Sustainable building is one area where innovation is constantly being challenged. At present the hardest goal is transforming the current situation where the construction sector has high fossil fuel consumption, is one of the largest producer of non-reusable waste and one of the biggest polluter. In fact, the environmental impact of building design and construction is enormous: in Europe buildings are responsible, directly or indirectly, for approximately 40% of total primary energy consumption and for around 36% of CO2 total emissions. The European Union is imposing increasingly stringent obligations on member countries in terms of energy efficiency and reduction of climate-altering emissions.
The urgent need for sustainable buildings calls for the adoption of active building façades that harvest wind and solar energy through on-site wind power generators and solar panels. Particularly interesting is the use of tensegrity structures for the construction of renewable energy supplies, due to their easy integration with solar and acoustical panels, which can form special rigid members of the structure. NEWMATT designs and develops active façades based on tensegrity units, which supports shading devices and/or solar panels. The tensegrity units are foldable and deployable and are controlled by stretching or relaxing selected cables. Wind generators to convert the strain energy stored in the cables of wind-excited units into electrical power are also designed. NEWMATT structures offer portable applications for small spans and are easy to assemble using prefabricated component parts in the case of large spans.
Design of a “blinking sail” solar façade seving a building in the campus of the University of Salerno: fully-closed configuration.
Blinking sail solar façade: partially-open configuration.