The UK’s first energy-positive office, which generates more solar energy than it consumes, opened today at Swansea University.

Designed by SPECIFIC, a UK Innovation and Knowledge Centre led by Swansea University, the Active Office combines a range of technologies that enables it to generate, store and release solar energy in one integrated system.

The Active Office is the second in a series of energy-generating buildings, following the Active Classroom, also designed by SPECIFIC. Features of the office include:

  • A curved roof with integrated solar cells – showing the flexible nature of the laminated photovoltaic panel
  • A Photovoltaic Thermal system on the south facing wall – which is capable of generating both heat and electricity from the sun in one system
  • Lithium ion batteries to store the electricity generated and a 2,000 litre water tank to store solar heat

Ian Campbell, executive chair of Innovate UK, said: “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.

The Specific collaboration’s research, partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, focuses on producing “buildings as power stations.