Home & Building Automation
Home & Building Automation
Ekinex® is developed on the base of the KNX standard, a system conforming to national, European and international standards.
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Unlike traditional installation, in a home automation system only actuators and output devices need to be connected to the 230 vac power supply. Sensors, switches, controls, displays and other input devices work with the only connection to the bus network that is powered by SELV voltage. This results in a considerable simplification of the installation that is particularly advantageous. In residential buildings the wall ducts would be quickly saturated by the cables needed to carry out advanced functions through a traditional installation.
When you decide to realize a home automation system, it is not necessary to implement immediately all functions. You can start with a set of basic functions and then complete your system step by step, according to your needs and budget. This is made easy by the native modularity of the home automation technology. The condition for this is to accurately plan in the design phase a full predisposition of the system. It means a very low additional cost, but offers remarkable advantages in the future. In fact, it allows the later expansion and completion of the system with minimal impact.
The needs of building users change often over time. In residential buildings the different stages of life and the evolution in the composition of the family require to change the use of the rooms and the functionality of the installation. In these cases the traditional installation reaches its limits. Only a system of home and building automation can be reprogrammed and expanded during its life in order to flexibly and quickly adapt to changing needs.
4 Classes of energy efficiency based on the home automation level according to EN 15232:
the standard that considers the contribution of home automation for the energy efficiency of buildings.
Switching from class C to class A for residential buildings
Switching from class D to class A for residential buildings
Moving from class D to class A for commercial properties
Switching from Class D to Class A for offices
Outdoor or indoor, basic or accent, technical or decorative, direct or indirect: countless possibilities are offered in a building to create the best lighting conditions. To get the best in terms of visual comfort and to minimize the impact on energy consumption, home automation is essential thanks to the variety of switching and controlling options, in manual or automatic mode.
Particularly advantageous is the lighting management exploiting the available natural light, using dedicated sensors that detect the light intensity outside or inside the building. The operation may include the switching off of some devices, or the brightness regulation by dimming them.
Automatic switching or controlling by means of presence or movement detectors offers other advantages, not only in terms of energy saving, but also to lengthen the life of the light sources. The devices are turned on only when and where needed, with great benefits in terms of comfort and energy savings.
The energy savings of a building is usually focused on the efficiency of heat production, thereby favoring the choice of new-generation heat generators. But to ensure that during the exercise is really consumed as less energy as possible, it is necessary to take measures at the level of single rooms or zones.
A home automation system allows you the individual control of the heating: you can heat only where and when needed, exploit all the free heat gains, such as the solar radiation that reaches the rooms through the glass surfaces, optimize the operation in terms of time-scheduling and temperatures depending on individual preferences, the daily activity or the day of the week.
No wonder that, when the European Performance Building Directive (known shortly as EPBD or 2002/91/EC) was implemented in many European countries, the individual thermoregulation was prescribed in several cases.
In recent years, the frequent summer heat waves have led to a widespread use of air conditioning, but this had a big impact on the energy consumption of buildings and the emissions of polluting and climate-altering gases. In this case domotics can give a considerable help to mitigate the negative effects of this trend.
On one hand, it provides many opportunities in order to optimize the operation of the installation: they include daily or weekly time scheduling, the independent control of zones or rooms, the attenuation manual or automatic of temperature, the remote switching or control and more useful information to users.
Secondly, and more importantly, home automation allows to manage the air conditioning in a coordinated way with the rest of the building installation. For example, lowering shutters or inclining external venetian blinds greatly reduces the solar radiation that enters the room through the glass surfaces of doors and windows. Consequently the heat load to be removed is lower and with it the need of conditioning power.
Today a proper room ventilation is very important. The high insulation required for modern buildings, together with airtight windows and doors, increases the risk of mold growth and causes low air quality in case of insufficient ventilation.
A home automation system can provide a valuable contribution to a correct management of the ventilation system of the building. The control has to be coordinated with the operation of the heating and air conditioning systems, to avoid an unnecessary waste of energy through the opening of windows or doors.
You can also control the ventilation depending on the values of CO2 concentration or relative humidity to achieve maximum comfort in the building. A control with time-scheduling or depending on the presence of people can be particularly useful for certain rooms such as bathrooms, kitchens or rooms reserved for leisure-time activities.
A home automation system let evolve and expand the function usually carried out by shutters, blinds and curtains. From simple elements which complete the exterior of a building and ensure privacy, these devices play an important role in order to improve a coordinated building management.
In the summer season they limit the solar radiation that go through the glass surfaces of doors and windows, thereby reducing the heat load to be removed by the air conditioning system. In winter they can work on the opposite, favoring the entry of free solar heat gains.
In combination with the information sent to the bus by a weather station, a home automation system brings in the safety position the shading systems when a storm is approaching, or selectively limits the direct solar radiation on only one side of the building, to avoid glare and increase the comfort in using personal computers and watching TV.
Beside the devices with natively integrated intelligence, in the buildings there are a number of devices of traditional kind which can be integrated in the control carried out by a domotic system.
It is possible to cut power to the utility outlets controlled in order to prevent situations of potential danger indicated by sensors (for example in case of flooding or gas leak), or simply to spend time away from home with confidence. The main voltage can also be removed at nighttime to reduce the electromagnetic pollution in the rooms.
The loads connected to the controlled outlets can be integrated in a coordinated management logic, taking into account the priorities of operation, programming the activation so as to avoid the overcoming of the contractual power or to exploit a cheaper tariff in time slots defined by the utility.
Statistically, most accidents happens at home. A part of them is due to technological, functional, installation or information deficiencies that can now be easily overcome thanks to a home automation system.
Domotic switches and sensors are already intrinsically safer if compared to conventional devices, because they are powered with low voltage SELV (Safety Extra Low Voltage).
A high degree of safety is achieved through the integration of safety devices and systems in the home automation installation. Sensors for the detection of gas leakages, flooding, air indoor quality or wind speed are easily connected to the system. The respective alarms can be quickly reported inside the building and remotely and can lead to a series of actions in order to guarantee the safety of people and things or the whole building.
The creation of a scenario, that means an appropriate combinations of commands, controls and adjustments of the various installations, is one of the most typical applications of a domotic system, and is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to realize with the conventional installation.
The simplest scenarios are those that are recalled at the touch of a single pushbutton when you exit and come back home. In the morning for example, you turn off all the lights, lower the blinds, activate the security alarm system, switch the heating to saving mode and close motorized valves that control the flow of gas and water.
Some scenarios are planned to offer the highest comfort in certain situations, such as the night watching of a TV movie, the presence of friends at dinner or the morning waking. Other ones are thought to provide greater safety; if you hear at night unexpected noises in your garden, switching a single pushbutton you turn on the garden lights, start a video shooting and lower the blinds forget in raised position the night before. There is virtually no limit to the possible applications you can realize thanks to the domotic scenarios.
No doubt, we are in the information age. But in the buildings with conventional installation, there is no trace of it.Thanks to the signal network that connects all the devices, a home automation system can instead display a large number of useful information to endusers, maintenance personnel and operators of a building anywhere and anytime it is necessary.
It starts from simple status messages via LED available on all commands to get a complete screens depicting states and values. The graphical representation of the trends of the measured physical quantities (such as temperature, light intensity or energy) allows to evaluate exactly the working efficiency of single devices or whole installations and to early detect failures or malfunctionings.
The detection of meteorological data, which may include information such as temperature and humidity outside, the presence of rain, the wind speed, the intensity of solar radiation and other physical quantities, and their transmission by means of the domotic system it may prove very important.
At first it represents a useful information to the user: as a simple overview of the current situation or as a means of alarms signaling the approach of potentially dangerous events.
Secondly, you can manage safely some functions that could be damaged by the arrival of violent storms, such as the operation of shutters, blinds, rooflights or other external devices exposed to the elements. And each function can also be carried out fully automatically, even during periods of absence of the users from the building.
Finally it can optimize the management of heating, cooling and ventilation based on actual parameters detected outside the building, avoiding a waste of heating and cooling energy.
Thanks to a home automation system and their interfaces you can collect all the data regarding the individual consumptions of heating, electricity and water as well as the production of heat or electricity through renewable sources.
A correct and timely information to users influences their behavior making them more aware and virtuous with a considerable growth of savings and a more careful use of limited resources such as energy or water.
For the building manager this means to have all the information needed to calculate a building energy balance, quickly locate faults and malfunctions and allocate costs with fair criteria, relating them to the actual individual consumptions. Last but not least, this information can help to evaluate a realistic return on investment for the energy requalification of a building.