With UniPi you can heat up or cool air as you wish

Nice to meet you, smart heating!

A certain Czech company focusing on security and residing in Brno has decided to improve both air conditioning system and central heating in order to clearly monitor building’s temperatures, automatically optimize temperature only when necessary and also make working environment more comfortable for their employees.

Before, the company has already invested into similar system given by Honeywell with the same goals. Nevertheless, the former system did not offer satisfying configurability, suffered malfunctions and over the 15 years stopped to be usable.

Looking for suitable substitution they have chosen UniPi over the other controllers as it not only provided everything they needed but also made further extending of the system easily possible.

What does it consist of?

The project make use of almost 30 UniPi board controllers for direct communication between software and hardware with a help of one 4 analog output extension and one 8 relay addon. Whole system makes use of approximately 180 thermometers for a very detailed control of temperature of every room, pipe or any necessary spot. There are also magnetic contacts placed in windows.

Whole heating system distributes water from boiler in pipes directed and pumped by 3-way valves and circulator pumps whenever it’s cold inside. On the contrary, air conditioning distributes cold water for cooling inner climate. Both is controlled by one centralized system. Each room has also indicator diodes.

The system uses altered version of EVOK software and also custom-made scripts. Each separate part of the system can be controlled via the internet with commands entered in terminal prompt.

Detail of chiller

Detail of chiller

Detail of chiller's controller

Detail of chiller’s controller

How does it work?

Whole system turns boilers or air conditioning on and off, releases valves when necessary, monitor temperatures and switches on circulator pumps for only required pipes. It is all based on algorithms and software installed into the UniPi board controller.

Based on statistics and user’s configuration the system knows when exactly it has to turn on the heating or cooling on and how long it has to remain turned on to provide hot water and optimal room climates for the whole day.

Each room can have it’s own configuration while if it has not its control is based on global settings. Some rooms are badly isolated and require more temperature regulation while other rooms such as server room always requires to maintain a cold environment. This exactly can be solved by specific configuration for each room.

Each window holds magnetic contact. Whenever anyone in the room opens a window, system is acknowledged it is necessary to reduce heat distribution into this room to prevent wasting of energy.

Doors has also its system to monitor which room is currently used and which is not. At the beginning of the working hours whole building’s climate is optimized to the demanded temperatures. Afterwards in rooms which are not used and locked it is not necessary to put the thermoregulation in action. So the system checks whether somebody is inside and then decides whether it should go on keeping the temperature or not.

All necessary spots are equipped with thermometers. As the sun changes its position particular side of the building is heated by the sunshine and requires to be cooled down. Thanks to these many thermometers the system knows exactly when and where it is necessary to turn the cooling on during the whole day.

Thermometers also serves to another function. If there is a malfunction in boiler, pipes, ventilation fans or any valve thermometers show exactly where the heat distribution stopped and allows much easier and less time-consuming service and repairs of the system. All units also control each other. Not only central unit controls the other but also the others control the central unit.

Extension board controller connected to three-way digital valves

Extension board controller connected to three-way digital valves

Detail of extension board controller

Detail of extension board controller

Additionally, two indication diodes were put into every regulated room – red diode and green diode. These diodes inform room inhabitants of the state of heating. Green diode light signifies the temperature in the room differs from the preset temperature and that the heating or air conditioning is activated. On the contrary, red light signals there is a problem in the system or there is somewhere a window opened and needs to be closed. No light means that it is an ideal state – everything is all right.

Fans helping with air circulation in rooms are also programmed to make the whole thermoregulation pleasant and comfortable for people inside. For example when the cooling is on more fans are activated by default in order to circulate air more efficiently so the person sitting next to the radiator does not feel unpleasant cold coming from the behind and there is no risk of getting ill.

Fan coil controller detail

Fan coil controller detail

Fan coil connection scheme

Fan coil connection scheme

 

Conclusion

The system brought definitely an improvement. Not only employees work in much more pleasant and comfortable environment but also it is much easier for boiler operators to control the whole system. It has also advantage of clever activation of both systems – air conditioning and central heating. Everything is balanced and minimizes unnecessary energy waste.

The company has also better overview of the heating during the whole year, figures out which room requires better isolation and what is the most important servicemen reveal malfunctions quickly and conveniently. And after all UniPi allows effortless extending of the whole system of another functionality.

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