Fresh-air perspectives: A new digital ventilation
system for a comfortable living and working
Many people are not even aware why ventilation of rooms is so important today. After all, you should open your windows regularly not just because of lack of oxygen. Pollutants, humidity and fine particles can affect indoor air negatively. What problems does this bring along? Poor air causes lack of concentration, headaches and mildew. Fine particles—which are smaller than one hundredth of a millimetre—lodge themselves in the pulmonary alveoli and can cause cardiac and respiratory illnesses and even lung cancer. Fresh air for a healthy life.
It is high time to think about a ventilation strategy.
With the new highly intelligent ventilation control panel from D+H you can create a personal ventilation strategy easily. For many years D+H has developed, produced and sold not only SHEV systems, but also systems that are exclusively for controlled natural ventilation (CNL). The new D+H ventilation control panel was presented for the first time at the FENSTERBAU FRONTALE trade fair in Nuremberg. It features digital integration as well as other exciting and innovative functions. In this interview Stefan Decknatel, Department Manager of Innovation Management at D+H Mechatronic AG, and developer Jörg Eichhorn talk about the new features behind the solution, how they function and what added value they provide for the customer.
Editorial staff: Mr Decknatel, first tell us the basics: What does the new ventilation system do?
Stefan Decknatel: Its main function is to provide fresh indoor air and to regulate the indoor climate using controlled natural ventilation. The ventilation is controlled depending on the respective requirements regarding temperature, air hygiene and energy. In other words, warm, stale air flows out the windows and fresh air comes in. In climate zones where the climatic gradient between the interior and exterior is too low or in buildings where there is no wind pressure due to the position of the windows, additional exhaust fans can be used. In short: The D+H ventilation system ensures that you have fresh air in the office and that the indoor climate is correct.
Mr Eichhorn, as part of the D+H development team, could you go into more detail about the individual functions?
Jörg Eichhorn: Absolutely. The ventilation control panel can scale various drive groups as desired. This includes positioning the windows with accuracy down to the millimetre. The u::Lux button connected to the motor controller displays the room humidity and temperature as well as the CO2 content. Our intelligent control system is linked with a weather station that determines the wind direction and strength, has a rain and brightness sensor as well as a sensor for sunlight intensity. Moreover, it has a GPS receiver that records the time, date and the position of the sun.
The calendar feature also makes it possible to use 'holiday functions', that is settings for special days of the year. If the wind outside is too strong or it is raining, the windows close automatically. The integrated real-time clock can be used for setting precisely whether there should be one brief period of ventilation in the morning with windows open all the way, or whether the windows should open just a crack every hour.
The ventilation strategy is completely programmed, correct? Is it still possible for the user to manually intervene?
Jörg Eichhorn: We have deliberately distanced ourselves a little from the principle of user-independent ventilation. This means the customer can always automate everything, but still has the option of, for example, bypassing the CO2 controller and thereby manually opening the window. Our system provides a combination of user-independent and user-dependent ventilation. And it does so in a really simple way.
Furthermore, daily time programmes can be configured and the control panel works together with blinds and rolling shutters, thanks to an SMI interface. In other words, if the sunlight is too intense, the rolling shutters or blinds close and the room is shaded.
How does the customer operate the controller?
Stefan Decknatel: The user can control the ventilation via the u::Lux buttons, which are illuminated, tactile buttons on a high-resolution display, or via a web browser. The user interface is designed intuitively and with clear graphics. The u::Lux buttons draw their current through a Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) connection. Additional interfaces ensure digital integration with building automation. This enables interaction with the heating, intrusion or fire alarm systems, which guarantees, for example, that the alarm system will not suddenly go off during normal ventilation. The ventilation strategy itself is created on a PC using the D+H SCS software.
Let's talk about technology now. What is behind the new solution?
Jörg Eichhorn: The control panel is designed as a decentralised system, consisting of a ventilation controller and several motor controllers, which are connected via Ethernet. The motor controller has four group connectors, each with an output current of 10 A. A maximum of 25 A flows through the entire system in parallel operation. Such a large output in such a small design is remarkable, because the motor controller is only 157 mm wide, 90 mm high and 58 mm deep.
Our customers can choose between 24-V and 230-V control panels. Just like our new digital smoke vent control panel, which was also presented for the first time at the FENSTERBAU FRONTALE, the ventilation system features the Advanced Communication Bus (ACB), which makes bidirectional communication of the control panel with the drives possible. Not only can information about the drive's current status be returned to the user but runtime parameters can also be changed, which is an innovation.
Furthermore, we use only stabilised power packs, which, depending on the design, are among the voltage supply units with the lowest ripple. In addition, the ventilation control panel has an electric fuse. It is no longer necessary to replace fuse cartridges. In the event of a short-circuit, the control panel automatically detects the situation, switches off and switches back on after the error has been remedied.
As you already mentioned, the ventilation strategy is configured on a laptop. What options does the customer have for updating the software?
Stefan Decknatel: Here we have to distinguish between two things. On a laptop or PC the user creates a ventilation strategy with the D+H SCS (Service and Configuration Suite) software and configures the components of the controller. This 'program' is then transferred to the controller via a default interface and the work is done. However, we are all familiar with the concept of firmware updates from the world of smartphones. This firmware, too, can be conveniently updated.
In a 'mini-computer' containing the intelligence and logic of the ventilation controller, the dependencies are evaluated and the algorithms are executed. Another advantage for our customers: Our new system can be cascaded. Depending on the requirements, the user can increase the amperage and adjust the scope of functions by combining various modules as needed.
Thank you very much for the interview, and I hope you have a very successful market launch!
D+H has recognised the market's need for new ventilation solutions and responded wholeheartedly. Development of the new control panel began last year in September. Late in the summer of 2016 it will be available on the market. Powerful, compact, intelligent and highly communicative—the new ventilation solution opens up fresh-air perspectives for the future.