Independent research organisation, the Active Building Centre (ABC), has announced that it will soon merge with the Energy Systems Catapult to continue its work helping the built environment sector accelerate its journey to net zero.
Set-up in 2019, under the UK government’s Transforming Construction Challenge, it is hoped that integration with the Catapult will boost the deployment phase in scaling up active building technologies in the UK, now that the initial R&D funding phase is complete.
Since inception four years ago, ABC has partnered in delivering over 100 real world schemes with a value of around £300 million, to catalyse the uptake of active buildings, ranging from capital projects with Welsh Government to commercial buildings and housing developments with local authorities.
The move to Energy Systems Catapult will accelerate the work of ABC to transform construction with lower-carbon buildings using active energy principles – and aligns with a key Catapult focus in driving innovation to decarbonise energy systems across homes, buildings and sites.
“Energy Systems Catapult exists to accelerate innovation and transform the UK energy system towards Net Zero,” said Energy Systems Catapult CEO, Guy Newey. “Perhaps the hardest challenge we face is how to decarbonise buildings, so we are excited to bring expertise, insights and experience from the Active Building Centre into the Catapult fold – boosting our efforts to drive world-leading Net Zero innovation across buildings and sites.”
Key areas of focus over the next few years will include building on the ‘ABC Blueprint’ – a guide to achieving net zero in the built environment – particularly around applying active energy approaches in non-domestic buildings and sites; and supporting innovators to develop, test, and launch interoperable zero carbon energy solutions for both new and retrofitted homes.
“There is a real need to better link the buildings and energy sectors around innovation. The ABC team has built up great experience embedding active energy systems in buildings in real world projects over the past four years,” said ABC CEO, Dan Cook.
“Siting this expertise within Energy Systems Catapult for the future with its strength on data, modelling and working with energy network providers and innovators will help accelerate innovation and the delivery of cleaner, cheaper and greener buildings.”
The ABC Berkeley site will be retained by SGS College in Gloucestershire to support the green skills agenda, as part of a new Renewable Energy and Retrofit Training Centre at the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park. This helps fill the gap highlighted by ABC, the Catapult and others, around skills and knowledge shortages hindering Net Zero efforts.
“SGS will utilise the three demonstrator buildings, renewable energy and low carbon technologies on the current site, as part of their enhanced educational offer around green technologies and skills,” said Kevin Hamblin, group chief executive of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College.
“This will help to carry forward the part of ABC’s mission around skills and the supply chain. The new training centre, called Eco-Futures will deliver training capacity for the essential skills and knowledge needed to meet not only local carbon reduction targets but the wider role in delivering regional and national solutions to the climate crisis.”