In March 2017, ISH, the world’s leading trade fair hosted in Frankfurt, Germany, showcased cutting-edge technology in building, energy, and air conditioning. Acknowledging that people now spend nearly 90% of their lives in buildings, the developers and designers who flock to ISH understand that a building should combine comfort, security and beauty in a cost-effective and energy-efficient manner. Total Room Automation was one of the standouts at the ISH trade show, because it does just that.
What is Total Room Automation?
The term Total Room Automation, also called Intelligent Building or Smart Building, is a term that’s applied to a particular type of building automation. This sort of automation system is based on a coordinated interplay between various elements in a room that are managed through a central interface.
Some of these TRA elements include lighting, shading, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). TRA rooms are provided with the requisite lighting, shading, and forced air based on that room’s demand at any given moment.
How Do TRA Features Apply to Office Buildings, Factories, Etc.?
Buildings outfitted with TRA have rooms that function upon time-based programs that ensure that these features are only used when there are occupants in the rooms. Many TRA systems functions run on motion detectors, sensors, and schedules. Some of the elements managed by Smart building technology are:
1. TRA Lights
Total Room Automation optimizes the lighting conditions in a room depending upon the time of day and brightness of the day. Thus, artificial light turns on and off depending on the brightness of the natural light. TRA lighting also responds to whether a room is occupied or not. Presence detectors, motion sensors and schedules inform the system to turn the lights on or off.
2. TRA Blinds
TRA adjusts blinds to best utilize natural light. They automatically adjust to reduce glare and to shield the room from exterior heat and cold. Blinds run on daylight sensors, occupant presence detectors, and schedules.
3. TRA HVAC/Temperature
Smart room technology maintains the heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and temperature of rooms so that these elements aren't operating (or operating minimally) when a room is vacant. The system automatically turns on the heating, air conditioning, and ventilation according to a schedule in order to prep a room before it's to be in use.
4. TRA Room Pressure/Fume Hood Control
Intelligent building technology integrates additional components for laboratories and clean rooms. This technology provides reliable and precise measurements of gases in the atmosphere in order to control room pressures and air volumes. This increases the safety of critical areas, while, at the same time, increasing cost-efficiency.
What Are the Benefits of Total Room Automation?
One of the primary benefits of TRA is that Smart rooms are much more efficient and environmentally friendly. While this technology does have an upfront cost to install, such systems save money over time, because they reduce energy expenditures.
In fact, when the control panel is set to an optimum, energy-efficiency setting with the Green Leaf symbol, then energy consumption can be lowered up to 25%. That can translate into substantial savings over time.
Other Benefits of TRA
Another benefit is that TRA can ensure that the air quality of your work environment is comfortable and pleasant. This intelligent building technology manages air quality, temperature and humidity so that these elements stay within optimum-functioning parameters.
Further, a comfortable work environment increases levels of concentration and positively impacts employee motivation and productivity. Additionally, air optimization control reduces energy consumption up to 50% in comparison to the traditional system, which maintains a constant air volume.
TRA allows Smart buildings to be more comfortable while simultaneously helping business owners, facility managers, and building owners hit energy efficiency targets.
Is It Possible to Phase Total Room Automation into My Facility?
Yes, it's possible to phase TRA into your buildings and facilities over time. TRA can be added without modifying your present HVAC or electrical systems, because its technology is flexible and conducive to scalable installation. You can choose a minimal installation in a cluster of rooms in your building and expand to include more rooms as it suits your organization.
You can also choose to augment a heating and cooling system by adding touchscreen mechanisms, subdividing floors into groups of rooms, or working TRA features into your existing equipment.
What Is the Future of Total Room Automation?
Most agree that the offices of the future will be wholly automated with touch room operator units that control lights, blinds and HVAC in all interior spaces; however, much of this equipment is already available. Many businesses in Richmond, VA and the surrounding Central Virginia region are using total room automation to save money and help make occupants feel more comfortable.
Energy dashboards that manage and analyze the energy expenditures of the monitored systems functional are helping facility managers and business owners make smarter decisions about energy use. Sensors, detectors and control panels silently, seamlessly and unobtrusively control the comfort level of offices and collaborative work spaces.
Learn More About Total Room Automation (TRA) in Richmond, VA
If your business is located in Virginia, contact MACC to learn more about how total room automation and smart/intelligent building design may be able to help your business save money while helping keep employees more comfortable.