Did you ever imagine a building that rotates around the Sun like a Sunflower? A building that produces enough energy to be self-sufficient, and surpluses that can be used to power electric vehicles? This building is the Casa Em Movimento Matosinhos (House In Motion).
Based on nature (deciduous trees and sunflowers), Buildings In Motion allow different views, different organization and maximum energy production through the day.
At Casas Em Movimento we design, build and deliver Buildings In Motion (BIMs) which rotate to follow the sun, but which can also be controlled by smartphones, allowing different spatial organizations and views throughout the day, while producing more clean energy (solar) than they consume (the surplus clean energy can be used to power electric vehicles).
Casas Em Movimento’s technology is patented in more than 77 countries, and it is unique in how it integrates different concepts (the rotation of the buildings, the tilting of the photovoltaic covers, and the software (with AI)).
We develop both the hardware (the buildings) and software (including AI that allows the building to maximize the production of clean energy, the energy consumption, and also, to adapt its behaviors to the inhabitants’ routines).
In a world where energy demands are still growing, we aim to provide buildings that produce energy for themselves and their associated needs (e.g.: homes/stores that can also supply electric vehicles; Resorts/restaurants that can be self-sufficient; etc.).
Our buildings are intrinsically connected to Nature, following the sun from sunrise to sunset, just like sunflowers, and incorporating sustainable materials such as cork.
We strive for beauty by carefully designing our products, and by looking for new approaches. For example, we can integrate the Photovoltaic Panels in the walls of the building itself, and not on top of them, so that they can work as “a skin that protects and nourishes the building”.
We strongly believe in the New European Bauhaus movement, and we would like to take this opportunity to connect with more people who think like us, who can provide feedback, and potentially who can partner with us. This prize would be of great importance for us to reach new destinations.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context
Like a Sunflower, the Building In Motion rotates to follow the sun, from east to west.
And like the deciduous tree, whose crown changes with the seasons, Casa Em Movimento also adapts to seasonality, through the movement of the photovoltaic cover, which exposes the windows during the winter, and which protects them, creating shadows during the summer.
At the same time, different views are allowed throughout the day, and different spatial organizations.
According to LNEG (National Laboratory for Energy and Geology), the movements of the Building in Motion allow a reduction in energy needs for air conditioning of the space, of 60% to 80%, plus a 100% gain of natural lighting (as it is possible to keep the windows directed towards sunlight during the whole daytime).
According to data from INEGI (Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering), the energy consumed by the rotation of the building is equivalent to 6 lamps of 60 watts each, turned on for 1 hour. The rotating movement of the photovoltaic cover consumes as much as an iron.
The Smart Store In Motion produces 21.665KWh/year, with energy surpluses enough to power 158 154 km in electric vehicles.
The Building In Motion also allows a reduction in CO2 emissions of 18 tons/year.
Additionally, our Buildings In Motion are designed so that they can be disassembled from one place and rebuilt in another, without leaving any ecological footprint.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context
“My search continues around a living architecture, with an integrated plastic composition and a strong spatial diversity, which adapts to the routines of those who inhabit it, to the surroundings and to the climate.” Manuel Vieira Lopes, inventor and CEO at Casas Em Movimento.
At Casas Em Movimento, we aim to create buildings that are modern and innovative, while at the same time allowing different architectural approaches, from high-tech to more traditional configurations.
The Store In Motion tries to combine both approaches: a box made of glass and recycled steel, combined with wood and cork.
Cork is material we frequently propose, as it is a renewable raw material, and as it stands out in terms of its thermal and acoustic insulation capabilities and for its aesthetics. Cork is also a highly resistant material, in terms of its ability to retain the aforementioned insulation properties – over 40 years.
Double glazing, with thermal control, was also used to help stabilize the temperature inside.
The movement also behaves as part of the buildings’ aesthetics themselves, by allowing different spatial configurations and different views through the day.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context
We design our buildings for different market segments, but it is our aim to make our technology available to as many people as possible.
The Store In Motion is an example on how we can use our technology in terms of inclusion: placed in a central space of the city of Matosinhos, the Store In Motion functions as a HUB for electric vehicles. With 5 EV charging points associated to it, users can power their electric vehicles with clean energy (some of it provided by the Building In Motion), while using the interior of the store in motion as a “lounge”, where they can rest or work in the meantime.
Simultaneously, the space serves a store for Iberdrola itself.
On the outside, an LED screen conveys relevant information to the population, some of this information being provided by the municipality.
The Building In Motion is also part of the Living Lab Matosinhos, a project that involves the municipality and other partners such as CEiiA, responsible for the AYR Credits system.
We also accept visits from schools and other organizations, during which we present our technology, and in which we talk about the importance of innovation to find new solutions for the challenges ahead.
It is hoped that with the implementation of this project, citizens will have a greater understanding of the importance of technological innovation and environmental sustainability in the dynamization and development of local communities. A catalyst for the behavioral change of the inhabitants of these communities.
As for us as a company, we aim to bring this technology to the market in many different market segments, from Smart Cities to Tourism and Housing.
With our workflow of optimizations, we hope the costs down, considerably.
We are also interested in working with different companies and people, in different fields such as engineering and architecture.
Please highlight how this approach can be exemplary
Sustainability, aesthetics and inclusion were part of this project since its conception. Sustainability as an obligatory step when thinking about the living of the future. Science has taught us that the world has limited resources and that everything that we consume/produce has consequences on the environment. For this reason, it was clear for us that we had to build something designed to be:
- Self-sufficient buildings that produce enough energy for themselves;
- Energy-positive, as mobility will be electric (so it is important to create buildings that could not only power themselves but also the means of transport of those who inhabit them);
- Reusable, so we designed buildings that can be removed from their original location and then be rebuilt somewhere else;
We also believe in the power of aesthetics. Aesthetics are not just a nice to have. We believe that beauty - and in this context, the beauty of architecture - also has an influence on our life, on our well-being and on how we live our buildings and our cities. For this reason, since the conception of our project it was important for us to build something that was sustainable but also beautiful. Some key aspects that we would like to highlight are:
- the usage of photovoltaic panels not as appendices to the building but as a skin that covers and nourishes the building itself;
- the movement of the building which allows different views and different spatial organizations through the day;
- and the choice of materials as we look for materials that combine these characteristics as much as possible;
Inclusion is also essential for any technology. It doesn't matter how good the technology or product is if no one can use it, so we carefully think of inclusion in different ways:
- by creating buildings for public use or semipublic use as the Smart Story In Motion;
- and by optimizing our technology to provide lower cost solutions which can be acquired by as many people as possible;
What is our relation to nature?
Enclosed in urban spaces, if it was not for the few sparse trees, we could very easily forget it.
But even in the absence of trees or even in the absence of those beautiful little birds who sing spring to us, there is always a very visible element of nature in our days – the Sun.
Before window shutters and alarm clocks, the sun used to make our wake-up call. Before artificial lights, the sun would tell us when to rest.
With our project, in particular speaking about the smart store in motion, we recall people about the importance of the sun and the importance of nature.
Our relation to nature is not only highlighted by the movement towards the Sun, but also by applying natural materials such as cork.
Please also explain the benefits that derived from their involvement.
Given our aim to create a Building In Motion to be implanted on a public space, and its semi-public use, we consulted various entities to gather feedback relevant to our design process.
We also integrated the Living Lab Matosinhos – a program that involves various organizations from both the private and public sector, with the focus on designing new solutions for the Smart Cities.
Additionally, we receive frequent visits from students, from various schools and age levels, during which we promote the importance of innovation to find new solutions for the challenges ahead.
Not everything is perfect though, and we are now using our new insights to improve on our future solutions, mainly in terms of accesses to people with lower mobility, and cost optimizations.
It is our aim to provide our technology in Europe and around the world, and to cooperate with professionals (architects, engineers) from different cultures and countries.
Even though the project we are presenting is a local solution, it is our aim to make it a global solution.
Here are some of the challenges that we addressed in this local solution:
- Electric mobility: more than ever it is important to create infrastructure for electric mobility. The Smart Store In Motion functions as a hub for electric vehicles, a space where users can charge their EVs, while working or resting;
- Self-sufficiency: the use of photovoltaic arrays along with the movements, allows for the construction of self-sufficient buildings. The Smart Store In Motion is still connected to the electric grid (which is currently the best solution, as otherwise we would need energy storage systems), but it could be off grid. In fact, off grid solutions can be quite useful for example in segments such as tourism (resorts);
- Cradle to cradle: even though it is a local solution, the “local” can change through its lifecycle (given that the building can be removed and rebuilt somewhere else);
- Construction: based on principles of modular construction, the Smart Store In Motion was built in a factory environment. This allowed the construction in loco to be much faster, as everything was already produced and just needed to be assembled. This provides ample advantages in an urban environment;
What if buildings moved to follow the Sun? What if they moved to create different spatial organizations through the day?
Casas Em Movimento is not the first company to design a rotating building, but we have a unique approach, and we aim to make this technology available for as many people as possible.
Not only the buildings in motion rotate to follow the sun, but they can also tilt their photovoltaic cover. The combination of these two movements is indeed unique.
The rotation movement itself is also unique in how it enables the creation of dynamic spaces. In a house it is possible to have a 10 square meter kitchen in the morning, which at the end of the day joins the living room, creating a common area of 40 square meters so that the whole family can be together.
Casas Em Movimento’ goal, since its beginning, has been to design, build and deliver the buildings of the future. We provide buildings that are turnkey, and everything can be controlled with a single APP, from the rotation, to domotics (lights, temperature, …).
Our buildings can have more than one floor, with the lower floors being made of conventional materials, and the upper floor rotating and producing energy for the whole building.
Currently, we are also working on a system of artificial intelligence, which will allow the building to automatically position itself in order to have the best results in terms of efficiency between energy production and energy consumption for acclimatization.
Please provide clear documentation, communication of methodology and principles in this context.
After a long process of research and development, we were not only able to develop and demonstrate our technology but also to patent it in 77 countries.
Now we want to expand this technology for a global scale but we do not expect to do it alone.
We expect to work with entities / people who think like us, and who aspire to join us in this journey to build the future.
Such cooperation can happen in many ways. Through projects involving different partners such as the Living Lab project in Matosinhos, or through projects involving just a single partner.
In commercial projects we can opt for different business models. We can establish contracts with resellers, but we can also license the use of the technology. Right now, this is our focus.
In practical terms, there are two forms of cooperation which we now see as the most relevant:
- Commercial partnerships through technology licensing;
- Research and Development projects, through mechanisms such as the call (which is now closed) “New European Bauhaus lighthouse demonstrators”.
@Casas Em Movimento, 2021
Content licensed to the European Union.