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Smart Cities

Historically our buildings have been made up of lots of separate sub-systems all working in isolation. But a joined up building can be more energy efficient and more comfortable.

Background

When any building is being designed the separate systems are often thought of in isolation.

Let’s consider the HVAC, lighting and shading elements of a project and how keeping them separate can impact both energy efficiency and comfort.

Seperate Systems

A building can have a very good HVAC system, a superb lighting system and a great shading (blind) system but if they are all separate and do not consider each other they are not achieving full potential and the energy savings and comfort benefits can be reduced.

At the very least an oppourtunity to save install costs has been lost as all elements are wired seperately and probably all have their own wall mounted controllers adding to wall clutter and end user confusion.

Benefits of integrated rooms and buildings

If we then look at using a system where HVAC, lighting and shading are all joined via a single system we can easily achieve a number of benefits.

Firstly we can see install benefits. The electrical effort is reduce as the amount of cabling is reduced due to local devices being used by all sub-systems rather than just one. In addition the wall mounted interfaces are reduced to a single device simplifying the install but possibly more importantly simplifying the end user experience.

Then we can consider the operational benefits of a joined up system. If we have a presence detector in the space we can use this to decide how light or heating is required. This improves the value of the customer investment.

We can also use shading and HVAC interactions to either block out the sun on a hot day or use it as heating on a cold day. This can reduce the need to run heating or cooling equipment thus reducing the energy consumed by the building.

By considering the light levels, temperature, CO2 and solar impact as a single element we can ensure the space is a much more comfortable and energy efficient space.

Finally, (for this blog, other benefits exist!) we can interface and control all elements to a single building management system making maintenance simpler and easier and reducing the number of computers needed to operate and maintain the building.

Recommendations

When looking at building design and room design within a space lets start joining the dates and considering how each system is engineered to ensure we maximise energy efficiency and comfort.

Let’s move away from having seperate HVAC, lighting and shading systems.

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