Mar 1, 2014 - Building
A Structure That Follows The Demands Placed On It
Integrated collaboration between architects, structural engineers, and building automation engineers is essential for buildings with high demands on aesthetics, functionality, and energy efficiency. DIAL GmbH in Lüdenscheid united these multidisciplinary organizations in their concept, “Building-System-Design.” The new DIAL construction breathes life into the effectiveness of this collaboration in a practical example. The three-story service center building was acquired in 2013. Since that time, the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 has functioned as the central communication interface with integrated control technology for all building services and lighting. This allowed DIAL to select the systems best-suited for their respective tasks, without having to consider interfaces and communication protocols.
Economical, updatable, efficient: These were the three goals of the the DIAL project team in designing an office and training center that encompassed around 3500 square meters [37500 sq.ft] of space. In addition, it should “initially create a cozy environment for people,” explains Andreas Bossow, Co-CEO. Therefore, the building services as installed should serve the people who work there and their needs, instead of being an innovative end in itself. “During the ‘Building-System-Design’, we project Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a holistic approach to design, even for our own construction project.” The industrial engineer’s explanation refers to the 80-point questionnaire that DIAL uses to sample the habits and needs of a building’s residents. The questions are not designed to elicit what type of heating should be installed, but instead to clarify the heating needs of the family or company. “Do you like your house to be warm? Are you at home a lot? What are your habits and hobbies?” form the core of the assessment of need, according to Bossow.
With regard to all claims for forward-looking building design, the technology has to make sense in the commercial and private spheres. “In the past, the technology remained simple while the architecture became ever more complex. Now, the building services technology has become incredibly complex in turn,” states Andreas Bossow. This change has often led to the installation of too much technology, which is then often difficult to use. “Typical statements include: If I had known beforehand, I wouldn’t have installed such complicated technology. The usability is often catastrophically poor, and even then systems can be installed that are visually incompatible. Then both functionality and aesthetics are lacking.”
Whoever visits DIAL’s building in Lüdenscheid will look in vain for light switches and room controls on the walls. Instead, there are presence and movement sensors. “The light goes on when I walk in,” says Bossow, who shares the CEO position at DIAL with Dieter Polle. In each room, the functions are operated using an app on a PC, which will soon be expanded to include a smartphone app. Room illumination is automatically maintained, when so desired, at the level of a beautiful, sunny day, with lower intensity during the morning, a bright midday sun (2000 lux), and evening twilight. Light, according to Bossow, is the elixir of life, with demonstrable effects on human health. We consider healthy and productive employees to be more important than a little additional energy. Even the topic about whether or not “windows can be opened” was a substantial point during the analysis of needs, because it was important to the employees. “If a window is opened, then the building control technology recognizes the fact and shuts off the volume flow controller for the ventilation system for that room.”
Perfect Collaboration of Human and Technology
This collaboration between human and technology at DIAL is possible because the building represents a virtual organism in which the individual systems cooperate perfectly. The foundation for this is the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750, which connects the different parts to each other.
During implementation, the company from Lüdenscheid decided to use whichever systems on the market were most useful for the firm. An example is lighting control using DALI, and for which WAGO has a specialized DALI bus module. The WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 also provides suitable interfaces for presence sensors and volume flow controllers, in the form of KNX communication. “We have different bus systems at the field level but, thanks to the WAGO technology, we can piece them together very easily and transfer the aggregate to a higher level control system,” explains Serkan Akman, the trainer for “Building Automation Systems” at DIAL and the brains behind the software programming for their in-house building technology. “Our building runs on CODESYS and KNXnet IP. I use the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM as a gateway that normalizes everything to one standard, which I can then easily program. What’s cool is that the communication simultaneously creates the connection to the higher level IT.” This last point is ultimately what is necessary to control and optimize the system with just a few clicks in an app.
It’s Easy to Work with Standardized Environments
The decision to use various systems, instead of maintaining one consistently, was made mostly due to budget reasons. “Different systems are very good at different things. Therefore, we searched for a system that would be able to knit these various elements together.” There is a benefit to programming at the PLC level using the standardized and globally established languages according to IEC 61131-3. It provides DIAL with the the very tangible advantage that “a lot of people already use it,” according to Akman.
Three controllers per floor, one for each of the spatially distinct zones, regulate lighting and ventilation flows. “We distribute the computing power on three systems, so that the cycle times are correspondingly short,” Akman explains. This also means that there are always sufficient reserves available for potential function updates. In addition to the three I/O nodes, there is a fourth unit per floor that bundles lighting control and exhaust fans for the restrooms. The control cabinet on the third floor also includes three additional WAGO controllers for the air-air heat pumps. There are two heat pumps per floor; however, they are only used when the internal heat sources (lighting, computers, people) are insufficient to keep the temperature at comfortable levels, that is, during the winter months. “You could compare our building to an air-tight thermos. Its thermal behavior ensures that we mainly have cooling needs,” clarifies Bossow.
A heat exchanger with an efficient heat recovery wheel forms the hub of the central ventilation system on the roof: the speed at which the wheel rotates within the supply- and exhaust air flows is regulated by an autonomous controller depending on need. A separate WAGO PLC communicates via a LON® bus module with this controller, transmitting the desired supply air temperature. The large aluminum blades in this rotary heat exchanger are so effective that the building in Lüdenscheid does not have a conventional furnace. The undressed concrete roof contributes a lot to this energy ‘slimming diet’. They serve as passive storage masses for heat and cold. “This is a foundational element of the building’s thermal qualities,” summarizes Bossow.
This method, as simple as it is effective, covers up to 85 percent of the heating and cooling needs. Anything more than that can be achieved using the heat pumps, which can cool the building as well as heat it. “We don’t need much more. The building doesn’t lose heat very fast. This means that the operating times for the system can be programmed for fully automated functioning. On workdays, the system switches on at 6 am, and shuts down automatically in the evening, once no movement is registered in the building,” summarizes Bossow. The company has invested 4.5 million Euros in the new construction.
- The modularity of the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 forms the foundation for the interplay between various partial systems.
- For DIAL, the WAGO 750 Series offered suitable bus modules for every subsystem, including KNX, LON, and DALI.
- The WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 is used as a standardized gateway that can be easily programmed using CODESYS.
Author: Frank Korth, WAGO
Photo: studio steve, WAGO