Natural Ventilation in Intelligent Buildings

There is now increased demand for the development of highly intelligent buildings. Owners want a building that is sophisticated and highly energy efficient with the potential to reduce operating costs, whilst also providing the occupants with a high level of thermal comfort.

There are some important advantages that exist for intelligent buildings, including:

  • Optimised building performance and functionality
  • Automated control and enhanced monitoring of building systems through a single platform
  • Maximised operational and energy efficiency
  • Lower life cycle costs
  • Increased occupant comfort and productivity

In order to realise such advantages, it is essential that all building systems, technologies and solutions are integrated into one platform – a Building Management System. It can monitor and control the operation of many of the technologies and systems within a building, ensuring that optimal indoor conditions are maintained, in the most energy efficient manner possible.

Natural ventilation is considered to be a vital element in any building striving to increase occupant comfort, as well as decrease operating costs. It can act as a complementary system to the HVAC, providing free cool and air exchange until conditions determine that mechanical ventilation is required. Arens enables you to integrate the automated windows with the Building Management System, which can both monitor and control the building’s natural ventilation.

While it is quite common to have simple switch closure for automated windows, this does not allow the natural ventilation system to operate to its full capabilities. When an automatic natural ventilation system is incorporated into your building, it can result in benefits such as:

  • Increased energy efficiency & decreased operating costs – Various studies suggest that heating and cooling can represent approximately 40% of a building’s total energy usage. Natural ventilation can be used to delay or reduce the operation of mechanical forms of ventilation, providing passive cooling for the occupants and reducing building operating costs for the owner.
  • Increased occupant comfort – not only can the natural ventilation system be used for passive cooling; it can also be used to provide a means to exhaust carbon dioxide and other air borne pollutants from the room.
  • Best climate control is maintained – the natural ventilation system can be configured to operate relative to carbon dioxide levels, outside air temperature, humidity, rain and wind sensor- providing an optimal indoor environment. Windows can also be signalled to operate according to what other systems within the building are doing, for example, close all windows on activation of air conditioning.
  • Increased occupant productivity – A study by The World Green Building Council suggests that buildings with low concentrations of carbon dioxide and other air borne pollutants and high ventilation rates can experience increases in productivity of 8% – 11%. This is backed up in various other studies highlighting improved learning and productivity in naturally ventilated commercial and educational buildings.
  • Improved occupant health – A range of studies worldwide point to increased occupant health in buildings with natural ventilation. Reduced instances of headaches, itchy eyes, runny noses and illness will see absenteeism rates drop significantly.

To realise these benefits it is important that intelligent integration occurs between the automated windows and the Building Management System, ensuring two way communication is possible. The BMS will then have an improved ability to monitor and control the windows for natural ventilation – allowing for a complementary system to the HVAC, rather than one that operates independently.

Below is a range of options, from Arens International, to integrate your automated windows with BACnet, KNX and most common Building Management System protocols:

FlexiSmoke™ BACnet Controller

  • This WindowMaster controller is BACnet complaint and has PICS certification.
  • To achieve two way communication it is used with MotorLink™ Actuators and Motor Controllers.
  • MotorLink™ sets the standard for intelligent window control, allowing two way communication between the controller and the BMS
  • It will provide the BMS with millimetre by millimetre control of all automated windows, as well as precise position feedback, early fault indication. Please click here for more features.
  • Remote monitoring is also possible through an Ethernet connection.
  • This controller will allow the automated windows to be part of the Natural and Smoke Ventilation Systems

FlexiSmoke™ KNX Controller

  • The FlexiSmoke™ KNX Controller provides all the same functionality as the BACnet Controller, but enables integration with KNX.
  • MotorLink™ Actuators and Motor Controllers should be used to enable two way communication between the MotorControllers and the BMS.
  • Remote monitoring is also possible with an Ethernet connection.

BACnet Controller with ModBus Actuators

  • Our UCS range of actuators, such as the Vega and Vega Synchro, is available in BMSline and with the use of our BACnet Controller can be integrated with the BMS when it is operating BACnet.
  • This not only allows the BMS to operate the automated windows to achieve optimal indoor conditions, but also promotes two way communication with the actuators.
  • The BMS can receive information such as; precise position feedback, early fault indication and command state.

We also offer other forms of BMS integration that can allow the BMS to operate the automated windows, but will not enable two way communication. If you would like more information on integrating your natural ventilation or smoke dispersal systems with a Building Management System, please feel free to contact us.