A residential project that encompasses 25,000 square feet and occupies a rural position, virtually isolated from the outside world, with provisions on site for sustainability and self-reliance had only one set of requirements for a core control system. This was to provide the main control interfaces, be able to communicate to all other devices via simple ports or gateways, which can be expanded if required and which will last for the duration of the buildings expected life span (100 years). KNX was the only choice.
The buildings used are German pre-fabricated structures having the highest levels of green credentials. It is perhaps no surprise that fitting a German born system to the property met the requirements.
At Penny Hill House, with ARUP’s Fitzroy street office carrying out the architecture and specification, there is technology in use at every level.
Lighting throughout the project is provided by advanced LED’s, giving great output with less than 50% of the energy used by conventional equivalents and offering extended lamp life too. The lights are all DALI variants, meaning free configuration on each light or emitter. This translates to it being easy to set up very specific scenes and low level operations as well as huge amounts of light when required.
The heating is taken care of by 2 large ground source heat pumps with eight 180m deep boreholes and 6 solar panels, with no back up from gas fired equipment. The underfloor heating system is fully zoned, which actually means 40 separate areas of measurement and control. As an example, the master bedroom and Master en-suite are separate adjustable zones. The heat stores used by the system are two 2,500 litre tanks, which after a day of solar charging, will provide hot water whenever required.
External Venetian style aluminium blinds are included, for three functions. Privacy, Security and Heat control. The heat control aspect, when utilising the solar tracking device, will prevent direct sunlight solar over-heating in summer months (by controlling the angle of the slats) and encourage solar heating in winter when it may be required.
There are 48 Solar Photo Voltaic panels to one roof, generating almost 12kWatts of power over three phases, allowing both easy re-use but also providing three phase power for heat pumps and motors again improving efficiencies.Providing native support for all lighting, heating, façade control, Air conditioning control and manipulation, alert functions and messaging was easy with KNX with over 400 manufacturers with a huge variety of specialisms, the right product for the project was easily found.
Within this project, the systems capabilities have been utilised comprehensively. The KNX system acts as the control medium for the five hundred DALI lights and the sixty blinds and windows both manually and automatically, whilst providing accurate real time feedback on energy use and production, water use of both incoming mains and re-used rain water, measurement of external temperature, humidity, wind speed, presence of rain along with accurate solar tracking for blind deployment to control solar gain.
Various other critical systems are monitored such as waste tank levels, high level alarms, on site standby generator operation, low fuel levels and various pump system operations.
As the owner has become conversant with all the operational uses of the system, additional requirements have been easily met with the KNX BUS reaching all parts of the estate and allowing easy upgrades and alterations as required without the need for lots of additional cabling.
KNX has proved itself as the most suitable core system for this project and with the buildings’ expected life cycle, will be able to continue to provide it for the century to come.