Delivering energy savings

The world’s demand for energy is increasing sharply, with up to 40% of consumption accounted for by the buildings we live and work in. The energy efficiency of buildings is therefore becoming a priority issue and KNX has proved itself to be a potential key to meeting the challenge. With a 20- year track record, the KNX open protocol has an established track record and cannot be ignored.

The KNX Association has recently published details of some flagship projects around the world. These include a new insurance building in Prague that has improved its energy performance by 60% thanks to the networked automation of all the functions using KNX connectivity.

Effective efficiency

In Portugal, a college is seeing a reduction of up to 30% in its energy bills after converting the electrical installation in all the school buildings to KNX. Meanwhile, in Belgium, a logistics and administration centre has taken advantage of the modular approach that an open protocol like KNX affords and has improved its energy consumption by a factor of 0.75 over four years through successive automation steps.

In hard cash terms, the optimisation of the lighting control systems in a German corporate headquarters is persuasive: over € 100,000 in a year.

KNX is here and it is available now. Over 230 manufacturers worldwide offer between them almost 7000 KNX certified products in their catalogues – and each one is compatible with all the rest. The KNX Association has partnership agreements with more than 30,000 installer companies in more than 100 countries.

If there is no automation of control, then lighting, heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems are more often than not left running continuously, leading to excessive energy consumption. Where the building’s technology is chosen because it is KNX-compatible and then integrated using the KNX distributed bus, then the systems that control the room heating, air conditioning, lighting etc can all be controlled to match the actual requirements of the occupants. Timing and light or temperature level triggers can be set by an engineer or facilities manager from single PC using open source software.

The benefit is that building owners and occupiers are never tied into a single supplier or manufacturers and the upside of this, of course, is that there is healthy competition.

We all know, of course, that timer programmes ensure that lighting, heating and cooling provide comfort and a sense of well-being while the building is being used, while presence detectors enable devices in areas that are not continuously occupied to be switched off when empty, or for an ‘out of hours’ boost when someone works late. Very sensitive detectors allow for sophisticated zoning of light and heat to match modern building design and working practices.

The really clever part comes with the networking of all the functions to integrate sun protection systems, ventilation flaps for night cooling, locking of the window ventilation, solar heat gain, lighting and air conditioning etc so they all work together.

Monitor and measure

In addition, KNX software enables building managers to monitor and analyse energy loads, taking advantage of the intelligent acquisition of recording data (Smart Metering) coupled with intelligent power supply systems (Smart Grid). They can see at a glance where further potential savings are to be made. For the implementation of the building automation with KNX, there are more than 30,000 trained and experienced system integrators available all over the world.

Integrators have all the tools and products they need to develop building management systems which are customised to the building type and use. The result is energyefficient control, regulation and monitoring of energy use. Or, from Infineon’s viewpoint, €100,000 in the bank! 

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