In most industrialized countries, the buildings sector is the largest contributor to energy consumption and associated carbon emissions. These emissions can be reduced by a combination of energy efficiency and the use of building integrated renewables. Additionally, either singularly or as a group, buildings can provide energy network services by timing their use and production of energy. Such grid-aware or grid-responsive buildings have been termed Active Buildings. The recent UK Government investment of £36m in the Active Building Centre is a demonstration that such buildings are of considerable interest. One problem with the concept, however, is that there is no clear definition of Active Buildings, nor a building code to design or research against. Here we develop and test an initial novel code, called ABCode1. It is based on the need to encourage: (i) the minimisation of energy consumption; (ii) building-integrated generation; (iii) the provision of grid services; and (iv) the minimisation of embodied carbon. For grid services, we find that a lack of a precise, quantifiable measure, or definition, of such services means that for the time being, theoretical hours of autonomy of the building is the most reasonable proxy for these services within such a code.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-155
JournalBuilding Services Engineering Research and Technology
Issue number2
Early online date7 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Active Buildings
  • grid-responsive buildings
  • defornocere
  • design standards
  • ABCode1


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards Active Buildings: rating grid-servicing buildings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this