These Rotating Homes Produce Five Times The Energy They Use
They stalk the sun like sunflowers.
Young sunflowers have their own circadian rhythm. At dawn, they face east and slowly turn their blooms west, following the sun’s movement. Through the night, the flowers move back east to start the sun-tracking cycle again. Plants rely on daily rhythms of day and night just as humans do — and now, so do houses.
Portuguese company Casas em Movimento designed rotating solar-powered homes that track the sun. Inspired by sunflowers, the homes’ architecture integrates innovation and sustainability while also adapting to the owner’s needs. The house is pre-programmed to follow the sun, resulting in a dramatic increase in energy generation.
The structures can rotate 180° and the photovoltaic (a material that converts light to electricity, like solar panels) roofing hood can swivel 90°. The building and cover can move on their own, or simultaneously. The combined rotation is capable of producing 25,000 kWh/year of electricity — that’s five times as much as a comparably-sized house needs to run. To rotate, the house requires electricity equivalent to only six 60-watt light bulbs running for an hour.
With a customized living experience, users can choose their view any time of day. In winter, the roof can turn into the sun; in summer, it can cast shadows, amounting to an 80% decrease in cooling costs. And, since this is a smart house, you can control the house’s movements via smartphone.
But wait — if you’re in a house that suddenly rotates, won’t you be thrown off balance or literally thrown across the room? Not quite. Users control the speed, but rotations typically last 12 minutes so people won’t crash inside. The interior design will need to be versatile, because the home’s layout shifts with rotations.
MIT advised Casas em Movimento to target a high-end market, and prices are slated to run over 6,000 euros per square meter. The company’s goal is to optimize the technology and processes so the homes will eventually be as accessible as conventional buildings.
Take a close look — these structures might be not just the houses of our future, but the retirement homes, golf clubs and gas stations, too.