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Less energy consumption thanks to automatic heating control

The Osan birthplace is not only a very personal project, because it is a "family project" of our managing director in the broadest sense, but it was also an excellent test object for automatic heating control using LoRaWAN in combination with our IoT platform, the m2m Germany Cockpit.

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The heating situation in the Osan birth center before

The birthing center comprises a total of 10 rooms, including several treatment rooms, two birthing rooms and a course room.

To make the expectant mothers feel comfortable, the rooms are heated slightly more than is usual in offices, classrooms etc., for example. The comfortable temperature in the treatment and birthing rooms is around 22 °C and sometimes higher during births.

Due to the constantly irregular occupancy of the rooms, efficient heating was a real challenge until then. With spontaneous postponements of appointments, unforeseen births at night and the daily stress of midwifery, it sometimes happened that the staff forgot to turn the heating down or switch it off again. As a result, the heating in an empty room sometimes ran unnecessarily for days.

In order to save costs and energy permanently and largely automatically, an automatic heating control system could provide the ideal remedy here.

The solution: automatic heating control via LoRaWAN

LoRaWAN was quickly chosen as a suitable wireless technology for implementing the project. A LoRaWAN network of this size can be set up quickly and is cost-effective. In addition, the LoRaWAN signals also penetrate walls and transmit over several floors. This was a decisive criterion here, as the rooms extend over a total of three floors. A single LoRaWAN indoor gateway is sufficient for this. A total of 14 LoRaWAN radiator thermostats were installed in various rooms to control the heating.

Another challenge arose during the coronavirus pandemic: keeping the risk of a Covid19 infection as low as possible when several people are in a room for a long period of time. The installation of CO2 sensors, also via LoRaWAN, was therefore an obvious choice for monitoring indoor air quality.

LoRaWAN door contact sensors were also installed on the balcony doors, among other things. These detect whether a door is open or closed. This is not only another way to save unnecessary heating costs and energy consumption in case of doubt, but also increases security.

Implementation in the m2m Germany Cockpit

Two dashboards have been set up in the m2m Germany Cockpit to provide a quick overview of all relevant parameters such as room temperature, humidity, CO2 content and the status of the heating and balcony doors. The good thing is that the dashboards can be accessed not only on a laptop, but also on a smartphone.

One dashboard monitors the room temperature, humidity and heating control, while the other is used to monitor the CO2 content in the rooms.

The rule engine was used to set up automatic control of the heating thermostats and alarms:

Monitoring the room temperature and heaters

The dashboard provides an overview of the target and actual temperature of the rooms. In addition, the heating can be controlled with a simple click and the room can be heated to a predefined temperature. It is also easy to reset the temperature to the setpoint temperature with a click. For even more extensive automation, the Rule Engine has been used to define specific rules for the individual days of the week and times of day. This means that if staff forget to reset the heating manually, this happens automatically.

Monitoring indoor air quality

The CO2 values of all monitored rooms are displayed as a speedometer on this dashboard. If the CO2 level exceeds the critical value of 1000 ppm, an alarm is sent by e-mail. The CO2 level can also be read directly from the sensor display.

What it brings

  • Minimization of a possible risk of infection
  • Reduction in energy consumption for heating (gas)
  • Reduction in heating costs

Technical implementation

Component Hardware/software used
LoRaWAN gateway UG65 LoRaWAN Indoor Gateway (Milesight IoT)
Radiator thermostats Vicki LoRaWAN radiator thermostat (MClimate)
CO2 sensors AM103 LoRaWAN environmental sensor for temperature, humidity, CO2 (Milesight IoT)
Door contact sensors WS301 LoRaWAN door and window contact (Milesight IoT)
LoRaWAN network server LORIOT
IoT platform m2m Germany Cockpit
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