What Are Active Buildings?

An Active Building is described as “a building that supports the wider grid network by intelligently integrating renewable energy technologies for heat, power and transport.” It has six core principles:

  • Building fabric and passive design
  • Energy efficient systems
  • On-site renewable energy generation
  • Energy storage
  • Electric vehicle integration
  • Intelligently managed integration with micro-grids & national energy network

A single Active Building combines a range of integrated renewable energy technologies, whichwork together in one system to generate, store and release heat and electricity.

Using data from the building, the national grid and electric vehicles, the system can manage and optimise energy performance.

Whilst they can be self-sufficient, Active Buildings are not designed to operate in isolation: they use their ability to generate and store energy to exchange or trade with other buildings, the national grid or electric vehicles. This creates communities of energy that are more resilient to sudden changes in supply or demand.

How do Active Buildings benefit consumers and society?

  • Lower energy consumption – modelled to reduce consumption by about 60% for the average UK home)
  • Lower fuel bills – modelled to reduce fuel bills by over £600 for the average UK home
  • Lower carbon emissions
  • Energy independence – building owners and users have control of their own supply, with less dependence on national networks and corporate, political or economic stability
  • A flat load profile – which promotes grid stability
  • The opportunity for demand side response or energy balancing services – responding quickly to unexpected events in the national electricity network.