The future flows through a smart valve here

When it comes to building technology, the Nata Vega Subayevleri shopping mall in Ankara is a step ahead of everybody.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is catching on in building systems. The potential inherent in a smart, cloud-capable field device is on display at the new Nata Vega Subayevleri shopping mall in Ankara – where 273 Intelligent Valves from Siemens ensure maximum comfort and efficiency for both heating and cooling.

There’s nothing more important at a shopping mall than to make sure the shoppers feel comfortable. And one crucial factor for that is the right room temperature. Nobody wants to work up a sweat when they’re trying on clothes, or to shiver with cold while they’re getting their hair done.

 

And where shop owners and mall operators are concerned, another aspect just as important as customer comfort is efficient building systems. If systems consume more energy than necessary, that means higher costs for tenants – and a worse sustainability footprint for the mall.

 

So when construction started on the new Nata Vega Subayevleri mall in the Turkish capital of Ankara, the builders set a high priority on combining efficient building operation with maximum shopper comfort – over an area of 31,500 square meters. Nata Vega Subayevleri is a shoppers’ paradise, offering visitors more than 100 stores, along with movie theaters and restaurants.

Getting the right fit in heating and cooling: A challenge

Optimally ventilating a gigantic shopping mall is easier said than done. After all, the various shop spaces are different sizes – and have different uses. Depending on circumstances they may need more heating or cooling energy to reach and maintain the right room temperature.

If the tenant changes, you can reset the heating and cooling remotely to meet the new needs, with minimum effort.
Dr. Paul Baumann, Global Product Manager for Digital Applications and Services at Siemens

The delivery of this energy is regulated with ventilation systems, which as a rule are installed in the crawl space above the shop ceiling. These ventilation systems have heating and cooling units that regulate the necessary amount of energy by way of valves. “Those control valves have to be designed right, and usually have to be laboriously set by hand,” says Dr. Paul Baumann, Global Product Manager for Digital Applications and Services at Siemens. “When the system first goes into operation, those settings have to be checked on location in every shop space.”

This expense associated with conventional systems is what the Nata Vega Subayevleri shopping mall’s operators wanted to avoid. So they relied on the latest technology, and decided on Intelligent Valves from Siemens. These valves’ IoT capability enables them to communicate with the building management system or a cloud application, which makes it possible to adjust the maximum throughput remotely. “That’s an immense advantage for shopping centers especially,” Baumann explains. “If the tenant changes and the shop space gets used differently, you can reset the heating and cooling remotely to meet the new needs, with minimum effort.”

Intelligence in a valve

Where energy efficiency is concerned, heating or cooling to meet specific needs is everything. But there are also additional levers to apply. Large HVAC systems, by nature, can experience pressure fluctuations in the hydraulic network. To equalize those fluctuations, you need dynamic valves. These allow for more precise regulation and help save energy.

 

But the solution chosen by the Nata Vega Subayevleri shopping mall can do more. “The 273 Intelligent Valves used at the shopping center in Ankara have their own controllers, and can use sensor data to make decisions for themselves and execute optimization functions autonomously,” Baumann points out. The Intelligent Valve constantly monitors temperature, throughput, valve setting and power – and adjusts the throughput characteristic to the heat exchanger. Which ensures that the shopping center uses only as much heating energy as it really needs.

Transparency about energy flows

The data that the Intelligent Valve gathers to optimize its operation can be used for even more purposes. “The sensors make it possible to determine the temperature differential between the output air and the return air,” Baumann explains. “Which can be used to precisely calculate the energy consumption per ventilation device.”

The data from the Intelligent Valve provides transparency and enables our customers to save energy.
Dr. Paul Baumann, Global Product Manager for Digital Applications and Services at Siemens

That information is valuable for the building operator, because it permits a detailed analysis of consumption. On that basis, the entire system can be optimized continuously. “The data from the Intelligent Valve provides transparency and enables our customers to save energy,” Baumann notes. The data can be input to the local building management system or – using the valves’ IoT function – delivered directly to a cloud platform. “These variants are mutually complementary and can also be combined, depending on the application,” he adds.

 

The operators of the Ankara shopping mall use the data from the Intelligent Valves to make the cost of heating and cooling transparent for the tenant shops – and to help them save on costs. Shopping mall operators, in turn, can show their tenants exactly how much heat and cooling a given shop actually consumed.

Energy data in the cloud

The possibility of gathering and analyzing energy data on a cloud platform like the Building Operator from Siemens, instead of locally, has a lot of advantages. For instance, systems can be monitored and optimized remotely. “Remote Operation & Monitoring offers considerable savings on maintenance,” Baumann points out. Most malfunctions can be remedied remotely, especially where adjusting room temperature is involved. And if a problem still has to be solved on site, the advance analysis shows clearly on the screen what part of the system is affected. Which makes it possible to fix malfunctions a lot faster.

A cloud solution is especially interesting for buildings that have no dedicated building management system.
Dr. Paul Baumann, Global Product Manager for Digital Applications and Services at Siemens

“A cloud solution is especially interesting for buildings that have no dedicated building management system,” Baumann notes. “An Intelligent Valve doesn’t need an additional gateway, so it’s an economical way for the operator to upload energy data from the HVAC system to the cloud.” That data can also be provided to third parties – like an energy consultant – to optimize the system further.

Ready for the future

The Intelligent Valve, equipped with artificial intelligence and a cloud connection, represents a trend whose use is gradually spreading throughout building systems. The Internet of Things offers flexibility, and opens up the possibility of combining data intelligently from what were formerly separate systems. For instance, it will soon be possible to use real-time information about foot traffic at a shopping center to determine heating and cooling needs even more precisely. “A new day is dawning in building systems,” Paul Baumann predicts. And the Nata Vega Subayevleri shopping mall, with its Intelligent Valves, is well equipped for that day.

April 14, 2021

Picture credits: Nata Vega Subayevleri, Siemens AG

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