success of these Active Building early demonstrators gave rise to the Active Building Centre.

If you think you have a potential or existing Active Building project, please contact the team at the Active Building Centre.

SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre is an academic and industrial consortium led by Swansea University, with strategic partners Akzo Nobel, NSG Pilkington, Tata Steel and Cardiff University.

It is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government.