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Things are changing though and David Stefanowicz, ECA

KNX has become the established system for installers and users to turn to

ITEC’s technical manager, believes that the UK is as advanced as any nation when it comes to building automation. He says: ‘Although we may be slightly behind the rest of Europe with regards to KNX, we are highly versatile and pioneering in how we confi gure smart homes and intelligent buildings.’

Getting involved There are considerable opportunities for electrical contractors to get involved in specifying and installing KNX-based systems. Gareth Rowlands, business manager at Wieland Electric, comments: ‘I would advise contractors to enrol on a KNX course via one of fi ve centres around the UK. Once contractors have been educated about KNX and start to

Xyxyxyxcaption CASE STUDY: In the city

install it, then they tend to stay with the system.’ However, the fact that the UK only has a few training

centres is something that causes David Stefanowicz concern. He adds: ‘Compared to many other countries, we have very few training centres, which is something that must be addressed in order to further the ability of electrical contractors to get involved with KNX.’

Product development There are now more than 240 manufacturers producing KNX-compatible devices for new-build or refurbishment projects. KNX enables the integration and programming of all KNX products from a range of manufacturers, with complete interoperability. Hager’s Paul Collins, says: ‘Many manufacturers, installers

and distributors are all committed to KNX. The beauty of an open protocol system, and the interoperability between different manufacturers, will ensure KNX is the future for building controls.’ As KNX covers such a diversity of applications using one

standard, it means cabling networks can be much simpler. A single twisted pair cable is usually suffi cient, though products can also run across radio bus (wireless), Ethernet (structured cabling), fi bre optic and, occasionally, power line.

Certifi cate of merit All KNX products have to be fully tested and certifi ed by an independent regulatory body. It is only at this point that a product can carry the KNX logo, as controlled by the international KNX Association of Brussels. Therefore, there is total confi dence in reliability and interoperability, whatever KNX devices are chosen. The KNX Association requires a high level of production

Located in Salford Quays, MediaCityUK is spread over 36 acres – with a potential to develop up to 200 acres. The £500m development includes a new home for the BBC North, a campus for Salford University, offi ce accommodation for business, retail outlets, 378 apartments and a hotel.

The project design is at the leading edge of energy effi ciency, and KNX control over an

IP network was an obvious and early choice for the developers. As well as energy savings, the KNX option is allowing for central system monitoring and control of all lights, along with automated emergency light testing, system administration reporting and interfaces to other building services, such as the fi re alarm. EnTech, a Theben Partner, successfully secured all contracts for design, installation and commissioning of lighting controls within all BBC buildings, the studio building and towers, the Salford University building and the public realm. MediaCityUK workspaces cater for unconventional and fl exible working patterns, so sensitive presence detection and constant daylight control were high on EnTech’s specifi cation list for PIR detectors to ensure that lighting is used effectively and only when needed. This led to the installation of more than 3,000 Theben HTS PIR sensors for the fi rst phase of this prestigious project. This means that a built in lighting level can be maintained using natural light, where possible, and the minimum of artifi cial light – ensuring comfortable lighting levels and, where possible, saving energy. Lights can be dimmed and the blinds closed at the touch of a button. Paul Davies, EnTech’s lead project manager at MediaCityUK, comments: ‘The Theben HTS Compact Offi ce is years ahead in terms of functionality and sensor quality. The large square detection zone means that fewer sensors are required within a design, meaning less programming and cost to the project.’

and quality control during all stages of the product life. All manufacturing members have to show compliance to ISO 9001 before they can even apply for a KNX product certifi cation. Products also have to comply with the requirements of

the European – as well as international – standards for home and building electronic systems. In case of there being any doubt, the KNX Association is even entitled to have certifi ed products retested, or can require test reports from the manufacturer underlying its declaration of hardware conformity.

Lightrak lighting control system from Legrand’s power distribution brand Electrak


ECA Today September 2011


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