‘The Autonomous Office’ project aims to construct a green, energy-autonomous office building that is able to operate without connecting to the electricity grid. It aims to integrate principles of bioclimatic design and renewable energy technologies to minimize the environmental footprint of the construction and its users. It thus hopes to provide a sustainable model in terms of energy demand and its contribution in reducing CO2 emissions.

The project will develop a bioclimatic design for the building to take advantage of natural lighting and reduce temperature differentials, thus reducing energy demand in the building. It will also integrate highly efficient energy equipments and control units to satisfy the building’s needs for hot water, heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and so on. The environmental design proposal will be tested by computer software to guarantee that the most efficient design and environmental strategy is selected. The project will integrate a variety of renewable energy technologies – photovoltaic; small wind turbine; biomass boiler; and Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell (energy storage system) – into the design of the building to produce energy for use onsite and minimize the carbon footprint.

The project will then build the office building and test it for energy efficiency and water consumption. It hopes to show that it is possible to construct an office building that is able to produce the energy it needs in a sustainable way. It will also work to study how these strategies might be implemented more widely in the near future, disseminating results amongst stakeholders of the building and construction industry.