Published on : Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Although politicians are currently trying to slow down the rate of growth, the effective option of cost cutting, i.e., reducing energy consumption, is all too frequently not the subject of public debate. Indeed, there is a great potential for cutting costs through the use of modern automation systems, especially in existing buildings.
Besides fitting highly energy-efficient pieces of equipment and components, such as heat pumps or energy-saving illuminants, it is also possible to increase the energy efficiency of buildings as a whole. Of particular interest in the field of building-services equipment are electrical applications, such as energy technology, lighting and mechanical elements, such as heating, air-conditioning and ventilation.
The use of intelligent building-services technology to control various systems in accordance with the time of day and level of demand can lead to enormous energy savings. For example, an intelligent regulator can ensure that a room is only heated if it is actually being used or that the lighting is switched off when nobody is there. Information technology forms the basis and, in many cases, the technical wherewithal of intelligent building-services technology and is the standard method for linking a variety of devices in a simple network. As in the field of industrial automation technology, numerous different bus systems and communication standards have been developed over the years for building automation.
Building automation can only be called ‘smart’ if all systems are able to communicate with each other. Only then can the automatic systems of the various disciplines be coordinated with each other and thus increase the overall energy efficiency of the entire building.
Building automation has the potential to be even more important if the electricity system is suitable for connection to a ‘smart grid’. Then, electric consumers, such as the heat pump or charging station for company e-automobiles, can be switched on and off to ensure power is only consumed when it is least expensive. There is still a lot of development work to be done with regard to communication between intelligent networks and intelligent buildings. However, ideas for solving this problem can be seen at Light+Building 2014, Trade Fair for Architecture and Technology, in Frankfurt am Main from March 30- April 4, 2014.