Smarter automation for a perfect indoor climate
Pihla’s specialties include supplying windows for building renovation projects. When Finnish construction and real estate companies modernize apartment blocks built from the 1960s onwards, the new windows often come from Pihla, which is one of the established brands of the leading European window and door supplier Inwido.
Beautiful windows are much more than just an esthetic matter. Windows should insulate, shut out noise and let in lots of light. There are also requirements for a long life, environmentally-friendly materials and safety. And, not least, energy efficiency.
Jerkko Eskelinen, Sales Manager for Smart Solutions at Inwido, summarizes the concept by saying that the windows are an integrated part of the whole energy solution for the building:
“Together with our intelligent control of the existing ventilation systems in the building, replacement windows work wonders for both indoor comfort and energy consumption.”
Advanced solution driven by demand
Needless to say, the indoor climate should be equally comfortable on every floor and in all the apartments and stairwells. The challenge is to handle supply and exhaust air in a more rational way than before, which is done with refined control of the building ventilation unit.
Kari Saarinen, a system specialist at Inwido, has worked with developers at Beijer Electronics to create the system that manages the fans dynamically. He explains the principle:
“Instead of running an over-sized exhaust fan at full or half capacity as we did before, we let the demand govern things.”
Pihla Comfort Eco takes full control of the ventilation. The airflow is automatically adjusted to the indoor and outdoor temperature, the time of day and the pressure in the ventilation ducts.
Successful technology change with iX HMI SoftControl
The Pihla solution is constructed from open standard products from Beijer Electronics’ wide range of in-house and hand-picked products based on iX, CODESYS and EtherCAT. Easily-integrated industrial components have replaced a previous solution based on traditional building automation elements.
“The technology change has increased reliability while giving us complete freedom to add more functionality,” says Kari Saarinen, enthusiastically describing the opportunities to meet the requirements of the market.
For an application of this size, iX T4A SoftControl was the obvious choice. This compact iX HMI solution with integrated CODESYS soft control provides developers with good tools and great flexibility. The graphical touch screens also offer the greatest possible simplicity for end-users.
The iX HMI SoftControl panel sits on a neat cabinet which also contains a frequency inverter with sine-wave filter. Like the control unit, it can also be monitored remotely if required.
Kari Saarinen waxes lyrical about the close cooperation with Beijer Electronics in the development and production of Pihla Comfort Eco. He describes his automation partner as very professional:
“The ability of the technical experts to grasp our needs and ideas saved a lot of time on the way from idea to finished product.”
A hundred or so Finnish housing firms have installed this smart ventilation control system together with replacement windows in some 250 buildings. The technology is well proven and works beautifully:
“Uneven indoor temperatures, along with drafts and smells, are just a distant memory in the renovated buildings,” says Jerkko Eskelinen.
Reduced impact on the climate and great energy savings
It is not just the indoor climate that improves. A study shows that energy consumption drops by 10-20% right away – and often by more than that.
“With today’s energy prices, that means that our packaged solution including both hardware and software soon pays for itself,” says Jerkko Eskelinen, who sees daily proof that the housing firms are also happy to help reduce their impact on the climate.
Inwido generates total revenues of over 520 million euros. Every year around four million windows are supplied from some thirty production facilities in seven countries. Innovation and delight in development run through the whole business.
“Easy-to-use and robust technology makes it easier for us now to move forward and launch our intelligent ventilation control systems in other markets where Inwido operates,” concludes Jerkko Eskelinen, adding that the iX HMI solution is easy to adapt to new requirements and languages.