Building 'tomorrow's classroom today' at Swansea University

The Active Classroom building will generate its own electricity and heat, and is insulated with a "living wall".

6th September 2016

The Active Classroom building will generate its own electricity and heat, and is insulated with a "living wall".

It brings together a number of existing technologies for the first time in one unit, according to the university's SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre.

The project is being launched as part of the British Science Festival, held this week at Swansea University.

A frame developed in conjunction with steelmaker Tata draws solar-heated air through tiny perforations for heating and warm water, whilst computers regulate the output according to weather forecasts and the number of people in the classroom. 

And saltwater batteries and solar panels laminated directly on to the roof will power an electrically heated floor coating. 

School children from Ysgol Glan y Mor in Burry Port will be gathering seeds and planting them in the "living wall" which, as well as providing insulation, promotes biodiversity.

Architect Jo Morgan said: "The SPECIFIC project is about taking technology from the lab, and finding ways of integrating it into practical applications.

"Some of the technology is new - such as the solar panels imbedded in the steel cladding - but much of our work is finding new ways to persuade industry to better-use existing technology.

"But as well as a proof of concept, the classroom has enormous potential in its own right.

"It would be ideal for use in developing countries as it's easy to transport and assemble and can be self-sufficient for all its energy requirements."