May 24, 2017 - Building
Renovationg during ongoing operations
Ecotec is a consulting engineering firm for technical building equipment and facility management located in Bremen. They earn their living by finding cost-efficient and sustainable solutions for technical building equipment, and in supporting architects, building owners, investors, renters, and managers in designing and implementing these systems. Their customers include companies in wind farming, heavy industry, and well-known research institutions. The comprehensive list of references also includes numerous hotels and hospitals. However, Ecotec is currently working on their own project: the company is upgrading the controllers for the ICA technology in the five office and administration buildings where Ecotec rents space. For this, the experts in building automation are relying on WAGO’s technology and expertise.
Complete Building Technology
Ecotec does not simply advise other companies about technical building equipment and facility management; the corporation also manages five office buildings, multiple research facilities, and a hospital. The office buildings that they occupy were built incrementally between 1997 and 2001, cover more than 20,000 square meters, and a filled with building technology solutions.
These include: floor heating with individual room regulation, cooling using concrete core activation, heating through district heat from trash incineration and computer server waste heat reclamation, sun shade control, automatic dimming of lights using brightness and presence sensors, contactless access controls, exterior video monitoring, supply and building control technology, switchable heat pumps in decentralized ventilation devices, networked consumer data recording via radio, and hot water supply through a thermal solar system. There is scarcely a variant of modern building technology that Ecotec has not tested for themselves and can present to their customers on site. This is founded on a corresponding research project from the former Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) at the time the building was constructed.
New Controllers for Existing Building Infrastructure
The building automation is correspondingly complex at Ecotec – and the demand keeps pace. And because the technology used is around 20 years old – absolutely stone age in this sector – an update was necessary. This has already been completed in the first three buildings. The renovations havebegun in the last two buildings, and should be completed in 2018. The challenges remain the same: the renovation must be implemented during normal operations and only the control technology is being replaced. All other components, including all of the sensors, will remain. This means that the new technology has to be adapted to the existing building infrastructure. After completion, all building should be controlled by one central server. The integration requirements include the heating control to the district heat transmission station, controlling the heat pumps using the GENIbus protocol, regulating the solar system for hot water supply, and the cooling systems, which cover the concrete core activation and KNX systems, like the ventilation and chillers. Error acquisition across the systems, ventilation in the parking garage, and automated watering of the grounds are also affected.
Many Interfaces, Small Spatial Requirements
In addition to the complexity of the task, Bormann Elektrobau GmbH, who was implementing the upgrades for Ecotec’s property management division, faced one primary challenge. The new ICA technology must command a large variety of interfaces due to the number of integrated system components. It would also be nice if this technology did not take up much space, as this was quite limited. Since WAGO already surpasses the competition in these requirements, it is not surprising that the engineers from Ecotec and the specialists from Bormann Elektrobau selected WAGO technology. Specifically, the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750. Other WAGO components were also installed, for example, power supplies, relays, and rail-mount terminal blocks.
Remaining Flexible by Using Fieldbus-Independent Solutions
“Building renovations are often more complicated than new construction. This applies even more, because Ecotec’s buildings include so much technology, and also everything except the controllers is supposed to remain,” explains Jörg Bormann, CEO of Bormann Elektrobau. “For this, you need a less rigid solution. Otherwise, it is impossible to incorporate it into the existing infrastructure.” His employer, Matthias Limberg from Ecotec, adds, “WAGO is known for the large number of interfaces. It was important to us to get a fieldbus-independent solution, so that we remain flexible into the future.” There are, after all, renovations in two additional buildings in the near future. Limberg is unconcerned about them. Everything has run excellently so far, leading to his positive interim conclusion. “No one has frozen, and the ventilation still works,” he summarizes the success of the highly complex project with a wink and a joke.
Text: Stephan Lampe I WAGO
Photo: Till Werhan I Bildschön