In the current European Energy Scenario, the building sector is responsible for covering 35-40% of the total energy consumption, and the space heating is the largest component of that energy use in virtually all member states, accounting for 67% at the level of EU-15 till 2005 This project proposal focuses on the space heating and cooling aspects. The current project proposes a solution beyond the existing wireless based HVAC control systems, derived from the use of Self Powered Multi Magnitude Wireless Sensor Network (SP-MM-WSN) for building thermal condition monitoring. The SP-MM-WSN completely avoids the use of cables and removable batteries, thanks to the combination of extremely energy efficient wireless communication technology, ultra low power electronics, and the power harvesting concept. The wiring and battery removal is a real breakthrough, considering that:
The aim of the TIBUCON project is to develop SP-MM-WSN technology that will be used in building thermal condition monitoring for either new or existing HVAC installations. SP-MM-WSN along with an actuating scheme will allow optimized real time control, or at least automatic monitoring and user energy awareness for the retrofit cases. The project will result in:
Both alternatives will have an important impact on the energy consumption and CO2 emission of the HVAC systems, and due to the wire and battery reduction the use of limited resources (cooper, PVC, heavy metals, etc) and waste generation (batteries disposal) will be abated.
The aim of the project is to achieve a reduction of the energy consumption through HVAC system performance enhancement thanks to the ICT based building integral wireless connectivity system that will support the building thermal condition monitoring and real time control and actuating scheme.
In order to achieve this overall aim, the project will address the following scientific and technological objectives, which promote real breakthroughs:
Solution Deployment Approach:
TIBUCON project is intended for old and new buildings. Thus, two application scenarios are being considered to exploit the proposed solution:
For new buildings with a new HVAC installation, the use of smart actuators with wireless connection and remote control capabilities will allow automatic actuation. In this scenario the HVAC can be controlled in real time, resulting in a more efficient and transparent system.
The real time control system will periodically collect and interpret all the data from the deployed sensors, and calculate the set points for the actuators taking into consideration the user consumption and comfort target values. These set points will be transmitted to the actuators through the wireless communication network.
Taking into account that old buildings (<1975) are responsible for 70% of total energy consumption for heating , there is a huge energy saving potential in that sector; moreover, if the current rates of construction of new buildings (below 2%) and building destruction rates (even lower at circa 0.5%) are considered. The usual refurbishment actions in old buildings involve typically better insulations, boiler and piping changes, etc. but the heating and cooling control systems usually remain the same. Due to the high number of potential users, the possibility of achieving some level of performance improvement through retrofitting existing HVAC systems is a key point of the project. Of course, the performance improvement and automation level obtained will not be as high as for new installations, but due to its high number of potential consumers (every building under refurbishment actions); this is one of the main contributions of the project.
Both scenarios will be demonstrated during the project execution: