Aims of the project:

  • Demonstration of the “buildings as power stations” concept, i.e. buildings which can generate, store and release their own energy for heating and power
  • Integration of a range of novel technology to produce a building that requires very little imported energy
  • Demonstration of electricity only building
  • Demonstration of quick construction time using modular construction
  • Provision of a multipurpose building for teaching, tours, demonstrations and use as an office

Key challenges and how were these overcome:

  • Very short build timescale of 14 weeks.
  • A range of novel construction technologies and heating technologies
  • A range of untested and new to the market technologies used
  • Gathering of performance data.

Key success factors:

  • Ability to demonstrate a range of new and untested technologies
  • Integration of technology
  • Monitoring of perfomance

Key learnings:

  • Thermal bridging and airtightness.

First building with solar cells integrated into the roof panels. – cost efficient as saves on reduced installation costs – lightweight and flexible – modules offer efficiencies of over 14%

Solar air collectors on the South facade consist of perforated cladding that is fitted onto the building skin. Warm air is drawn in through the tiny holes in the steel using a fan. Even during the winter, there can be enough warm air drawn in at peak hours to provide heat for a building.

New saltwater batteries – “Aquion’s Hybrid Ion (AHI™) – safe and large scale – made using abundant, nontoxic materials – made using modern low cost manufacturing techniques – maintenance-free – optimized for daily charge / recharge – first time used at large scale in the UK

New resistive heating integrated into floor panels – electrical heating system powered from the sun – fast, controllable, consistent heat – ideal for frequent changes in occupancy typical of school buildings – integrated with building management systems – generate, store, release systems approach.


Organisation: SPECIFIC / Swansea University

Delivery agents: Swansea University, TATA steel, Matrix, BIPVco,

How long has the project been operational: 2 years

How long the project took from concept approval to implementation: 6 months

Funding: ~£400,000. Innovate UK, Swansea University

Picture courtesy of: SPECIFIC

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