Control and zoning

Many buildings suffer from being too complex and require controls that are difficult to understand and maintain in a responsive way. Wherever possible controls should be simple and understandable to the user.

simple control system
Simple control system

Complex building management systems can quickly go out of calibration and then function inefficiently.  They can prove difficult to re-set to respond to changes in patterns of use. The simpler the controls for heating, ventilation, etc the more likely they are to be used in an efficient way. Automated controls, for example, for lighting, often end up operating in an inappropriate way. However, there is always an interest in marketing complex systems as they carry a cost premium. Those involved in specification should not be duped into using inappropriately complex technology.

The capacity of a heating system can be significantly reduced in a low energy building. Schools are complex in that usage of different spaces varies considerably throughout the day and throughout the year. Internal heat generating activities, from people and equipment, together with a contribution from solar gains are all variable but can be significant. Heating systems should therefore be very sensitive in order to only function when really needed. An overall building control should be incorporated to switch the system off at night and during periods when the school is unoccupied such as over school holidays.

Efficient zoning ensures local control for different requirements of temperature depending on specific activity and local conditions. Zoning also facilitates metering to enable monitoring to take place to pinpoint areas where problems may be occurring in order to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs.

What should I do?

Keep controls simple and easy to understand.

WLGA - CLILC Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru / Welsh Assembly Government