KNX TACKLES HVAC INTEGRATION HVAC is a core application to include in any smart home or building project, with the breadth of KNX-certified products now available removing the complexity of full integration with all other aspects of intelligent control. It’s ‘too big an opportunity for installers to miss out on’, argues Paul Foulkes, President of the KNX UK Association. Heating and ventilation costs are among the highest when it comes to running a building, be it a home or a complex commercial environment. Demand for effective control systems is consequently high. Surely no systems integrator is going to want to miss out on the opportunity to specify and install the controls and enjoy the potential of a long-term system maintenance contract. All the more so when HVAC can be a logical and fully integrated extension of the lighting and entertainment systems that are already your bread and butter. Why give the HVAC work to someone else? HVAC accounts for over a third of a building’s energy consumption (lighting with about a fifth). So, whether it is cost or conscience or both that drives them, owners and occupiers are going to take a keen interest in finding ways to control consumption and costs. Of course, they will not want to compromise on their comfort or enjoyment of the premises, so they will expect creative solutions. They will also be looking for assurances that whatever steps they
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invest in now will not paint them into a corner, because we will surely see new regulations for green certifications and to ensure we meet Net Zero targets. The pandemic and growing awareness of indoor air quality (IAQ) has made systems designers
aware than ever that they need more than an ‘overview’ of all the parameters of their HVAC. They need the automation that enables them to achieve the best-possible outcomes and provide a safe environment. For instance, there’s a dynamic balance between staying warm and comfortable, and ensuring optimal clean airflow from natural or mechanical ventilation sources. That brings us (inevitably) to open systems as the preferred approach as it gives integrators flexibility to create custom systems. Of course, the ‘de facto’ global standard and ‘lingua franca’ of building controls from over 500 manufacturers, is KNX.
WHAT IS KNX? A quick reminder about KNX. First conceived as a successor to the EIB, KNX is the only global standard for integrated control of all aspects of home and building control, from lighting and AV to HVAC and security with: a single, manufacturer-independent design and commissioning tool (ETS), support for all comms media (TP, PL, RF and IP), and a complete set of supported configuration modes (system, easy and automatic mode). All products bearing the KNX logo share data in a standardised way. They are certified to guarantee system compatibility, interworking and interoperability, and all newly certified products are guaranteed to be backwards compatible. A KNX system is futureproof and will be infinitely scalable and flexible over the years. Gateways to BEMS and proprietary protocols are now commonplace, as other manufacturers have recognised the need to cater for growing demand for the global, open standard.