In view of the global changes affecting energy use in buildings, it will continue to be a challenge to meet energy requirements and operate buildings in an optimized manner. In the “Energy and Building Technology” business unit, we are developing new technologies and systems that help to create a comfortable indoor environment and make it possible to operate a building in an energy-efficient and cost-effective way. Many such examples can be seen in the inHaus research facility.
Building users today have higher expectations regarding the quality of the working environment and energy efficiency. To meet these expectations, and at the same time stand up to the increasing cost pressure from international competition, we need sustainable building and energy management concepts that are fit for the future. If we look at successful building concepts, it is immediately evident that they are all based on a combination of different energy-efficiency technologies. This combined approach is the only way forward if we want to improve thermal, visual and acoustic comfort, reduce energy consumption, and construct buildings that can be operated in a cost-optimized way. The desire for comfort is driving a trend toward the use of renewable energies for heating and cooling with low-temperature water circulation systems. These are operated in conjunction with a heat pump that supplies energy for distribution via thermo-active building components such as cooling ceilings, underfloor heating systems, building component activation, and facade systems.
A ventilation system with integrated heat recovery and absorption-based dehumidification ensures good room air quality. Efficient systems are also being employed to control the climate in special-usage areas such as server rooms or cafeterias. There is still enormous untapped potential for optimization – which could be achieved by coordinating a building’s physical properties with the technologies used to operate it, and fully integrating all automated building systems.
The research carried out by the inHaus-Center in the field of Facility Management focuses on optimizing the operation of the technology incorporated in multifunctional buildings, enabling them to adapt to diverse types of utilization, such as office space, hotel rooms or nursing homes, and the associated requirements in terms of environmental controls. The overall aim is to achieve energy efficiency, a high-quality workplace or home environment, and a reduction in costs. An important aspect of this research involves recording and evaluating the relevant energy flows and the operating data required for continuous quality assurance of building operations.