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Building Service Controls and Meters

Building service controls and meters are integral components of new build homes, playing a critical role in energy management and enhancing occupant comfort.

This page provides homeowners with a detailed guide on effective heating controls, as well as ventilation and electric controls, covering the key considerations and best practices for each.

From ensuring the accessibility and simplicity of heating controls to the smart integration of ventilation and electrical systems, this guide offers practical advice to ensure these systems are not only efficient but also user-friendly.

Understanding how to effectively manage and control these systems is crucial for homeowners to optimise energy usage, reduce costs, and maintain a comfortable living environment in their new homes.

 

Heating Controls

Effective heating controls are essential in new build homes for efficient energy use and occupant comfort. However, challenges can arise due to poorly designed or inaccessible control systems. Here’s a guide for homeowners on what to consider for heating controls:

Accessibility of Controls

A common issue is controls being hidden or difficult to access, making it hard for occupants to adjust settings. Controls for the Heat Interface Unit (HIU) and other heating elements should be easily accessible and readable.

Placement of Programmer

The programmer, which allows residents to set heating schedules, should be placed in an obvious and accessible location. This ensures that occupants can easily program and adjust heating settings as needed.

Simplicity and Usability

Install heating controls that are simple to use. Complicated and small controls can be frustrating and may deter residents from using them effectively, leading to inefficient heating and increased energy costs.

Easy-to-Read Meters

Ensure that meters, such as those for energy consumption or temperature, are easy to read and placed in accessible locations. This helps occupants monitor their energy use and adjust settings accordingly.

Smart Controls and Meters

Consider installing smart controls and meters. These advanced systems can offer more precise control over heating, improve energy efficiency, and can often be operated remotely via smartphones or tablets, providing added convenience.

User-Friendly Interface

The interface of the controls should be user-friendly, with clear labels and instructions. This is especially important in homes with advanced heating systems like underfloor heating or systems integrated with renewable energy sources.

Training and Information for Occupants

Provide training or clear instructions to occupants on how to use the heating controls effectively. Understanding how to operate the system efficiently can significantly impact energy consumption and overall comfort.

By focusing on these aspects of heating controls, homeowners can ensure their home is comfortably heated and energy-efficient, with controls that are easy to use and understand.

 

Ventilation and Electric Controls

Proper controls for ventilation and electrics are crucial for ensuring energy efficiency and ease of use in new build homes. However, there are common challenges that homeowners might face with these systems. Here’s a guide on what to consider for ventilation and electrical controls:

Labelling of Controls

A frequent issue is that fan controls and other switches are not labelled, leading to confusion about their function. It’s important to label all controls and switches clearly for easy use and maintenance. This includes labels for boost switches, thermostats, and any other control elements.

Visible and Accessible Controls

Controls should be obvious, marked, and easily accessible. Hidden or unmarked controls can lead to improper usage or neglect, affecting the home’s ventilation and energy efficiency.

Reducing Standby Power Consumption

Many appliances consume power even when on standby, leading to unnecessary energy use in unoccupied homes. Installing a whole-house shutdown unit can help prevent this wasted electricity usage, allowing occupants to easily turn off all non-essential power.

Feedback Mechanisms

Controls should provide feedback to confirm that ventilation or other systems are operating. This can be as simple as a light indicator on a boost switch or more advanced feedback through smart control systems.

Smart Controls and Automatic Demand Sensors

Consider installing smart controls that can adapt to the occupants’ usage patterns and environmental factors. Automatic demand controls, humidity sensors, and CO2 sensors can help optimise ventilation and electrical use, enhancing comfort and energy efficiency.

Whole House Shutdown Feature

A whole-house shutdown feature is particularly useful for ensuring all non-essential electrics are turned off when the home is unoccupied, reducing unnecessary energy consumption.

Simple, Low-Tech Options

While advanced smart controls offer many benefits, sometimes simple, low-tech controls can be more user-friendly, especially for individuals not comfortable with complex systems.

By addressing these aspects, homeowners can ensure their home’s ventilation and electrical systems are efficient, easy to use, and contribute to the overall comfort and sustainability of the property.