This energy self-sufficient multifamily housing is located in Switzerland, and is self-supplied by solar power year after year. During the winter months, when the sun intensity decreases, its energy is transformed into electrical, thermal and even fuel. This pioneering in its class apartment building was symbolically disconnected from the electricity grid during its opening ceremony.
All the energy its neighbors need for their homes, for activities such as heating, cooking, washing, etc.; is obtained in situ from sunlight. And although the energy savings in this self-sufficient multifamily housing is more than patent in all areas, its inhabitants do not see their comfort levels diminished.
This is achieved through a series of proven systems and technologies capable of obtaining and storing energy, in addition to other innovations that reduce energy consumption. The roof and the whole facade are covered with solar panels and ABB products are responsible for transporting energy to the interior of homes, the company said in a statement.
“We are proud of being part of such a flagship project. ABB’s free @home system transforms these new apartments into smart homes and our solar equipment makes it possible for the building to be self-sufficient,” explains Mike Mustapha, executive director of Building Products at ABB.
Self-sufficient multifamily housing
“Some of the home automation system functions are used to reduce energy consumption, while improving comfort levels. By means of the goodbye button, for example, all the standby devices completely turn off when leaving the apartment, “he adds.
In summer, the energy demand of the nine families for 24 uninterrupted hours is fully guaranteed with only one hour of sunlight thanks to the powerful solar systems.
To achieve this, the building has 26 ABB photovoltaic inverters that convert the DC voltage of the solar panels into AC voltage and supply electricity to the homes network.
The energy that neighbors do not consume immediately is stored and used at night, on cloudy days or during the winter. For the medium term, this is possible thanks to the use of batteries while, for the long term, a large thermal storage is used. During the winter, this thermal energy is used for heating.
To try to consume the smallest possible amount of the valuable energy that the self-sufficient multifamily housing captures, the household appliances should operate at maximum efficiency levels. In addition to the installation of refrigerators and washing machines with energy-saving functions, ABB’s free @ home automation system reduces energy consumption to very low levels.
It is also possible to configure different “scenes” in the system with the consequent improvement in the levels of comfort and ease of use; a function that, without going further, allows to differentiate the illumination level of the dining area, more attenuated, compared to the more intense illumination of the area intended for reading.
The system also recognizes the combination of different lights and offers the possibility to select them automatically. For example, if neighbors watch television with low light and curtains drawn, the home automation system warns of this combination and, if so, offers that possibility.
ABB’s free @ home automation system automatically adapts to changes in external conditions thanks to sensors installed inside and outside.
If the temperature inside the apartment is very high due to the intensity of sunlight on the window surface, the curtains will run automatically.
If the wind blows intensively and can cause potential damages in the blinds, these are raised. In this way, the home automation system of the self-sufficient multifamily housing not only guarantees greater security and energy efficiency, but it also ensures comfort.