In the last decade the demand for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems has increased significantly due to the improvement in quality of life standards among the population and consequent higher standards of well being, as well as from the high rate of new building construction. This evolution has lead to a higher rate of increase in energy consumption within the building sector in comparison with all the sectors of the Portuguese economy. This sector in particular has a 12% growth per year. On the other hand, the absence of minimum requirements related to air renovation, the reduced control over the performance of facilities and inadequate routines for proper facilities maintenance have lead to problems related to interior air quality, some of them with significant impact on public health.
This project developed an interior air quality management system that is able to monitor air quality and to control the operation of HVAC equipment. The system incorporates specific sensors for the acquisition of data related to each contaminant considered in Decree Law no. 79/2006, namely: carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, ozone, formaldehyde and suspended particles.
These sensors are connected to a monitoring and control central station through a wireless mesh network. The data will be collected and treated through a management software developed with algorithms to control the in-flow of air and to maintain the concentration of all contaminants within the legal safety limits using a minimum amount of energy. A reduction in energy consumption related to the efficient management of HVAC systems of up to 35% is expected.