The energy management and natural ventilation systems for two innovative carbon-neutral homes in Kettering, Northamptonshire, UK have been supplied by WindowMaster (www.windowmaster.com).
The two semi-detached VELUX Carbon Light Homes (www.velux.co.uk) have been constructed to demonstrate that state-of-the-art energy-efficient sustainable housing is practical, affordable, appealing to home buyers and can be easily constructed by volume house builders.
As one of the integral partners in the project, WindowMaster installed its NV Comfort™ control system. NV Comfort™ enables an optimal indoor climate through consistent pure natural ventilation. At the same time it can save enough energy to significantly reduce CO2 emissions.
WindowMaster’s Paul Collins explained: “Carbon Light Homes are designed to be low energy buildings. The WindowMaster system is at the heart of the building’s management. It allows air temperature and quality in the house to be maintained with minimal energy expenditure. It automatically opens and closes windows in response to internal and external temperature, CO2 levels and weather conditions.
“The energy management system also controls the blinds so that they close to keep sun out in the warmer months to aid cooling and open in the winter months in order to take advantage of passive thermal gain.
“Energy management helps to heat the property by reducing the load on the other heating systems. Demand for fossil fuel energy for heating, hot water and electricity is kept to a minimum, making these experimental homes almost carbon neutral.”
The homes also use solar heating in combination with air-to-water heat pumps for hot water and space heating. Natural ventilation cools the buildings by taking advantage of triple height atriums around the stairs which create stack and cross ventilation. In hotter months, the homes are cooled using purge ventilation while internal and external screening helps to control solar gain and create a comfortable indoor climate. In winter, natural ventilation works alongside a mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery which recycles heat from the kitchen and bathrooms into the living areas. All of this is managed by NV Comfort™.
NV Comfort™ is based on WindowMaster’s established NV Advance™ system for management of natural ventilation in larger projects, such as schools and offices. Like the NV Advance™ control system NV Comfort™ regulates and adjusts internal air quality using an intelligent, computer-controlled system that harnesses the natural forces created by temperature differences outside and inside the building and by the effect of wind around the building.
NV Comfort™ controls façade and roof windows so that they automatically open and close by incremental amounts on the basis of individual fixed values for the desired room temperature and CO2 levels, as well as measurements of external temperature, rain and wind speed. The system also opens and closes blinds taking its cue from thermal mass readings from a pyrometer.
Opening of the automated windows can be overridden by the user to maintain security. Setting the desired room temperature and CO2 levels can be done individually for each room from one central location in the building via the NV Comfort™ touch screen.