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Oct 1, 2012 - Building

Efficient from Beginning to End

In industrialized and developing countries, the need for energy continues to be high, and is still significantly above the limits of sustainability. The environment and climate are being damaged in many ways. Here the conscious handling of natural resources makes sense for many companies not just from an ecological point of view, but also from an economic one. For he who reduces consumption saves a lot of money, whether in the short or long term. In industry as in building technology, however, this only works with modern automation.

Necessary reforms: the 2020 goals of the European Union are formulated so that they are both ambitious and detailed. They begin with the improvement of employment figures, end with the combating of poverty and social discrimination and also do not exclude the areas of research, development, and education. Also right at the top of the agenda: climate change and energy.

Basic environmental policy conditions

The economic program designed to span ten years has had a significant influence on basic environmental policy conditions in Europe. The core goals of this EU2020 subarea are the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 20% as compared to 1990; the increasing of the share of renewable energies to 20%; and the increasing of energy efficiency by 20%. These goals should be achieved especially through an uncoupling of economic growth from the consumption of natural resources, the increased promotion of renewable energies, the modernization of the transport sector, and the promotion of energy efficiency.

In building technology, we have been on the path towards sustainability for a long while already. Meanwhile, private and commercial construction managers are relying on “green buildings.” Green buildings distinguish themselves – across the entire lifespan of the building – by heeding maximum efficiency: in the use of energy and water, as well as for the selection of building materials and the handling of waste. In order to be able to demonstrate as positive a CO2 balance as possible at the end of a year, the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources is a central component of sustainable building planning.

Certification programs

Most countries have already developed their own certification processes for how and when a building becomes a “green building.” Among the most important are the Australian “Green Star,” the German DGNB, the French HQE, BREEAM in Great Britain, as well as LEED and “Green Globes” in the USA. Each of these systems poses comparable requirements for ecology, economy, social and functional aspects, technology, processes, and location. In addition, they all place increased value on a holistic view of the property, for building certification does not just begin after completion of the construction project. Rather, certification offices are incorporated even during the planning phase and they help define the goals to be striven for, for example platinum or gold certification. If in the course of project development or in later operation it emerges that these goals are not achieved, then by no means is there a downgrading, for example to silver or bronze. In such a case, the entire certification would count as failed.

From Europe to other countries

In many new construction projects, certification processes have long since become obligatory. On the one hand, they document that all environmental-specific aspects are adhered to. On the other hand, proof of certification with a good grade can be a benefit: as a means of accessing cost-effective financing, for stability and increase of value, as a differentiating characteristic, and thus not least as the basis for the better marketing of the property.

And Europe has not just been concerned with the energy efficiency of buildings since the definition of the EU2020 goals. The “Energy Performance of Buildings Directive EPBD (2002/91/EU)” was passed in November 2002; it forms the basis for the elaboration of DIN EN 15232 “Energy Efficiency of Buildings – Influence of Building Automation and Building Management.” Today, this European standard is the fundamental document for the implementation of the Brussels Accord – and therefore it is also required reading for WAGO when it comes to the development and enhancement of its building components.

Efficiency all down the line

Against the background provided by DIN EN 15232, a German institute put the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 including its libraries and application notes under the microscope in August 2012. The result of the independent investigation was clear: the requirements for the measures required to achieve energy efficiency class A are largely fulfilled. This is due primarily to the fieldbus-independent and modular hardware. Furthermore, the ability to custom program allows the flexible creation of applications to suit all project requirements. The pre-configured function blocks simplify programming and form the framework for “DIN EN 15232”-compliant building automation.

Due to its fieldbus independence, the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 provides many opportunities, especially in the planning phase. Together with the many other products from WAGO’s portfolio, it is possible to create continuous solutions for building technology that are efficient all down the line. With the WINSTA® connector system, for example, installation is speeded up significantly, simplified, and the accumulation of waste on the construction site is reduced. This pluggable connection technology together with the pre-assembled automation products, installed in a distribution box, are “ready to use” and allow start-up entirely without programming effort. Solely through the parameterization of the Web-based configuration tool, first time use is just as easy as later operation with its space usage changes.

With these technical prerequisites stemming from the cooperation with WAGO, general contractors, planners, and investors are in a position to implement each project phase of a construction project efficiently.

Text: Karl-Heinz Sanders and Achim Fecke, WAGO
Photo: WAGO

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