A unique £3 million project to test how building façades could be developed to generate clean electricity has been announced by the Welsh Government in partnership with Cardiff University. The University’s Sustainable Building Envelope Demonstration (SBED) study aims to explore how building façades can be harnessed to incorporate systems which can generate, store and distribute renewable energy.

The scheme has been backed with £1.8 million from the European Regional Development Fund and is intended to help the advancement of products that not only reduce buildings’ energy requirements, but also generate renewable energy by harnessing solar technology.

Launching the scheme, Alun Davies, Deputy Minister for European Programmes, explained that the SBED project is an excellent example of how EU funding can be invested to support Welsh Government goals, adding: “SBED will not only support our low carbon agenda to strengthen the green economy, but also create opportunities for the construction industry.”

The University will closely monitor the construction, implementation and performance of the systems, recording pertinent data and sharing best practice with industry.

Phil Jones, Chair of the Low Carbon Research Institute, Cardiff University, said: “The potential for using the envelope of the building to collect solar energy is huge. SBED will develop and demonstrate an integrated approach to building scale renewable energy generation, rather than have it as a bolt-on.

“This project aims to kick start the industry for the provision, installation and maintenance of these systems by showing, through working examples, how the technologies can be integrated into various building types in Wales.”