Pioneering energy-positive office will guide us to a greener built environment

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Pioneering energy-positive office will guide us to a greener built environment

03 Oct 2019
With the UK now working towards its net-zero emissions target for 2050, the race is on to develop new methods of construction that deliver a greener built environment.

That’s why a huge congratulations is in order for the team behind the UK’s first energy-positive commercial building at Swansea University, a project that we supported, which has been recognised for delivering innovation in sustainability.

The Active Office designed by SPECIFIC, a consortium that aims to close the gap between scientific research and its commercialisation, took home the first-ever trophy for ‘Innovation in Delivering a Sustainable Education Facility’ at the Education Buildings Wales Awards.

The accolade follows excellent recognition for the project as runner-up in The Guardian’s University Awards for ‘sustainable buildings that inspire’ earlier this summer. 

It’s projects like these that are important in outlining how the building products, building design and construction industries can work together to set new benchmarks for what’s achievable in property performance.

The Active Office, located on Swansea University’s new £450-million Bay Campus, is a prototype for net energy-positive commercial spaces and aims to demonstrate SPECIFIC’s broader ‘buildings as power stations’ concept. Over an annual cycle, the building is designed to generate more energy than it consumes.

As well as consulting on the overall project, we provided all glazing including Pilkington Sunplus™ BIPV, which features photovoltaic power-generation technology, turning windows into an energy source for the building. 

The project also uses Pilkington energiKare™ Advantage insulating glass units (IGUs), which is significantly more efficient than standard double glazing due to its use of an innovative dual coating concept. The advanced IGU reduces heat loss through windows while allowing energy from the sun to enter the building, helping to reduce the need for mechanical heating and subsequently contributes to lower bills and a smaller emissions footprint.

We’re proud to be the strategic glass partner to SPECIFIC. The organisation is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. It’s worked closely with academics and other industry partners, including Tata Steel UK and Akzo Nobel, to address the challenge of delivering low-carbon electricity and heat in UK buildings effectively and efficiently.

Industry collaboration will be key for the UK to achieve its ambitious emissions targets, and ultimately to deliver a truly sustainable built environment.

If you’d like to find out more about the Active Office project, click here.

Written by Tony Smith, business development manager at Pilkington UK.