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University of Queensland: Living automation for a greener campus

By: 
UB Custom Publishing
The University of Queensland in Australia won a 2014 AMX Innovation Award in the Sustainability Initiatives category
Honoree: 
University of Queensland
The control system behind the Global Change Institute Building at The University of Queensland gives users complete control of its efficiency.
The control system behind the Global Change Institute Building at The University of Queensland gives users complete control of its efficiency.

The Global Change Institute Building at The University of Queensland in Australia is designed to meet the highest standards in sustainability. The control system behind the building was meant to mesh seamlessly with the Building Management System, such that users would have control where required of internal and external blinds, louvres, shadescreens, in-slab cooling, building modes and the usual AV and lighting systems, without affecting the overall efficiency of the building.

“The control system is central to its day-to-day operation. Simple things—such as the ability to tell if it is day or night when a room is turned on and to turn the lights on or not—are key to keeping the energy usage to the lowest possible level,” says Luke Angel, manager of AV support and integration at the University of Queensland. AMX MXD 1000 touch panels were used as the standard touch panel interfaces throughout the Global Change Institute Building. One central NI3100 controller attached to a field server device is used to talk directly to the BMS system, with Master-to-Master communication between all seven spaces where master controllers are installed.

Touch panels were installed in all spaces with controllers with additional panels installed in office spaces as well as a single master panel for control by the building manager. If a button is pressed in the level-one presentation space, that command is sent to the central controller, then translated and sent to the BMS. The reply is then processed and returned to that space such that both the touch panel in the space and the central manager's interface are kept up to date with exactly the current status of the building.

The building is a "living building" that aims to work with the environment, rather than consume its resources. For instance, the building will harvest all of its own energy and water on-site, and administrators plan to operate carbon-neutral and zero-energy strategies during daily operation.

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