State-of-the-art building automation for schools

Olaf Stutzenberger

Making sure pupils have the perfect conditions for learning

Across much of the world, it’s that ‘back to school’ time of the year again. As a kid, it marked the end of a long hot carefree summer out on my bike, with cards flicking in the spokes to make it sound like a Harley. Sure the neighbors down my street were happy school term was starting, but for me that ‘back to school’ sinking feeling was all consuming. Today, things might have been different, had my school been one of the growing number that are literally opting to get smarter.

My classroom memories were of being too hot or too cold, or that I couldn’t see the blackboard because the sun was in my eyes. But that’s all in the past for a lucky bunch of pupils at a few progressive schools springing up across Europe. For these guys there’s no excuse for dozing during math, shivering during chemistry or explaining that it’s hard to write when you’re shading your eyes from the sun.

In a primary school in Żukowo, northern Poland, they’ve got automatic temperature and lighting control, waste heat recovery, solar inverters and movement detectors and a whole lot more to make sure their pupils have the perfect conditions for learning.

Ventilation in the building, water temperature and the condition of fire dampers in air ducts are all controlled automatically, along with moving exterior shutters, which open and close according to the lighting conditions outdoors. Solar panels installed on the school’s roof generate additional power, controlled by ABB string inverters and the KNX system ABB i-bus®, controls everything, not just in the classroom, but in the sports hall too, it even controls the lights outside in the school grounds.The system has three set-points, which switch according to the class schedule and weather conditions (comfort, holiday and anti-freeze), which means the system will make significant energy savings too.

Examples of savings at other schools are at the Bezau Secondary School in Vorarlberg, Austria, where reductions in energy consumption from 160 to 25 kWh per square meter, has cut their energy use by 84%. Here, with ABB i-bus® KNX, the lighting of the school is controlled using presence detector, external brightness detectors and timer programs, and heat savings are made through individual room temperature control using a central timer and visualization system. Automatic blinds, which have hit the mark for the teaching staff and students alike, not only bring tangible improvements in comfort, but reduce the insolation levels, which cuts the cost of air conditioning. Similarly, at the School Center in Neckargemünd, Baden, Germany, gains have been made at a replacement school, built to passive house standard, where 14,000 square meters of floor space on three levels, now uses one third of the energy that the previous school buildings used.

To find out more link to our latest story from Poland.

About the author

Olaf Stutzenberger

I’m the global Marketing and Communications Manager for Building Automation. For the last 16 years I have held various management positions at ABB / Busch-Jaeger. This gives me the opportunity to gain experience in different departments like Sales, Training and Marketing & Communications. I do enjoy working in a Business Unit that creates cutting-edge technology for smart buildings, to make our world a better place. In my spare time you’ll find me running, swimming and mainly spending time with my wife and children, often together in the same sports.
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