The 'Arfrisol' Project - Spain

The design of Spanish buildings could undergo radical change as a result of a major project being coordinated by the country’s National Research Centre for Energy, Environment & Technology (CIEMAT). The ‘Arfrisol’ project has involved the construction or refurbishment of five office buildings in different regions of the country; these design prototypes are expected to consume up to 60% less energy than conventional offices and what they do use will mostly be from renewable sources.


Four of the sites have been fitted with Trend building management systems, whose IQ3xcite controllers not only regulate conditions but provide vital data for assessing the buildings’ performance. A Trend system is also being installed in the fifth location, where an existing BMS will be integrated with it.


The five buildings are located in Madrid, Asturias, Soria and Almeria - areas with very different climates. The aim is for them to make an 80-90% saving on non-renewable energy use, principally through a combination of bio-climatic architecture and solar heating and cooling, their design being tailored to local conditions.


The technologies deployed include absorption heat pumps for cooling, thermal solar collectors, geothermal heating, photo-voltaic panels and natural ventilation - a solar chimney being used at one of the sites. There are biomass boilers in two of the buildings, which are in areas with cold winters.


In the four buildings where there is no other BMS, the Trend systems control and monitor all the HVAC services, including the absorption heat pumps plus underfloor heating, fan coils, induction terminal units and ventilation dampers. When conditions permit they use outside air to night cool the buildings. As well as monitoring variables such as temperature, humidity and ambient light levels, they also log the readings from electricity and heat meters.


CIEMAT monitors the sites from a single Trend ‘963’ supervisor, data being downloaded via the organisation’s intranet. It is then analysed in order to evaluate and optimise the buildings’ energy performance. Each site’s BMS incorporates a Trend TMNG wireless (GSM) communications package that allows data transmission to continue should the intranet connection be lost. (These were also used to cut costs when the systems were being commissioned.)


Each building has its own ‘963’ supervisor for local monitoring and system management. Moreover, occupants are able to adjust conditions in their work spaces via web pages served up by the IQ3xcites, which connect directly to the IT network.


The Trend systems were engineered by Madrid-based systems integrator Amez Control. They were commissioned and fine-tuned by Trend’s Spanish office.