Welsh Government
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EU boost to help study how buildings could be transformed to provide renewable energy

EU boost to help study how buildings could be transformed to provide renewable energy

A £3m EU-backed pilot project to test how solar energy technologies can be integrated into the fabric of buildings to make them more energy efficient has been launched by Finance Minister Jane Hutt.

Led by Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Architecture and in partnership with Tata Steel, the Sustainable Building Envelope Demonstration (SBED) project aims to explore how the role of the building facade could be transformed to incorporate systems which can generate, store and distribute renewable energy.

The launch, which takes place during EU Sustainable Energy Week (24-28 June), will highlight how SBED will design, model, test, prototype and monitor low carbon building systems in eight properties across Wales. The types of buildings to be included in the pilot are residential, commercial, industrial and institutional such as schools.

The project is backed with £1.8m from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

Finance Minister Jane Hutt said:  

“It is vital that we invest EU funds to help us meet the goals of the EU as well as our own ambitions - putting sustainable development at the heart of government. Projects like SBED support growth in the low carbon economy and encourage innovation, which, in turn, help create jobs and build a strong economy.”

SBED will closely monitor the construction, implementation and real-life performance of the demonstration systems, disseminating best practice to the wider industry. Information gathered during the project will enable the economic viability and cost effectiveness of the technologies to be assessed for the different building types.

Phil Jones, SBED project director, Cardiff University, said:

“Renewable energy technologies for generating both thermal and electrical energy can be fully integrated as part of the external construction, of a building, providing a more cost effective and aesthetically pleasing solution, compared to the usual 'bolt on ' approach. This project aims to 'kick-start' Welsh industry to manufacture, install and maintain energy generating building envelopes, by demonstrating their application to a range of building types throughout Wales, for a cost effective innovative contribution to achieving low carbon buildings.”

The project has also received funding support from Tata Steel, and Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.

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