Virginia Tech University’s Lumenhaus, an 800 square foot energy-optimized and sustainable “smart” home that was the first place winner of the 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe, is slated to be featured on the September 20, 2013, episode of HGTV’s Extreme Homes television show. Lumenhaus leverages an active system of motion controls from Thomson and Kollmorgen to minimize the overall HVAC load on the house.
Lumenhaus epitomizes a “whole building design” construction approach, in which all the home’s components and systems have been designed and built to work together to maximize user comfort with environmental protection. The Lumenhaus design maintains optimal energy performance at all times.
The house has its own weather station with a ‘passive/active’ environmental control system to minimize energy consumption and maximize efficiency. In short, the weather station communicates with the control system, which in turns tells the Thomson and Kollmorgen motion system whether to open or close the house. When the house needs insulation, insulation screens close; when the house needs shading or privacy, shading screens close, all without blocking natural ventilation.
Lumenhaus’ layered systems consist of a series of motorized shade screens and insulation panels that adjust to the changing weather patterns. The screens and panels can weigh up to 1000 lbs. each, and coupled with potentially highly dynamic loads from exposure to changing environmental elements, the tools that move them need to be extremely robust. The shade screen assemblies ride on Thomson 60 Case® low profile round rail assemblies with Super Smart Ball Bushing® bearings, and are run by Thomson RapidTrak belt-driven Linear Motion Systems powered by Kollmorgen AKM™ Servomotors. The insulation panels and shade screens serve as the “clam shell” that protect the house against the elements, and which are hung and moved by RapidTrak systems with Kollmorgen AKM servo motors. The house also uses Thomson PPA PowerPac Actuators as part of a photovoltaic array that tracks and generates power from the sun, and that automatically adjusts to accommodate for changes to the angle of the sun on a seasonal basis.