This pilot project covers the supply and installation of the Plactherm smart tiles, customised development of a control interface, commissioning of the system, and a series of complementary activities for evaluating its performance. The tiles will become a permanent feature of the office once the pilot phase is finished.
The main aims of the project are to:
- Improve the thermal comfort of workers
- Reduce the number of complaints regarding temperature regulation
- Reduce energy consumption
- Make temperature control within the building easier
- Control energy consumption
- Automate the heating system through hourly programmes
- Enhance security, due to presence control
This initiative has come about through collaboration between Ferrovial’s Department for Innovation and Processes, the Ferrovial Agroman Machinery Depot and the start-up Plactherm.
How does the technology work?
Plactherm has developed an electrical heating system which allows for remotely controlled temperature management in the different areas defined by the user where its smart tiles are installed. The Plactherm tiles are also fitted with sensors which allow presence monitoring so that the heating system is only activated when there are people present, thus avoiding energy wastage through the heating of empty spaces.
The system is comprised by a smart tile floor, with individual temperature regulation for each tile and a zone control for management thereof; and by a wireless network through which a web server communicates with the zone controls and the wireless sensor. The following diagram shows the blocks in a Plactherm installation.
Built into the tiles are a temperature sensor and a heating resistor, which together make up a control loop for regulating the floor temperature. Once the temperature is set for a given zone through smart devices such as a mobile phone or tablet, the electronics within the tiles sets to work to reach the desired temperature and maintain it over time.
Cooperation between Ferrovial and Plactherm
In addition to the numerous initiatives developed internally by Ferrovial to drive innovation, the company believes it can add value through an open environment of alliances with entrepreneurs and start-ups. Open Innovation is the strategy of choice for Ferrovial in supporting and complementing its own internal innovation. Moreover, it is also a response mechanism to the global challenges which Ferrovial faces in the field of infrastructures and a context of rapidly evolving markets. Collaboration between Ferrovial and Plactherm is the result of Ferrovial’s commitment to Open Innovation over recent years.
Both companies came together in the Spain Start-up 2015 event, where Ferrovial participated actively, with a market place stand where start-ups and entrepreneurs were able to connect with the organisation and present their projects and business models.
The Plactherm heating system drew Ferrovial’s attention due to the fact that it allows temperature control and management in different areas within the same space, thereby improving efficiency and reducing energy consumption. The pilot project which now begins will allow validation in a real working environment of the operation and efficiency of the Plactherm system.