Low carbon at low cost

What are Active Buildings?

SPECIFIC’s building concept integrates solar technology into one system - that enables them to generate, store and release their own solar energy – both heat and electricity.

Why is this important?

Buildings are responsible for around 40% of the UK’s energy consumption and associated carbon emissions. SPECIFIC is paving the way for decarbonisation of heat and power in buildings, for the benefit of occupants and owners, wider society and the energy infrastructure.

Low Carbon

  • Buildings are solar-powered
  • Eliminates carbon emissions in building use
  • Creates demand-side reductions


Security of supply

  • Stable, localised energy supply: generation at the point of use
  • No gas for heating
  • Reduces reliance on fossil fuels
  • Provide grid balancing services

SPECIFIC’s approach

SPECIFIC’s aim is to close the gap between technology research and commercialisation.

Technology Scale-up

SPECIFIC brings together world class expertise in a range of fields including photovoltaics, solar thermal, functional coatings as well as heat and electrical storage.

Four integrated facilities deliver lab to line capability – including new state-of-the-art laboratory facilities at Swansea University, pilot manufacturing lines delivering building-scale products, and full-scale technology demonstrator buildings.

Systems and Integration

As well as developing new technologies ourselves, we help others to develop theirs and we create the systems that connect them together in a building.

We build first-of-a-kind buildings to test and prove the systems in meaningful situations. For example, the Active Classroom, which is used by students at Swansea University, contains a number of new and experimental technologies; while the Active Office, which is used by the Active Building Centre, uses only commercially available technology.

Concept to Commercialisation

Our unique and growing network of leading universities and companies – from multi-national corporations to innovative SMEs – is working together to scale-up technologies, develop supply chains and identify routes to market.

Within the centre and in our network, our unique mix of people comprises researchers, engineers, business development, engagement, IP and commercialisation professionals as well as architects and construction specialists.


Led by:


Strategic Partners:

In total, SPECIFIC has more than 50 partners from academia, industry, and Government. These partners work collaboratively at all levels to develop new technologies, bring them to commercial reality, and create the environment for change.

Want to be part of it?


SPECIFIC was one of seven Innovation and Knowledge Centres set up to foster new industries by closing the gap between scientific research and its commercial exploitation. It was set up in 2011 with a five-year £20m commitment from EPSRC, Innovate UK and the Welsh Government together with investment from Swansea University and strategic industrial partners.

In April 2016, SPECIFIC began phase two of the project with £26m funding from EPSRC, Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, as well as further investment from Swansea University, the industrial partners and matched funding from Cardiff University.

Board Members

Management Team