Cloud-based House Management System (HMS)

Tecnology provider: Advantic Sys in collaboration with Eurac Research and University Ca’ Foscari

The cloud-based House Management System (HMS) is a concept similar to the building monitoring system, combining data coming from indoor and outdoor sensors (e.g. T, RH, particles, solar radiation, wind speed and direction), RES production, common electric or thermal storages (if foreseen), web-services (i.e. weather data, outdoor pollution, weather forecast), signals from the local grid and signals from the other apartments in the building.

To minimise energy consumption and leverage the local exploitation of renewable energy systems (RES) over time, each technology in the building should operate in an orchestrated and seamless way to achieve the common objective of energy consumption reduction and decarbonization. This includes aligning the users to the best practices when dealing with their needs, and the interaction with technologies and control systems.

The cloud-based HMS is the element coordinating the functioning of each technology towards a plus energy target and a healthier indoor environment, while providing a useful interface to inform and guide the user.

The cloud-based HMS implements all the logics to operate the different systems by combining data coming from indoor and outdoor sensors (e.g. temperature, humidity, particles, solar radiation, wind speed and direction), RES production, electric or thermal storages, webservices (i.e. weather data, outdoor pollution, weather forecast), signals from the local grid and signals from the other apartments in the building or neighbourhood.

The control level is comprehensive including:

  • different interacting systems: buildings, energy infrastructure, e-mobility
  • different user types: inhabitants, owners, energy managers
  • different user approach to technology: beginner, advanced

The user interface deserves a special role here, as different user types and cultural aspects largely influence the way to communicate information to different users (inhabitants, facility managers, decision makers). It is implemented by a web-based portal and a related app.

Goals of the cloud-based HMS:

  • to provide the users with the means to interact with the systems, while increasing user understanding and suggesting energy efficient user behaviour and settings
  • to optimise renewable energy consumption across the day by balancing supply and demand whenever possible, without affecting comfort conditions
  • to ensure the interoperability of the different technologies to be integrated as a service in the cloud, down to local software and hardware infrastructure

Decentralised packed heat pump system

Tecnology provider: Ventive in collaboration with Brunel University

Pre-engineered solutions for a flexible and modular Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and Domestic Hot Water (DHW) system designed and tailored for each context, in order to foster the active role of PEBs in the transformation of the energy market towards decarbonization. The flexible and modular HVAC and DHW system increases self-consumption to empower end-users, improve storage capacity and incorporate demand-response capacity to reduce peak electricity demand.

The packed heat pump system consists of a heat pump, which uses either outside air or exhaust air as a heat source. The machine is coupled with a ventilation unit and a PCM (phase change materials) thermal storage. As a result, this product allows the management of indoor comfort and DHW production in a single solution. The packed heat pump is available in two models. The ‘Apartment’ model is a decentralised unit, suitable for installation in individual dwellings, while the ‘Home’ model is a centralised unit that can power an entire building.

Active Window System (AWS)

Tecnology provider: Eurofinestra in collaboration with Eurac Research

The Active Window System is a new window system that aims at changing the traditional window concept to an active element that promotes energy efficiency, indoor air quality and user comfort. This new window system is based on the following technological pillars:
  • Modular wood frame system: The wood frame new design was conceived to be easily adaptable to different configurations, such as different climates, different insulating glazing units (IGU) or integration of different shading devices. It was designed to be easy to manufacture and to install both, in-wall and insulated block installation.
  • Movable adaptive shading system: The AWS can integrate different shading systems, such as external shading, electrochromic glass or integrated venetian blinds. In the latter case, the venetian blinds are allocated in a semi-ventilated external chamber in front of the insulating glass unit and protected by an external openable glass. This configuration allows to easily maintain the system. Moreover, shading control strategies were optimised between visual/thermal comfort and winter/summer energy savings.
  • Integrated decentralized ventilation device: The AWS, as a multifunctional window system, allows the integration of decentralized ventilation devices, such as passive trickle vents for assuring certain natural ventilation or active compact mechanical ventilation machines with heat recovery.
  • Interaction between shading semi ventilated cavity and decentralized ventilation device: The most advanced configurations of the AWS include the venetian blinds in the semi ventilated cavity and the ventilation device in a way that they collaborate with each other, with the aim of exploiting the shading cavity ventilation for optimising indoor air quality and energy consumption. This could be done in different ways depending on the type of ventilation device (passive or active) and the season.

Smart air movement for thermal comfort

Tecnology provider: Vortice in collaboration with Eurac Research and University Ca’ Foscari

Conceptual scheme of the system components:

  • remote controller: device which includes sensors (air temperature and relative humidity), smart algorithm, and manual controls
  • ceiling fan: 120cm diameter fan which is wi-fi connected to the remote controller

In a warming planet, the energy demand for space cooling is constantly increasing. Air movement can be considered an energy efficient means to provide thermal comfort in warm environmental conditions, minimising or completely avoiding the use of energy-intensive air conditioning. Ceiling fans are among the most adopted sources of air movement in buildings. While the heat generated from a human body does not vary, the forced convection accelerates the heat transfer between the parts of the body skin hit by the air flow and the surrounding thermal environment.

Ceiling fans are usually manually operated. However, within H2020 4RinEU project, a smart algorithm was developed by Eurac Research, and a new ceiling fan system was developed by Vortice. This algorithm automatically adapts the rotational speed based on the air temperature and relative humidity measured in the room, considering the occupants’ activity level. Occupants can choose a more comfortable flow direction with a simple interaction via a remote unit control.

Building upon the previous research work, Cultural-E research team is performing a test campaign in a climatic chamber to refine the control logics in accordance with different cultural preferences, climate needs, and system integration needs. Besides linking air speed to indoor temperature and relative humidity, a link will also be made with outdoor temperature of the different seasons. The ceiling fan is fully integrated with the HVAC system to unleash energy savings potential in the summer season, and it will learn from the occupant’s control preferences and coordinate its action with cooling and ventilation systems for an energy efficient, comfortable and healthy indoor environment.