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Customer application 4 December 2020
Free Room Configuration with Flexible Building Automation

Energy efficiency, comfort, safety/security – LAE Engineering’s new building impresses with powerful building automation. The WAGO I/O System 750 forms the basis.

LAE Engineering, an engineering consulting firm specializing in building technology, industrial engineering, and energy generation, was sorely in need of a new company headquarters in 2017. “At that time, our employees were scattered across five different locations, and space was getting tight,” remembers Werner Rensch, CEO and co-owner of the company, located in Wiesloch in the Rhine-Neckar district.

During planning, LAE main priority was a modern working environment for its employees. Today, the building boasts space for lounges and meeting pods throughout, and teams can freely decide how to organize their spaces – group workstations, open-plan workspaces and individual offices are all in use. During the design stage, Rensch also focused on one aspect that is particularly important for the company: “We wanted to construct a building that could serve as a model for all of our business areas, and that we could use to demonstrate to our customers what’s possible.”

Overview of WAGO Technology

  • The right interface for every system: WAGO controllers oversee all the building technology systems.

  • Flexible adaptation: All switches and buttons work with EnOcean wireless technology.

  • Easy programming and clear visualization: The design, configuration, and programming were implemented with e!COCKPIT automation software.

We wanted to construct a building that could serve as a model for all of our business areas, and that we could use to demonstrate to our customers what’s possible.

Werner Rensch | CEO and Co-Owner of LAE Engineering

Efficient Heating and Cooling with Geothermal Systems

LAE relies on efficient geothermal energy for heating and cooling. Eleven boreholes, extending up to 100 meters deep into the earth, provide warm water at a consistent 14 degrees Celsius. This water is used in winter to heat the rooms using floor heating and a heat pump; in summer, the same system provides cooling. “This functioned perfectly during the very hot summer of 2018,” reports Rensch. With its modern heating systems, the building satisfies the “Efficiency House 55” requirements of the KfW development bank – it consumes 45 % less energy for heating than a building constructed per the current standard.

LAE is certified as a WAGO solution provider in the building technology business sector. “Therefore, we naturally used building automation solutions based on the WAGO I/O System 750,” says Rensch. A node and a 750-831 Controller are located on each of the four floors. A higher-level PFC200 Controller is also installed on the ground floor. This controls the geothermal system, for example, and receives and distributes the data from the weather station installed on the roof.

WAGO Controllers Regulate all Building Systems

The controllers on the individual floors regulate all the other building technology systems. “The big advantage of the WAGO system is that a suitable interface is available for almost every system, including the SMI bus for controlling blinds” explains Rensch. The WAGO controllers set the blinds according to the position of the sun. The data for this is provided by the connected weather station. In addition, employees can set the blinds depending on their own needs, overriding the controllers’ automation function.

The lighting control functions in a similar fashion. “All lights throughout the building have a DALI interface,” says the CEO. “This allows them to be dimmed and switched on and off by the controller.” In this way, for example, all of the lighting can be switched off overnight. This prevents lights from being accidentally left on overnight at LAE. In addition to the timed control, the lighting is also linked to presence detectors in the various sections. In the lounge areas, it is also possible to program different lighting scenarios. Naturally, there are still conventional switches for turning the lights on and off and dimming them. Central on and off switches for entire areas are also provided – an important feature for the cleaning staff, for example.

The great advantage in using the WAGO system is that a suitable interface already exists for almost every system.

Werner Rensch | CEO and Co-Owner of LAE Engineering

Seamlessly Redividing Rooms with Wireless Technology

All the switches and buttons for lighting, sun shades and heating, as well as the room thermostats, are based on the EnOcean protocol. This wireless protocol offers a high degree of flexibility, as the operating elements do not have to be wired to the controller. “This lets us redivide our spaces quickly when we need to,” explains Resch. “A high degree of flexibility was very important to us, which is why we have no structural elements on the various floors besides the stairwells.” All the walls are made of lightweight construction materials and can be rearranged. The operating elements based on EnOcean are then reattached to the appropriate wall, and, if necessary, the lights, heating vents and sun blinds are assigned to the new areas. “The reassignment is carried out in the controller and is accomplished in mere minutes,” explains Rensch.

The controllers can also be easily equipped with suitable interfaces for other building technology systems. At LAE, interfaces for BACNet®, Modbus® and M-Bus are used, for example. However, serial RS 232/485 interfaces are also used, as well as analog and digital inputs and outputs. “In this way, we can show our customers that we can link all standard devices and systems into an automation solution at low cost,” explains LAE’s CEO. WAGO controllers at the company’s new headquarters also control the heating and ventilation technology. In addition, the separate access and intrusion detection systems are linked in via an interface.

Visualization on an Integrated Webserver

The design, configuration and programming of the WAGO system were implemented using the e!COCKPIT automation software solution. It allows easy programming in the languages of the IEC 61131-3 standard and simultaneously offers a simple visualization, which is implemented on a Webserver contained in the controller. Using this, it is possible to change setpoints and read out and evaluate the actual values from various sensors. Work is already underway on forward-looking technology as well. For example, LAE solicited a bachelor’s thesis on voice controls. A student will soon be able to begin implementing voice control using WAGO systems.

Brief Portrait: LAE Engineering

LAE stands for Leittechnik, Automatisierung and Elektrotechnik (lighting technology, automation and electrical engineering) – the entire range offered by the engineering solutions company. “We are an engineering firm that can offer maximum impact through comprehensive specialization,” says CEO Werner Rensch. The approximately 65 employees are likewise overwhelmingly engineers and technicians. In the building technology sector, LAE implements projects exclusively for functional buildings, like office complexes, production halls, data centers and clinics.

Photo: Ulrich Roth, vor-ort-foto
Contact at WAGO: Michael Dewald

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