A complete networked home tends to be very comfortable and offers also much possibilities to save energy. But realizing complex building technologies, the specialists have to have a knowledge of all the relevant trades: Systems integrators ensure smooth incorporation and interaction of all systems. Such system integrators support architects and developers on construction projects and guarantee the right solution. Klaus Geyer from Eckental is a system integrator and handled integration of the various facilities technology component at the villa in Thuringia. And was rewarded with the Gira System Integrators AWARD 2014 in the “Residential Buildings” category for his efforts. Stylepark talked with Klaus Geyer about the challenges of using intelligent buildings technology.
What exactly are the tasks of a system integrator?
Klaus Geyer: A system integrator has to know all the technological solutions for facilities and all the different technologies used in entertainment electronics. His goal is to provide a solution that hooks up all the systems within a house in a network such that they can be controlled form a single interface and optimally interact. Let’s assume, for instance, I want to watch TV in the living room, then when I step into the room, the light goes on, the hi-fi system turns on and the blinds move to the required position.
Why do so many developers still hesitate to integrate these systems? Where do you discern the hurdles?
Geyer: The market is very limited. There are many products that suggest to consumers they can do everything. And often the companies handling the work are not able to optimally install products as they lack the time and leisure to concern themselves closely with this complex topic. The companies’ service partners are another obstacle at present as regards heating and climate control technology. Is it the heating engineer or the programmer who provides the guarantees on installation of the appliances. At the end of the day, you have an unhappy client who has acquired an expensive product that doesn’t function the way he had hoped.
And this is the expertise of a Gira system integrator?
Geyer: Exactly, I consider all the service partners and the facilities technology and address the developer’s wishes. The core product I use is Gira’s KNX system. It enables me to interlink all the IT and building control systems. Meaning the different software products can be integrated and then controlled using the Gira Homeserver.
So you work directly at the interface between the trades and the developer?
Geyer: Yes. I can even support the project during the architectural design phase. In fact, that would be best I believe. I then contact all the service partners who will take part in the project, such as the heating engineer and the electricians. You could say I’m like the conductor who ensures all the musicians harmonize.
What were your greatest challenges with the villa project in Thuringia?
Geyer: The greatest challenge was the intelligent power storage system. The unit generates energy using a solar PV plant and the developers wanted to store excess electricity rather than input it into the grid. They wanted a house that was as autonomous as possible. Battery storage was the option chosen, and it can now be controlled using the Gira KNX system. In this way, the storage system provides the power during the night and the developers can also follow energy consumption levels on the monitor.