Climecon MyAir – always high-quality indoor air
Advanced technology developed in Finland automatically adjusts, optimizes and balances ventilation in every apartment of a building. This makes for happy tenants, not to mention major savings in energy, maintenance and renovation costs. Climecon MyAir can also detect problems and respond to them in real time.
Adjusting the ventilation in a traditional apartment building is laborious and time-consuming. And even in the best-case scenario, the outcome will only be average, as outside temperatures and wind conditions affect the ventilation, and tenants don’t live their lives according to how the ventilation functions at any given time. Poor indoor air quality is one of the most common problems in apartment buildings. Bad ventilation causes not only disgruntled tenants and health problems, but also unnecessary energy costs, maintenance work and even moisture damage and costly renovations.
“The basic problem with traditional ventilation systems is their rigidity. The system is blind to changes and can’t react to them. Ventilation should be increased, for example, when a resident takes a shower or dries clothing. When the ventilation doesn’t work as it should, the tenants will try to adjust it themselves. This can snowball and eventually cause the ventilation in the entire building to go out of balance,” stresses Product Manager Jani Nieminen from Climecon Oy. Climecon is a Finnish company that specializes in ventilation and air purification.
Climecon decided to bring ventilation control for apartment buildings into the present day in one fell swoop.
World-class experts as designers
“There are good grounds for replacing traditional, manually adjusted exhaust air valves with smart ones. The system should be convenient and easy to start up and maintain, so laborious wiring is usually not an option. Other needs include functional automation, smooth remote monitoring and so on,” says Nieminen, listing the basic requirements for the system.
“Right from the start it was clear that a key challenge of the project was the wireless, smart exhaust air valve. The valve must work smoothly for years without maintenance and without an external supply of electricity. Those are tough demands for the equipment and software,” says Project Manager Eero Heikkinen from Etteplan.
“We realized that implementing such a system would require very extensive expertise in several areas of technology. We decided to turn to Etteplan.”
Demanding software requirements
Lithium batteries were chosen as the power source. They have a high energy density and can last up to ten years. Wireless connections to the building’s central unit will employ an 868 MHz LoRa radio, which functions reliably in a reinforced concrete building. The electronics include, among other things, flow and moisture sensors, and the smart functionalities are built into a low-power ARM chip.
“At the core of the implementation is software that carefully optimizes energy consumption, especially that of the regulating motor, drive and data transmission. Each MyAir valve component is turned on only when absolutely necessary,” says Heikkinen.
“The tests indicate that the batteries will last for years,” he adds. The valve must function very reliably, as maintenance visits will be costly. The schedule also set challenges for the software developers.
“We needed the best possible tools to develop the software. The ARM Mbed OS system was decided on for the embedded software. ARM Mbed met our requirements with flying colors. We will implement our future Arm projects using this system,” says Heikkinen. Etteplan also created the software for the building’s central unit.
End result in a class of its own
“Climecon’s MyAir can typically be installed in one stairwell of an apartment building in one work day. And the adjustments are fine in one go,” says Nieminen.
Climecon MyAir automatically adjusts, optimizes and balances ventilation in the apartments of a building. MyAir ensures the correct volume of air in every individual apartment and that the indoor air is clean. In terms of balance, MyAir is also aware of the pressure difference in the entire building envelope and the impact of the wind and the stack effect. In the event of a problem that the system cannot resolve on its own, maintenance calls and alarms are automatically sent. Two such examples are if a valve becomes loose or blocked.
“The feedback from tenants, building managers, experts and maintenance personnel has been positive. The automation works, and in the long run we expect significant savings,” says a pleased Nieminen.
“The goals of the project have been met. We are very pleased with Etteplan’s work. The design of the equipment was exceptionally fast, and collaboration on the project was otherwise excellent,” Nieminen sums up.