Machine Design
Lumenhaus solar powered house M.Cincala

Motion controls find a home in energy-optimizing smart house

Lumenhaus smart house energy sustainable

Motion control equipment automates retractable shades inside a prize-winning sustainable smart house built by Virginia Tech University. The project is called Lumenhaus, an 800 sq. ft. solar powered home that features a linear motion control system from Thomson Industries (Wood Dale, Ill.), and servo motors by Kollmorgen Corp (Radford, Va.).

Lumenhaus is designed for energy efficiency through what its designers call responsive architecture. For example, when the outdoors heats up or cools off, the house opens or closes its insulation screen. The insulation panel and sun shade each weigh 1,000 lbs. and hang on Thompson’s RapidTrak linear motion belt drive. Kollmorgen’s AKM servo motors moves the belt drive, which in turn raises or lowers the shades. The Kollmorgen S200 servo drives are automated and are manually operated by an iPhone or iPad.

The house also contains its own weather station. A built-in computer uses weather information and data from interior sensors to manage the home’s energy consumption. Watch the video below for a demonstration. 

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