Several regulations and standards have been developed to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, but these have failed to provide a clear pathway to a net zero future. Hence, we recently introduced the Active Building Code (ABCode). This provides guidance on reducing the environmental impact of the next generation of buildings, termed Active Buildings (ABs), through their synergy with the grid. This paper aims to illuminate the regulatory landscape, justify our initial proposal for the ABCode, and reveal opportunities and challenges to the popularisation of ABs. Twelve online focus group discussions were conducted, with thirty stakeholders in total, all selected on the basis of their expertise. A grounded theory approach identified five core themes in such discussions. These strongly overlap with what is incorporated in the ABCode, suggesting the code successfully captures issues important to experts. Stakeholders defined ABs as responsive buildings and proposed both energy and carbon are considered in their assessment. They hence aligned with the definition and evaluation framework proposed by the ABCode. Finally, stakeholders considered people’s tendency to prioritise capital cost as the greatest challenge to the popularisation of ABs, and the increasing demand for healthy environments as its greatest opportunity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5706
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2022


  • active buildings
  • decarbonisation
  • focus groups
  • grounded theory
  • stakeholder engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Fuel Technology
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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