The South West Energy Centre

The South West Energy Centre at South Devon College is a state-of-the-art renewable energy training facility and test-bed for emerging technologies.

The BREEAM Excellent building not only demonstrates exemplar sustainable credentials in its design and construction, it also incorporates a 3-bed demonstration Passivhaus on site for teaching and research, unique in any UK college.


South Devon College, Paignton


South Devon College


Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape




Construction £4.5m


Main building 1800 sq m


Main building BREEAM Excellent. Fully certified Passivhaus


August 2013


Green Apple Award 2015
Michelmores Property Awards Building of the Year 2014 & Eco Project of the Year 2014
Sustainable Cities Award 2014
Building of the Year Devon & Cornwall Building Forum Awards 2013

The 1800 sq m centre includes a large construction hall, display area, classrooms, innovation and incubation facilities and cafe, along with large plant room, which is deliberately oversized for teaching. A sedum roof, solar wall, PV array and host of sustainable technologies have been incorporated along with a Schneider Electric Building Energy Management System (BEMS), which allows real time data to be collected and accessed on screens around the centre and used to demonstrate the environmental performance of the unique building.

SW Energy Centre South Devon College 5

The two-storey, detached Passivhaus – designed by LHC and sponsored by Kier Living – replicates a standard commercial property set within its own plot. To reflect the move towards ‘Fabric First’ design and to ensure that the house achieves the 2016 zero carbon goal for residential buildings, it is built and certified to the Passivhaus standard.

SW Energy Centre South Devon College 6 Passivhaus


“SWEC was a unique building in the way it integrated a whole range of different users into a single building in order to promote research and learning around how we transition to a low carbon future.  What was unique was the way in which the local community, the building industry, researchers, new businesses and students could all use with the facility and interact with one another in the building.  The way in which it is designed strongly reinforced this idea of collaboration which was also evidenced in the way in which the project was developed, constructed and is now operated.  It is a unique facility and one we should be proud to have available to us in the South West.”

 Simon Bradbury, Judge, Devon & Cornwall Building Forum Awards 2013








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