The efficient use of energy is one of the most important topics of our times. ISH is the most important source of inspiration for future-oriented building services technology. Offering solutions for heating, air-conditioning and system, room and building automation, the importance of the ISH Energy area continues to grow.
Modern heating systems: high-tech solutions for the heating transition
In Europe, and particularly in Germany, the existing installed equipment is dramatically out of date. Of roughly 21 million central heating installations in German boiler rooms, some two thirds do not meet the standards that technology can now provide and consume far too much energy. The heating industry has an extensive portfolio of high-efficiency solutions both for renovation work and for new builds.
Hybrid systems enable us to achieve high levels of efficiency and to include renewable energies. A heat pump used in combination with a condensing boiler is one form of hybrid system. The heat pump takes over the partial load at times when there is limited need for heat. When more heat is required, then the condensing boiler absorbs the peaks in demand. Similarly, a heat pump can be combined with a solid-fuel boiler, on the same principle. The combination of a condensing unit with a solar thermal installation is another example of a hybrid system and can be fitted both in existing buildings and in new builds. New builds are where heat pumps come into their own as the only form of heating, because of the limited heat required. If the operator wants a high degree of independence in terms of energy sources, the heat pump can be combined with a PV (photovoltaic) installation and thus use self-generated electricity for heating purposes.
In future, heat pumps will be able to be used in combination with a PV (photovoltaic) system and electrical storage as the heart of a Home Energy Management System (HEMS). The energy manager coordinates the balance between production and use. The PV installation provides cheap electricity to power the electric heat pump. The combination of heat pump and PV installation increases the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the whole system. Excess solar-generated electricity that is not used immediately in the building is used to charge the battery storage.
And finally, fuel-cell heating technology represents a particularly efficient solution for providing heat. This technology uses the chemical energy in the fuel − natural gas, for example − and transforms this into electric current and heat. Gas-fuelled cells are extremely efficient and cut CO2 emissions. Because of this, there are some particularly attractive subsidies for fuel-cell technology.
All modern heat generators now include an internet interface and can, therefore, be controlled via an app on your tablet or smartphone. That not only increases the degree of comfort and convenience, it also means additional potential energy savings.
Modern state-of-the-art heating technologies – ranging from efficient heat generation to heat transfer – will be on display from 11 to 15 March 2019 at ISH. In Halls 11 and 12, the heating industry will be presenting the latest solutions and heating systems, which combine high efficiency with increased use of renewable energies. In conjunction with the Association of the German Heating Industry (BDH), ISH will be providing information about these technologies and other topics relating to the heating market in the ISH Technology and Energy Forum. In 2019, this will take place for the first time in Hall 11.1.
Digital heating technology: comfortable, convenient, efficient and future-proof
Digitalisation is one of the key issues currently facing the heating industry. At ISH 2019, manufacturers will be exhibiting a host of ‘digital solutions’ and ‘digital systems’. These all offer operators of heating systems not only more comfort and convenience, they also make possible additional potential savings in energy consumption. And this means new possibilities and opportunities for the HVAC and plumbing trades. Above all, however, digitalisation of heating technology will be a major contributor to the success of the energy and heating revolution.
Modern heating units, today, all have internet connectivity. Some of those on the market can also be retro-fitted. So, operators of heating systems now pick up their smartphones and activate a heating app, instead of having to battle with a complicated programming and control system. The heating can be easily and conveniently regulated via the smartphone, whether from inside the home or from a distance. Moreover, it also helps to save energy. The status of all the systems of a heating installation can be monitored at all times. Contributions from a solar-thermal installation for instance, can be displayed along with, say, the annual figures for a heat pump or the contribution of earth and environmental heat – and all this in digital form via an IT solution. Moreover, data on the presence and absence of the inhabitants can be collected and the operation of the heating adapted to fit in with that data. Today’s extremely accurate local weather information can be fed into the digital heating control system by internet-based weather services and the operation of the heating optimised to the changing weather conditions. According to a study by the Institute for Technical Building Services Equipment in Dresden (Institut für technische Gebäudeausstattung - ITG Dresden) commissioned by the Association of the German Heating Industry (Bundesverband der Deutschen Heizungsindustrie – BDH), digitalisation of heating technology could potentially realise savings of up to 15 per cent.
Equally, there are new opportunities emerging for the HVAC and plumbing trades. If the system operator so desires, installers can arrange access to the manufacturer’s server. Then there is an extensive range of additional applications available, which make it possible to monitor and check the heating system closely. Accordingly, in rare cases of breakdown, the specialist tradesman or woman can call upon a remote diagnosis of the problem. The management of replacement parts, as well as internal procedures, can all be optimised accordingly. This has advantages in terms of winning and keeping customers.
Internet capabilities for heating: a necessary element in cross-sector linking
Digital heating technology also has an important role to play when it comes to the upgrading of energy systems with a view to making them more efficient and to including and integrating renewable energies. In terms of inter-sectoral collaboration, in other words the interlinking of the electrical, traffic and heating sectors of the market, electricity from renewable energies will, in future, be increasingly used as a source of heat in the heating market. At all events, the electricity that is generated from wind and sun is volatile, i.e. not always available in the same amounts. And this is where the heating industry offers intelligent and digital technical solutions.
The manufacturers at ISH will be showcasing a range of systems, which link various different components and energy sources together in an intelligent, digital network. That way, for example, electricity and natural gas or oil can be used to create a dual provision within a hybrid system. The heat pump supplies the partial load required in summer, whilst peak demand is absorbed by the condensing boiler. An intelligent control system regulates the optimum interplay of the components. And a PV installation, which is also linked in via an intelligent control unit, can be added to complete the system.
Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) go one step further in the ‘smart home’ of the future. At the heart of this system there is also a heat pump, combined with a PV installation. Other components can include a charging station for an electric car, a thermal or electric store, as well as other appliances. A central energy manager regulates the networked energy sources and areas of consumption, optimising both costs and CO2 footprint. This all makes for a building with a high degree of autonomy.
The Association of the German Heating Industry (BDH: www.bdh-koeln.de) will, in conjunction with its partners, be providing information on all these topics at ISH, as part of the ISH Technology and Energy Forum in Hall 11.1, Stand Nos. A06 and C06.
The importance of air at ISH: good air quality pays off
People spend more than 80 percent of their time in closed rooms – at home, in the workplace, fitness studio, cinema, restaurant or other institutions. In all these places, good quality air is important for health and well-being. What, however, makes indoor air quality good? What does it depend on? And how can it be guaranteed?
If inhabited spaces do not have any particular pollutants with high concentrations of hazardous substances, such as are, for instance, given off in manufacturing processes, then the crucial contaminant to take into account, when determining air quality, is the CO2 content. Many studies have shown that from concentrations in the ambient air of around 1,500 ppm of CO2 upwards, people’s ability to concentrate diminishes significantly. Since people expel around 20 litres of CO2 into the ambient atmosphere every hour, simply by breathing, significantly higher values are soon reached in living rooms, workplaces and classrooms. In workplace regulation ASR 3.6, the German employers’ insurance associations recommend, therefore, that, in order to exclude any possibility of damage to health, the CO2 concentration levels should be kept permanently below 1,000 ppm. This is also recommended in many other standards and guidelines.
As well as CO2, there are other substances that also pollute the indoor air and thus the air we breathe: for example, the emanations from building materials and interior furnishings, such as adhesives and fitted carpets. These and other substances should, therefore, also be removed from interior areas.
Indoor air quality equipment and installations: goodbye to pollutants
No doubt, in many cases, a satisfactory indoor air quality can be achieved by just opening a window or two; but this is never a permanent solution. The influx of cold air in winter or hot air in summer ruins the energy balance of the building. In addition, opening the window in many inner-city locations is not a good option, because of the noise or poor- quality external air. A permanent solution for ensuring good air quality is offered only by sophisticated air-quality technology – in other words, ventilation systems appropriate for domestic dwellings and workplaces. For such systems, the necessary volume of external air that is required for the appropriate level of indoor air quality is calculated exactly, taking into account the number of people and the surface area. This air is then processed in the ventilation unit to remove particulates, dust, pollen and other pollutants. It is filtered and then distributed to the rooms in the building via ventilation ducts. At the same time, stale air is removed from the rooms. The constant renewal of air leads to permanently good-quality, impeccably clean air – and without the need for the disruption involved in opening windows.
Such technological solutions to indoor air quality offer other positive benefits over and above ensuring appropriate air quality: depending on the demand for heating or cooling, the external air that is sucked into the ventilation unit through the fan can be cooled, warmed, humidified or de-humidified, so as to provide a comfortable temperature and environment for the people inside the building. All ventilation units are equipped with heat-recovery systems, that are capable of removing up to 90 per cent of thermal energy from the stale, exhaust air. With that, they warm or cool the intake air. This heat-recovery system saves significant amounts of energy for heating and cooling.
These ground-breaking advances in the refrigeration, air-conditioning and ventilation technologies can be experienced first-hand at ISH and are a central feature of the Energy area. With over 2,500 exhibitors, ISH is the world’s largest show for the combination of water and energy. It will take place from 11 to 15 March 2019 in Frankfurt am Main with a new sequence of days (Monday to Friday). Both German and international market leaders and leading technology companies will be concentrating on topics such as indoor air quality, digital heating technology and the IoT in relation to building automation. At the same time, there will be a focus on numerous innovations for helping to conserve natural resources. ISH is, moreover, the world’s largest showroom for modern bathroom concepts and sustainable, long-term solutions in the sanitation business.
Heating with wood: solutions with a future for existing houses and new builds alike
People have been heating with wood since time immemorial. Yet, in spite of this, it is a fuel that is very much of the future and is even CO2 neutral – at least, provided that its use goes hand in hand with sustainable reforestation. But, of course, the right technology is a must. Individual stoves can today be integrated into the ‘smart’ infrastructure of an existing or new heating system – and with clear, perceptible additional value in terms of energy consumption. Alongside this, local availability, security of supply and a cosy flame in the living room are all strong arguments for wood burners and their ilk.
Solid fuel appliances for individual requirements: wood burners, pellet burners or enclosed masonry and tiled stoves?
In view of increasing oil prices, the installation of a modern fireplace or wood burner can contribute to lowering heating costs and, at the same time, help in creating an atmosphere of well-being in the building. Meanwhile, decisions have to be made between individual units, such as wood burners and pellet burners, or, on the other hand, masonry stoves that have been constructed by artisans on site.
Modern wood burners are production items made of steel or cast iron. They have one or more transparent panes, which enable the flames to be enjoyed. Often encased in sheet steel, natural stone or ceramics, they heat up very quickly and give out a pleasant warmth in a very short time. Wood burners can be installed in every home that has a suitable chimney. A professional installer will take only a few hours to put one in.
Pellet burners can provide fully-fledged room heating and, at first glance, look like traditional wood burners or tiled stoves. In terms both of the way in which they are built and the technology involved, they are, however, fundamentally different, as the pellet burning stove is fuelled by small ‘wooden sticks’ that are made from compressed wood shavings and sawdust. The fuel is fed in automatically: the pellets are delivered to the combustion chamber from a storage tank, which is usually integrated into the stove, via screw conveyor and then lit electronically. A thermostat can control the amount of fuel and the inlet air, in order to achieve and maintain the desired room temperature. Depending on the size of the storage tank and the pre-adjusted heat output, a pellet stove can operate for several days without needing to be refilled.
Tiled stoves are constructed by the stove builder on site and each one is thus adapted to the individual home environment. The tiles are, however, not merely a decorative feature; because they create a ceramic jacket around the stove, they increase its capacity to store heat. This kind of stove falls into two distinct types: the floor-fired stove and the warm-air tiled stove. And there are also solutions that involve a combination of the two. The floor-fired stove is built of solid masonry, using a great deal – sometimes more than a tonne – of ceramic material that stores heat well. The logs are burned directly on the floor of the combustion chamber. Because of its high thermal mass, the stove can retain heat for up to 24 hours, for which it needs just one fill with an adequate amount of logs.
The warm-air tiled stove is the modern version, as it heats up more quickly and delivers heat after only a short time. Inside there is an industrially produced firebox made of steel or cast iron. Combined with metal secondary heating surfaces, this provides rapid heating, or, with a ceramic heat store, it creates long-lasting heat.
A masonry fireplace, like a hot-air tiled stove, has a modern firebox with a transparent front pane, so that the focus is on being able to enjoy the fire. As well as various versions with just the one pane of heat-resistant glass, there are now see-through versions, which can function as a room divider. The firebox ensures that combustion is complete and, therefore, suitably good for the environment. It also ensures low emissions and minimal heat loss. At the same time, like the warm-air tiled stove, it can also be combined with supplementary heating surfaces.
Energy revolution in the home: heat pumps and wood fires
With a combination of heat-pump or solar-thermal installation and a modern fireplace, both space heating and hot water systems will be fuelled continuously by renewable and CO2 neutral energies.
In Germany, there are some 50 manufacturers offering over 1,000 different appliances and versions. Whilst wood burners and pellet stoves are free-standing individual units and can be quickly installed or removed, built-in fireboxes and tiled masonry stoves are, of necessity, individually designed units that are constructed and installed by hand by the stove builder. All solid fuel appliances can be operated in parallel to a heat pump or a solar-thermal installation and even combined into a single all-embracing system.
An air-source heat pump, which harvests the available heat from the surrounding outside air and transforms it into heating energy, is now installed in one in three new builds in Germany. The reason is simple: for every kilowatt of electricity, they produce, on average throughout the year, four times as much heating energy. The efficiency of these units, however, is dependent on the temperature of the environment and the heating levels required. At times of sharp frost – when the demand for heat is greatest – air-source heat pumps are no longer able to work efficiently. In such cases, an electric heating element switches on and provides heat for both the domestic hot water and the heating system, albeit that this leads to high electricity bills. If the external temperatures are low, then it makes particular ecological and economic sense to supplement the heating system with a wood-fired insert in the fireplace, a wood burner or pellet stove.
An efficient combination: solar thermal and solid-fuel wet systems
At our latitude, solar-thermal energy can cover all our requirements for hot water from May to September. In other months, we need to have recourse to supplementary heating systems. And this is precisely the time when individual wood burners are providing cosy warmth in living rooms and contributing to lower heating costs. Those willing to go one step further can opt for a wet system with their solid-fuel appliance and install a heat exchanger, often called a ‘water jacket’. As soon as the fireplace has heated up, the water that has been warmed by the flames is piped into the heating network and delivered to the hot water storage tank. If, for example, people let the fire go out at night, then a buffer storage tank takes over to provide the heat. The buffer storage consists of a tank filled with water that stores any excess, unrequired energy, in order to release it to the heating and domestic hot water systems later on.
Promoting wet systems based on pellet stoves, heat pumps and solar installations.
Because, unlike the burning of other fossil fuels, heating with regenerative energies does not contribute to global warming, an ecological heating system has an important role to play in protecting the climate and therefore currently attracts state subsidy in Germany, for use in the modernisation of existing buildings.
ISH 2019 will be presenting the latest trends and developments in the sector in Halls 9.2 and 11.1. The Stove Forum in Hall 9.2. offers supplementary lectures on current major issues and trends, as well as on energy and climate policy.
Smart Buildings & Spaces, IoT: new pathways in building automation
High-efficiency buildings – both new and old – are the future. The Internet of Things (IoT) has arrived in our everyday lives and, with it, in our buildings, too. Integrating elements in buildings into a universal, digital network can save a great deal of energy. Everyday processes inside and outside buildings can thus be efficiently linked together via a central control unit. Intelligent scheduling of the underground in Tokyo, for instance, balances the rush hour, so that pedestrians and vehicles do not cross each other’s paths unnecessarily, thus helping people get to the relevant transport in a relaxed manner.
‘Intelligent buildings’, also called ‘smart buildings’, are equipped with interfaces to other smart buildings and relevant infrastructure, as well as to the ‘smart grid’, i.e. ‘intelligent’ electricity supplies. They are capable of communicating bilaterally via all of these interfaces. The aim is to optimise individual consumption without sacrificing comfort, as well as to stabilise the ‘smart grid’. The focus, here, is also on reducing negative impact on the environment through the various possibilities for energy storage. And it does not matter whether the energy is stored thermally or electrically. The use of flexible electricity tariffs, on-site energy generation and advance forecasts of consumption are further typical features of such a system. ‘Smart’ building automation involves optimisation that is dependent on the number of people in the building itself. Smart buildings also help people find their way around, using new technologies such as an in-house positioning system.
The smaller units involved in smart building automation systems, the ‘smart spaces’, provide office and work spaces, together with the necessary infrastructure, including for example, network, printers, scanners, telephones, digital projectors, consultation rooms, heating, cooling, ventilation and light as required. The focus here is on efficiency. Operators of ‘smart spaces’ are very often contractors who plan, build and run them from the word go. As a result, and contrary to normal planning procedures involving different trades, the various functions such as heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, light and shade, as well as access control are seen – and planned – as part of a complete system. This means that it is possible to adapt the work spaces to the individual requirements of each user and consequently to increase efficiency as a result of a greater sense of well-being.
One widely accepted definition of the IoT talks of a “technical vision for integrating appliances of all kinds into a universal digital network.” According to this, everyday objects will get a unique identifier, with which they can be represented and addressed on the internet. That way, the world of things will be linked to the world of data. As a result, the Internet of Things will demonstrate three properties: it is omni-present, the things that are in it are largely invisible – yet they each behave autonomously.
With all activities concerning smart buildings and the IoT, the security of the investment is a priority. An important feature – to ensure that a smart building remains efficient throughout its entire life cycle – is the monitoring of the building’s data. This is done, first and foremost, through the building services technology itself, but also needs to be checked by experts on a cyclical basis.
As a general rule, buildings are constantly being used for different purposes, extended or modernised. Over a period of several decades, that makes enormous demands on building services engineering. To that extent, the triumph of the IoT does not change the functional requirements, but it does indeed change the technology which yields that functionality.
Open communication protocols
From the many existing communication protocols over the last 25 years, only a few have been constantly updated and developed, so that today they command the largest market shares for non-residential buildings worldwide. What we are now experiencing, as far as IoT is concerned, is that these protocols are being focussed on functions and applications. Pretty well everyone is now involved in bringing things together on the network (transport level), just as happened with smart phones and the internet itself.
In today’s buildings, it is often a problem to get the various trades involved to implement the plan. Although they all wish to use the same network, there is often very little agreement and harmonisation. This will no longer be a possible state of affairs with the IoT and the corresponding IT security that will be required.
Only with joint planning and suitable harmonisation can a smart building actually become ‘smart’ in reality. The services and skills that are necessary are already being specified in specialist working parties and, to a certain extent, worked into the relevant standards.
IT security and semantics
The joint use of the IP infrastructure, as well as joint service provision, makes it possible - and necessary - for operators of buildings, in future, to use the same security solution for all areas of the building’s automation system. This can occur independently of the applications protocol that is used, since the current commonly used data protocols – BACnet, KNX and also Zigbee - now have appropriate set-ups. Even little battery-driven appliances can use the same security solutions. And the result is: end-to-end security from the sensor to the cloud.
In all this, gateways are a state-of-the-art way of linking all the different applications. Such gateways are either stand-alone units or integrated into other appliances. And there will, in principle, be some necessary investment of time and effort involved in keeping such a gateway operational and in maintaining it over a number of years. In the IoT, on the other hand, the linking of the various appliances will be done in the application itself via semantic information. That way, use of data becomes possible, irrespective of the communications protocol.
Building operators will find it easier to keep the technology in their buildings up to date, using this digital network, and thus to ensure that the building remains energy-efficient in the long term. Monitoring and analysis require more sensors, which can, however, be integrated into the existing network and IT security systems where necessary, using wireless and battery-powered units. Digitalisation begins already at the planning stage and on the building site and, through the use of BIM, continues throughout the entire lifecycle of the building.
You can obtain further information on these topics at ISH, the world’s leading trade fair for HVAC and Water, from 11 to 15 March 2019. The issues covered by ‘Smart Building & Spaces, IoT’ can be experienced first-hand at ISH in the Building Forum in Hall 10.3, as well as in the special display: BIM@ISH.