Energetic retrofitting of ventilation and air-conditioning systems for existing buildings via radio-based control – “RadioDuct”

  Figure 1: Schematic representation of a single room control Figure 1: Schematic representation of a single room control

Regarding primary energy consumption, the building sector is the largest single sector. Hence, the energetic retrofit of buildings offers great potential for current climate protection objectives. This potential originates mainly in the non-optimal operation of energy-producing and energy-distributing units. However, the transition to a demand-driven operation usually requires a rigorous energetic monitoring. While the monitoring requires a communication infrastructure, which rarely occurs in existing buildings, retrofit of the necessary devices is either extremely arduous or not even possible.

This project deals with the development of components to allow radio-based communication and hence provide a framework for actuators and sensors in ventilation and air-conditioning systems of non-residential buildings. By transmitting radio-signals through the available air ducts, the bundling effect serves to achieve higher transmission distances compared to open area transmission. The utilization of a radio-based communication facilitates the analysis and optimization of the operation. Furthermore, the air duct radio modules allow for an easy retrofit, particularly since most parts of the air distribution system can be re-utilized. Hence, the air-duct-radio-technology is strongly resource-friendly and cost-efficient.

  Figure 2: Draft of an air duct radio module Figure 2: Draft of an air duct radio module

This project is a public-funded project by means of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Project Management ETN. FH Aachen and the TROX GmbH develop the components; after thorough testing with the prototypes, TROX focuses towards marketable components. The market entry will be encouraged by a guideline for the renovation of buildings, which the BFT Planung GmbH establishes in cooperation with the other partners. These guidelines especially discuss the energetic and monetary advantages and therefore provides a motivation for utilizing energy management using the air-duct-radio-technology.