The Mechanical Installation in Singular Buildings
When we are inside a building, our degree of comfort is usually influenced by factors such as air temperature, the availability of a toilet and, depending on the country, the availability of heated areas. It’s the mechanical installation system that determines all of these factors, and it owes its name to the way they use fluids as a means of transport. The hydraulics and air conditioning are the basic mechanical installation in a singular building.
Historically, man has made good use of the water resource and, nowadays, it is common to have toilets or resources in commercial buildings, offices, etc., which have a water supply for human consumption or machinery, as well as drainage systems for drinking water and rainwater which channel this water to the external networks.
A very important operation is its use as a fire extinguishing system, combined with automatic detection systems. A set of equipment has been pre-installed in buildings since the beginning of the 20th century which saves on firefighting transport costs as well as reducing the response and action time.
“The hydraulics and air conditioning make up the basic mechanical installation in singular buildings.
Both sets of installation operate thanks to the following basic elements:
- Pumping group: raises the pressure of the complete system to reach a level above ground.
- Distribution network: channels the water throughout the building in metal or plastic, and is conveniently insulated in order to avoid energy loss or condensation.
- Consumption points: points where water is delivered to the user, either for human consumption by means of faucets, intakes for machinery or fire extinguishing points.
In very broad terms, air conditioning consists of regulating the temperature, humidity and air quality in any enclosed area by means of ventilation, heating and cooling technology. There is a wide range of options available, but we generally find machines that produce energy, transport and diffusion pipes and the system of circulating air to living areas.
At present, these electromechanical systems are progressing towards smart networks that integrate controlled ventilation (CMV), energy recovery (hot or cold) of the air before it is expelled outside, and machines which operate at a variable frequency that can adapt to the energy demands of the building in question.
Here, we should make special mention of mechanical insulation systems for the whole network of ventilation ducts; heating and cooling, as they increase the energy efficiency of the system and avoid energy from being lost as it is transported.
“The Building Management System (BMS) provides the optimum balance between energy usage and the electromechanical requirements of a smart building.
The term Building Management System (BMS) has become standardized and describes a building’s complete management system that oversees and controls all levels of systems including its safety, fire detection, air conditioning, and the elevator systems. This management system keeps the conditions, energy use and operating requirements in optimal balance.
There are many significant advantages that this type of management offers such as the sole control of the building’s subsystems, remote and remote-controlled monitoring, maintenance optimization, uninterrupted system backup, security copy, and so on.
Although we do not yet have a unified definition for the concept of a sustainable building’s installation, Directive 2010/31/UE and Royal Decree 56/2016, which are both related to energy performance in buildings, introduce the requirement of producing a transition to ‘nearly zero energy buildings’ as stipulated for the year 2020 for new buildings. This leads to a large number of certifications (LEED, Breeman, GDC-Verde, Passivhaus), which may differ in terms of requirements, but are all aimed at reducing energy consumption, the use of natural materials and even adapting the ground conditions for construction, among other requirements.
So, the race to achieve this level of energy demand has very clear milestones mapped out, and we will follow them very closely right here, in The energy of change.