The Active Building Centre is supporting Pobl Group on a pilot social housing development of Active Homes

by Jonathan Williams, Head of Projects

Active Homes is a UK social housing exemplar. Low carbon and low running costs. Affordable heat and affordable power.

A community of sixteen homes, the 2- and 3-bedroom houses and 1-bedroom apartments have easy access to shops and local amenities.  

Active Homes aims to demonstrate how innovative, integrated renewable technologies can reduce energy consumption and provide people with a healthy home environment.  

View Active Homes Neath Virtual Tour.

Active Building Centre partners

The Active Building Centre is working together with partners to transform construction.

Active Homes is an Active Building Centre project collaboration between Pobl Group, Neath & Port Talbot County Borough Council, and Specific, a national Innovation and Knowledge Centre led by Swansea University.

The Active Building Centre convenes partners with suppliers including TATA, BIPVCo, Tesla, SO Modular and Ariston. 

Active Homes technology

Active Buildings integrate renewable energy technologies to provide heat, power and transport. Active Homes are designed for high performance beyond the minimum Building Regulations.   

The homes use well insulated construction from SO Modular, solar technologies and the grid to provide heating. Specific developed the innovative technologies which generate, store and release energy.  

The Active Homes have no gas supply. Homes combine BIPVCo solar PV and Tesla battery technology. TATA’s transpired solar collector cladded wall provides heating in combination with Ariston’s air source heat pump.  

Active Homes Neath use Tesla Powerwall batteries to enable solar generated electricity to be used later in the day as it’s needed. When less sun is available, the batteries can be charged overnight, which is cheaper than charging during the day. 

Active Building data

A key element of the Active Building Centre is to collect data from buildings and people.  

The BEIS funded for 2050 project is conducting an independent review of the Active Homes project.

BEIS will analyse energy performance data and review the design construction process.   BEIS will conduct social science research with tenants to determine occupant satisfaction. 

People are due to move in to their new Active Homes in Neath, South Wales in Autumn 2019. How the Active Homes work for occupants is critical. 

The Active Building Centre is looking to provide the evidence and prove the case for Active Buildings.

Saving money and energy

Active Buildings contribute to transforming construction by supporting the energy network to deliver healthy spaces for people to live and work. 

Elfed Roberts, Head of Projects Pobl Group: 

“The Active Homes will feel homely, warm and comfortable, and pleasant to live in. They will generate most of their energy needs from the roof and wall coverings. This will dramatically reduce tenants’ bills.” 

Welsh Government Innovative Housing Programme has funded the innovative aspects of Active Homes Neath, and the project was seen as a pathfinder in the IHP programme. 


“Pobl is very pleased and excited to be working on this innovative housing project. The project enables us for the first time to demonstrate the benefits that the latest technologies can bring to affordable housing developments, and to drastically reduce fuel poverty and carbon emissions.” 

“Pobl wants this type of project to become the norm for both rented and owner-occupied housing.”  

Jonathan Williams Head of Projects Active Building Centre: 

“The Pobl development of Active Homes Neath is a symbolic project for Active Building Centre and our partners at SPECIFIC.  Ultimately reducing fuel poverty and examining how Active technologies can benefit people and the wider energy system is the aim of this project.” 

Active Building demonstrators and projects

The Active Building Centre is working to deliver a demonstrator programme. This is vital to prove the case for this new approach to buildings. To provide the evidence for these Active Buildings to be adopted more widely by the construction sector, regulators and consumers.

Our aim is to deliver a pipeline of Active Building demonstrators and projects. We are interested in buildings which integrate renewable and storage technologies.

Active Building demonstrators will collect data and provide an evidence base for Active Buildings. Projects which have the potential to scale and transform construction. Active Buildings which can be replicated. This includes houses, schools, Local Authority buildings, offices, factories, commercial and industrial buildings.

These buildings need to be ready to go, projects with a funding plan and close to outline planning.

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