Easy as ABC

ABC (Active Building Centre) will seek to reduce the cost and commercialise energy generation and storage components in buildings across the UK – effectively turning them into power stations.

Currently UK buildings account for around 40% of our energy consumption and associated carbon emissions, yet the way we create and operate buildings hasn’t changed. With almost half of the economy reliant on the built environment and the services it enables, the government is bringing together the construction, manufacturing, energy and digital sectors to deliver innovative approaches that improve productivity in construction and accelerate a shift to building safer, healthier and more affordable places to live and learn that use less energy.

Economic Building

“We want to ensure that we are at the global forefront in designing and building smart, energy efficient and affordable homes and buildings through the Clean Growth Grand Challenge, saving families money on their bills. This Sector Deal is supported by the biggest government investment in construction for at least a decade and will drive economic growth and create well-paid highly-skilled jobs in every part of the UK.”

Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark.

ABC will work across strengths in UK research and innovation, leveraging the expertise of the Urban Flows Observatory (UFO) in Sheffield, to help break down the barriers that prevent mass uptake of Active Buildings and accelerate market adoption of new solar-powered building design.

Professor Daniel Coca, Head of the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, TUoS and one of the Directors of the Urban Flows Observatory comments:

“We are extremely excited to be part of this £36 million EPSRC funded project. As part of this project, the Urban Flows Observatory will lead work to establish an IoT based sensing infrastructure to gather the data needed to evidence and forecast, across a range of spatial scales, the benefits of the Active Building approach and to support the management of energy and resource flows in real-time.”

ABC’s overriding objective is to prove scale, stimulate the market and enable an industry for Active Buildings. The proliferation of Active Buildings will positively disrupt the energy and construction sectors and will provide numerous benefits for UK industry, the economy, the environment and society at large. Such benefits include:

  • Integrating renewable energy technologies into the fabric of buildings lends itself to pre-fabricated, off site manufacture and construction. Minimising on-site works, the manufacturing sector, with its higher productivity, will grow. Consequently, more buildings can be constructed more quickly, and the industry will become more attractive to school leavers and young people.
  • Job creation through enabling what is effectively a new industry and consequently new companies.
  • Reduced operating costs for commercial and public-sector owners / occupiers will result in increased profitability and better tax-payer value respectfully.
  • Growth in export opportunities for UK businesses based on our industry leadership.
  • Lower consumer energy costs leading to a reduction of fuel poverty, improving health and wellbeing.
  • Increasing renewable energy sources improves air quality and ABC’s energy storage and release focus will accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles too.
  • Cleaner, reliable energy sources integrated into buildings will dramatically increase support to healthy ageing.

ABC’s approach means that buildings become part of the solution to reducing the demand on the UK energy infrastructure, reduce the operational costs of buildings and to achieve decarbonisation targets.

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