Radical Roofing – Energy Generating Roofs
Here at D-marc, we aim to make sure our readers have all the latest news that affects the roofing industry here in the UK. We’ve already brought you information on solar panels and how small to medium business owners can decide on whether or not the installation of photovoltaic solar panels on their premises would be the right decision for their business.
We’ve also covered the revolutionary new roof tiles from Tesla which snap together quickly and reduce installation time.
A new office opened in Swansea University, Wales in late June that is the UK’s first energy-positive office, generating more solar energy than it uses. With buildings in the UK currently responsible for around 40% of our overall energy consumption, this is positive news on the path to a generation of low-carbon offices which produce their own supply of clean, green energy.
The new office building has been named the Active Office and was opened by Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns. The office was designed by SPECIFIC, a Swansea University-led UK Innovation and Knowledge Centre. SPECIFIC has a vision of “buildings as power stations”, using integrated systems to generate, store and release their own solar energy (both heat and electricity), making the buildings “active”, rather than “passive” structures.
Active Office was built on Swansea University’s Bay Campus and the construction process (from concept to completion) took just eight months. In true keeping with innovative new building methods, much of the office was built elsewhere as modular components and then assembled on site.
Active Office boasts smart systems, including wireless access points and data infrastructure to support predictive operation, smart building sensors and Internet of Things devices. The individual technologies involved all work together in one integrated system to generate, store and release solar energy for heat and electricity. Robust energy monitoring provides information on how the energy is distributed throughout the building, demonstrating how an energy-resilient community is a workable option. The building was designed to share energy to an adjacent building, the Active Classroom which was the first energy-positive classroom in the UK.
The Active Classroom has been named Project of the Year by RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) Wales and, during its first year, it generated more than one and a half times the solar energy it consumed, making it a truly zero-carbon, energy-positive building.
Active Office was specifically designed to be easy to reproduce and uses only technologies that are currently commercially available which means that they can be used on any new building. The potential for buildings of this type is enormous and the concept may completely revolutionise the construction sector and change the way in which we create and use energy in future. What’s more, the use of these types of technology and methods is likely to play a major role in the government’s Industrial Strategy to create “clean growth” and fulfil the pledge to halve the emissions of new buildings by 2030.