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How do you achieve a significant improvement of multiple aspects of your HVAC product when the whole market has been moving ahead only an inch at a time? For years, ventilation systems manufacturers worked along a pattern: Focus on one aspect at a time, do some research & development and come up with a better solution. The outcome would be either one percentage point increase in efficiency of heat recovery, or a 2 W decrease in power consumption of the fans, or similar. While that certainly was a progress, the impact on overall performance of a ventilation unit would be just marginal. That being said, if you want to come up with a meaningful innovation that will have a measurable impact on multiple parameters of performance, you will have to take a fresh new look at ventilation systems to find an answer. (Hint: Take a look our way!)
In fact, it takes just one feature to improve five aspects of a ventilation unit.
Five innovations in one fell swoop?
One feature has the ability to:
decrease power consumption by more than 50 %
reduce noise to virtually zero
This feature is VarioBreeze™ – ventilation zoning or “room by room” ventilation control.
Yes, this breakthrough innovation is ventilation zoning, variable air volume (VAV) or room-by-room ventilation. The point of ventilation zoning is simple – improving and maintaining indoor environmental quality. However, it has been overlooked by many that positive effects of zoning on overall operation of ventilation systems are significant and manifold. To make things clear – when we talk about ventilation zoning we mean multiple-zone control, as opposed to a more common “zoning” solution, that consists of just two zones (usually one zone for sleeping area and one for living/service area). The conventional two-zone solution is based on air being distributed between two areas of the house. Futura, on the other hand, can control up to 16 individual zones and 64 air ducts. This is the reason Jablotron defines their solution as “room-by-room ventilation” rather than just ventilation zoning.
Jablotron Living Technology is becoming a leader in the field of ventilation zoning. What is the secret of effective and efficient zoning system? Roman Šalomoun, director of Jablotron Living Technology and a “mastermind” behind VarioBreeze™ solution will explain.
“Simply said, it is ventilation exactly where and when it is needed.
That means we are able to ensure better indoor air quality and overall thermal comfort while ventilation system is doing less work. Thanks to that we reduce overall wear of ventilation system and extend its lifespan.”
“VarioBreeze™ is a complete zoning solution that has been specifically manufactured to optimize room-by-room ventilation. There are solutions on the market which provide partial airflow between two separate zones. Alternatively, there is a possibility to purchase separate parts from different manufacturers and create a custom installation with custom software. However, such solution will never have the same efficiency as a system that is built from A to Z by one manufacturer. On top of that, price level of a custom solution will be much higher.”
“A sophisticated room-by-room algorithm needs two key elements. First – VarioBreeze™ carries out a precise analysis of all air ducts. Second – VarioBreeze™ controls amount of airflow in each individual air duct.”
“Exactly, VarioBreeze™ operates in a completely different manner than anything else on the market that claims to be a zoning system. VarioBreeze™ can calculate pressure loss of every air duct in every zone. This is the starting point. VarioBreeze™ then automatically balances valves to ensure sufficient air supply to every air duct. After this initial analysis the system starts distributing fresh air into each zone to maintain superb indoor air quality.”
“I will give you a brief overview, since a big part of this is our know-how, that we of course want to keep secret. The distribution of air is controlled by neural network. It is a set of algorithms that evaluates priority of each room within the house and determines position of each valve inside air ducts. However I will keep to myself how exactly is this done. The system calculates how much air it is going to need to reverse a trend of rising CO2 concentration in a zone. The main advantage is that the algorithm has the ability to predict CO2 values. A solution that blindly reacts to current CO2 concentration is slow and a relatively “dumb” one. On the other hand, setting algorithm for a quick reaction would ensure a sufficient air supply, but at the same time cause overshooting with high systemic fluctuation and no improvement in operating parameters.”
“Definitely not! Everything I am describing here is controlled by our ventilation unit Futura and its internal electronics. The neural network algorithm is a part of our standard installation. In case zone control valves are connected, ventilation system recognizes them and activates room-by-room ventilation automatically.”
“It is definitely simpler, but it will not work. Jablotron is one of the world’s top PIR sensor producers so if that was a feasible option, we would definitely use it. Our goal however is not only responding to presence of a person in a room, but ensuring a quality indoor environment. For example children produce a lot less CO2 than adults. Or there may be more people in one room multiplying the need for fresh air. Or a person leaves room within a few minutes, etc. There are endless scenarios. Also do not forget that every room has different volume and presence of the same person will therefore affect it differently. All of this means that using PIR sensors does not make sense.”
“Our goal is to improve multiple parameters at once while using only a fraction of conventional air flow. And that is easily attainable with room-by-room control! I suppose you already get the idea?”
“Power consumption of a ventilation unit decreases by up to 50 %. Even more in some cases. It maximizes its performance and significantly improves moisture control. High airflow has a strong dehumidifying effect and we do not want that! Moreover, with less airflow there is significantly less filter wear, which means you do not have to change filters as often. Then there is lower pressure loss decreasing turbulence behind fans that blow air into heat exchanger, which allows for more moisture recovery. However the most noticeable change for users may be elimination of noise during boost ventilation.”
“You do not need to worry. Practically all we are talking about is software. Valves, that are the last, and in a fact the only hardware component, have been tested for years and there is no reason to think they will start breaking down all of the sudden. We trust our products and offer a five-year warranty as a standard.”
“We want VarioBreeze™ to become a standard and we manufacture all components ourselves. The entire software is part of our standard ventilation system, which means the customer does not pay anything extra. Speaking of hardware components, our regular valves have to be replaced by addressable valves equipped with electronics, connectors, connecting wires, servo drive with metal gearbox, etc. Besides that there have to be CO2 sensors installed in every room and these are supplied for a discounted price for VarioBreeze™ installations.
Altogether, additional cost of a VarioBreeze™ room-by-room ventilation is about 10 % of our regular ventilation system price, while significantly increasing user comfort.”
“No problem. As I said before, the software is part of our standard ventilation system, so our existing clients already received it with our last software update within our lifetime update warranty. If their system has a bus for sensor installation, their Futura is already able to operate as room-by-room ventilation. All components (CoolBreeze, boost buttons, control panels, sensors, valves) are connected to Futura with just one cable that enables both data communication and power connection.”
“As you may know, CoolBreeze, i.e. our cooling and heating module, an accessory of Futura, became a surprise star product of our portfolio last year. In case CoolBreeze is included in a VarioBreeze™ installation, it automatically works to even out temperature differences within the house. For example: You have a two-storey house with CoolBreeze. Its top floor will always tend to be slightly warmer than bottom floor, but thanks to temperature and humidity sensors the system picks up on this tendency and redistributes air flow so as to allocate more cooling power where it is needed – in this case to top floor.”
VarioBreeze™ is available now and it seems that just like CoolBreeze it is going to be a hit in passive/energy-efficient house ventilation.
Check out this video about VarioBreeze™ (video in Czech): https://vimeo.com/489815183