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The Active Office building


Welcome to the Active Building Toolkit, where you can find guidance on the design of Active Buildings.

An Active Building supports the energy network by intelligently integrating renewable energy technologies for heat, power and transport.

Active Buildings are environmentally responsive buildings – responding to their natural environment, the built environment they occupy and the energy environment they interact with.

There are six Active Building design principles:

  1. Building fabric and passive design. The starting point for an Active Building is an efficient building fabric and optimised passive design to reduce operational energy.
  2. Energy efficient systems. Regulated loads are further minimised using intelligently controlled and energy efficient systems. Ongoing and consistent data capture will enable analysis and insight to feedback into the Active Building design process.
  3. On-site renewable energy generation. Where practicable, building loads are met using building integrated or onsite renewables.
  4. Energy storage. In addition to reducing peak loads, and preventing oversizing of plant, the inclusion of electrical and thermal storage allows interaction with micro-grids and the national energy network to be managed.
  5. Electric vehicle integration. Electric vehicles provide additional electrical storage and as technology develops, bi-directional charging will allow EVs to also deliver energy to the buildings as required.
  6. Integration with energy networks. Active Buildings manage their interaction with wider energy networks to minimise uncontrolled import or export of energy.

The novel feature of Active Buildings is their ability to function as part of a de-centralised power distribution system – the benefits become significant when Active Buildings are aggregated through connecting buildings together, managing their energy and ensuring energy is distributed appropriately to meet needs.

Click on one of the sections below to get started:

Watch a video showing how an Active Building works:

Looking for resources for a younger audience? We also have a Young Person’s Guide to Active Buildings aimed at young people aged 11-14 and their teachers (available in English and Welsh).

Latest Active Building Demonstrator News: