Product Profile : Intelligent building controls

Factors such as rising fuel prices, legislation changes and increasing environmental awareness as climate change rises up the news agenda is placing greater demand on businesses to be more energy efficient.
This is forcing building service managers to look seriously at identifying cost-effective and energy efficient ways to reduce their fuel bills and the carbon footprint of their building.

The most effective way to control the internal environment of a building is to install a new energy efficient air conditioning system. The good news is that manufacturers are constantly raising the bar on product development, particularly in the last year since changes to Part L2 and L2a of the Building Regulations and the European Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) were introduced. This has resulted in an extensive range of innovative and energy efficient air conditioning equipment available on the market offering more choice and options.

One of the ways the industry can grasp this initiative is by promoting the benefits of advanced building and control systems. The fact remains that although a new air conditioning system is the most effective way to control the internal environment of a building, unless it is managed and operated properly in an appropriate manner, it will not be able to provide the energy efficiency or comfort it claims.

All Daikin UK air conditioning systems for example operate at their most efficient if used in conjunction with the current Daikin monitoring and control systems. One such system is the Intelligent Touch Controller (I-controller), which provides building owners, facilities managers and maintenance operators with a refined and energy efficient means of controlling Daikin VRV, HRV, Sky Air and Split Air installations.

I Controller with its colour touch screen display is unique, enabling systems for entire buildings to be monitored and controlled at the touch of a pen. Intended for use in smaller installations of up to 2 x 64 groups of indoor units, the controller is linked directly to the system via a Daikin DIII-NET connection, without the need for a PC. However, there is also the option via a standard Web browser and internet connection to control the air conditioning system from home or any other location, giving the administrator the freedom to leave the room where the controller is located, along with a facility for sending email alerts to a specified address if malfunctions occur.

Easy to read, use and install, the I-controller unit mounts neatly onto any wall, taking up far less space than standard BMS consoles and comprise a touch screen and coloured LCD display. An interlock function allows for controlling of multiple groups or zones (including ON/OFF; RC rejection; operation mode, set temperature; ventilation mode and ventilation setting) based on their operation status, providing detailed information on any selected zone or group of indoor units, making the management of air conditioning units and other facilities equipment simple, even among multiple buildings.

For example, the lighting interlock function means energy is conserved by increasing or decreasing the set temperature for the indoor units when one of the lights in the same office is turned off or on. Similarly, the key interlock turns off all indoor units, HRV and lights after somebody leaves the office (and the doors are locked) without turning them off.

Other features include a facility for remote online monitoring, operational connection to the Daikin AIRNET maintenance network, built in protection against unauthorised use and improved screen display with interchangeable colours. There are also a host of optional extras that complement the basic system, including a Power Proportional Distribution (PPD) feature that supplies the end-user with a calculated apportionment of the total power consumption by the Daikin air conditioning system to individual units of the system.

With the right advanced building and control systems available to work in conjunction with energy efficient air conditioning systems, the industry is in a great position to help end-users reap the maximum energy saving benefits for their premises. Installers and specifiers therefore have an important role to play in communicating the key benefits of intelligent building controls as an integral component within a building’s climate control system. By adopting this approach, not only will it offer them increased profit opportunities, but it will also help their end-users make a more informed choice.

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