Home of the Future
Home of the Future
Project Lead: inHouse Soluções Inteligentes em Automação (inHouse Intelligent Automation Solutions)
Brief: To turn a fifty-year-old building into a ‘home of the future’
Site Area/Gross Floor Area: 350 m2 / 521 m2
Location: São Paulo – Brazil
Status: In Progress
Estimated Duration: 14 months
On Creating the House of the Future
The goal for this project, first and foremost, is futurism. This is where inHouse Soluções Inteligentes em Automação have established themselves as regional experts, specializing in a decidedly niche, but ever-growing, segment of the construction landscape. After all, as technology becomes further integrated into the home, there will always be a demand for custom-created solutions that are catered entirely to the individual who calls the space ‘home’.
For Juliana Fonseca and Matheus Oliveira, both Engineers and Partners at inHouse, this project represents a meaningful step forward for the business as a whole: what was initially a rather simple garage door automation project turned in to a ‘whole-house’ retrofit “as the clients trusted us enough to manage the entire construction as if the home was our own.” From there, as Juliana explains, the project became a different beast entirely, defined by diligent considerations and comprehensive planning. “This project alone had a 6-month planning phase, so that every element was carefully analyzed to maximize efficiency and efficacy and minimize risks. This was crucial since the clients would still be living in the house during the entire construction period.
“One of the most demanding aspects of this project was the building’s age, which complicated matters significantly. As the house is around fifty years old, there were no previous records to showing the internal structures and the piping, plus the walls are comprised of almost a foot of solid brickwork. From the very beginning we knew this project represented some difficulty, so we estimated a duration of 14 months to rebuild the entire electrical system with structured piping and to make the whole house automated.”
This automation system is extensive and will eventually control everything from the lighting, the HVAC, the blinds and shades, the audio/visual equipment, and the originally planned garage door alongside sensors for the water level in the water tanks. On top of that, as Matheus adds, the plan is for this network to also integrate a security system as well. No small task, but it is one that the team at inHouse are more than prepared to finish on time and to the client’s specifications.
“The entire automation system will be controlled via smartphone and with voice control as well. The network infrastructure is going to be revamped with new equipment to provide a solid Wi-Fi coverage.”
However, the focus isn’t purely on automation alone, but rather to reinvigorate the entire property to become truly future-proof – specifically, to be entirely ‘green’. Sustainable design and builds have moved beyond being a transient trend and have become a veritable tour de force on the construction landscape, as long-term industry stalwarts adapt to a growing need for eco-friendly alternatives.
For this project, the focus will be on sufficiency: “We will install a solar cell system to provide electrical energy. This energy will be stored in batteries so that the house can be self-sufficient, even at night. In addition, the excess energy will be returned to the power grid with the end-goal to reach a near ‘zero’ energy bill.”
But the ecological considerations don’t end there, as Juliana continues. “The solar cell system will also provide energy to heat the water, so that the consumption of natural gas is reduced. There will also be a rain collection system, and – although electric cars are not very common in Brazil – the house will already be equipped with a battery recharging system.”
Reinvigoration and Revitalisation
True reinvigoration in the construction space requires a holistic mindset. It is often not enough to strip the building to its bare bones and build up from there and, for this project in particular, a rather more aggressive approach was needed, as the partners explain. “Most of the furniture is going to be replaced by custom-made pieces, which will completely change the layout of the room. The wood floors will be revitalised. The lighting design will be upgraded with all new LED fixtures – some of those will be custom made. A couple of the windows are going to be replaced to provide better noise cancelling. The entire floor of the external area will be replaced while applying protection against water infiltration. The roof tiles will be completely replaced by new ones and, finally, the entire house will be repainted.”
But, for now, work continues on, as Matheus concludes in his final comments. “Right now, we are almost five months into the project – with an estimate duration of 14 months- and things are looking great. We’ve already installed 70% of the electrical infrastructure and the second floor is already automated. We are excited to continue and to see everything we planned turned into reality. And most importantly, making sure that the clients are happy in the end.”