Title of the practice UTOPIA PROJECT - PLAKO COMPANY BUILDING
Plako is a company dedicated to the development of software solutions based on the Internet infrastructure.
Plako's mission is to develop solutions and services based on Internet infrastructure, introducing innovation in information technologies, improving production processes and simplifying any issue that the use of technology may imply.
In 2010, Plako moved from Braga to Póvoa de Lanhoso to a business incubator in a counter-cycle logic of departure from the urban center.
One year later, the company bought approximately one hectare of land, in this same location (Póvoa de Lanhoso) in order to develop the UTOPIA project. The idea is to refurbish an old school no longer at use - what in itself constitutes an excellent example of reutilization of spaces and coexistence with nature,
In the form of a unique concept in Portugal - which seeks to associate new technologies with the preservation of the environment and to prove that they can contribute actively to the reduction of the ecological footprint on the planet - the UTOPIA project consists, in material terms, in a total investment of around 230.000,00 € in a building of 250 m2.
Inspired by the 'earthship' concept, the building will be built with used tires (option that means a reduction of about approximately 70% of carbon emissions and superior energy efficiency levels when comparing to traditional construction materials).
UTOPIA building is also suspended in pillars to reduce the soil sealing, surrounded by a studied collection of trees from traditional portuguese vegetation species (located in a way that allows the sunlight to pass through becoming warm in winter, and providing shade in the warmer months) and by a ‘kitchen garden’ able to satisfy the needs of the canteen. A careful respect for the nature and species contained within will be ensured.
Evidence of success (results achieved)
UTOPIA project intends to implement more measures such as reuse of rainwater, water heating from solar energy, microgeneration, recycling and domotics.
With the relocation of the company in a rural area, Plako has proved that it is possible to focus on decentralization, promoting better working conditions (outside the city center, away from pollution and stress) and seeking to have a positive impact on the rural areas
Plako's commitment is to continue to grow responsibly, taking into account the sustainability and gradual reduction of the ecological footprint.
Difficulties encountered/ lessons learned .
Licencing the project is a difficult, time consuming and long process (it took 2 years to have it licenced.)
The cost of the project could be the major difficulty for some companies, once building with such materials is even more expensive.
Potential for learning or transfer.
The transfer of this practice is especially interesting in rural areas. New technologies and new working models allow that high tech companies can operate in remote areas with no additional costs and no loss of income.
Plako is a technological company that takes advantage of their expertise in this area.
The project has the advantage of being easily transferable in any geography and taking advantage of the existence of old buildings no longer at use.
Further information http://utopia.plako.net/_edificio_utopia