FIBARO, the Polish smart home brand, started a strategic partnership with AirZone beginning of 2023. Together both brands are trying to present a concept of multi-zone smart air conditioning as a tool to increase savings on energy. The compatibility list of AC units working with FIBARO system is increasing on a regular basis. Due to the innovative, plug-and-play Aidoo Z-Wave module opportunities for integration are now higher than ever. Fernando de la Cruz, AirZone Area Manager for Central Europe, has shared his experience with wireless smart home.
– Good morning Fernando, it is a pleasure to talk to you. Please describe AirZone in a couple of sentences.
– Good morning! Airzone is a Spanish tech company that manufactures smart HVAC control solutions. Our objective is to provide our customers with thermal comfort, improve energy efficiency, and provide them with user-friendly management of their facilities.
– How in your opinion has the HVAC market changed after COVID-19 time? Have we noticed any significant changes?
-The most significant change has come from indoor air quality’s prominence. We spend more than 90% of our time indoors and have been aware of the importance of ventilation, filtration, purification and air quality sensors in HVAC installations. Also, with the lockdown we have spent a lot of time at home, and this has made many people reevaluate and improve their homes: apart from office furniture, kitchen improvements, gym products, etc. a lot of money has been invested in facilities, especially in HVAC and smart homes systems.
– The climate change is a fact. How AirZone system can help us to survive when the temperature outside in Spain exceeds even 30 degrees during the night? Such abnormalities have been noticed also in various parts of Europe this year.
– Climate change is a challenge for all of us. We need to find a balance between comfort and consumption. Airzone plays a fundamental role in here as its solutions help end-users maintain a comfortable indoor temperature while minimizing energy consumption. It is important to remark that HVAC control should be combined with other measures like good thermal isolation, solar panels, shades, efficient equipment like heat pumps, LED lights… and this is where smart home systems can contribute to integrate and coordinate all these technologies in order to improve the energy efficiency.
– How big is the HVAC market in central Europe according to your estimations?
– This is a tough question to answer as HVAC is a broad concept. Experts say it might be between 7-10 billion Euros. Heating and ventilation are quite big in this region. The cooling market, on the other hand, is dominated mainly by the tertiary and the industrial sector. Due to climate change, cooling might be more frequent in the residential sector in the future. Heat pumps play a very important role here because, in addition to being very efficient, they can provide heating in winter and cooling in summer. When it comes to boilers, you will need to acquire new equipment for cooling.
– How FIBARO installers can start working with AirZone in the most convenient way for them?
– For those who are going to start working with Airzone, I recommend Aidoo Z-Wave. It is a product for integrating inverter/VRF equipment in FIBARO systems. It is easy to install and very simple and fast to integrate. Once you are familiar with Airzone, I recommend trying our systems. We provide efficiency and comfort algorithms for any kind of HVAC installation without making complex integration with FIBARO.
– What are the biggest benefits of integration between FIBARO gateways and AirZone modules?
– As I said before, good integration and coordination between the different technologies in the houses makes the difference when it comes to energy consumption and comfort. On the other hand, integrating Airzone in FIBARO systems will provide the HVAC installation with algorithms such as inertia control for the underfloor heating, the combined control function when we have air conditioning and underfloor heating in the same area, anti-condensation algorithms when we work with a cooling floor or chilled beams, algorithms for improving performance of the inverter in air conditioning units, control for heat pumps and distribution equipment depending on the demand of the house, etc. and all this in a transparent way to the integrator.
– What kind of challenges do you see in the future for HVAC installers and system integrators in Poland and rest of the central Europe?
– In my opinion, the main challenge is training. Regulations and standards regarding HVAC and control are being promoted by the European Union. There is a clear commitment to the heat pump and control to reach 2030 goals. Many specialized engineers and technicians are needed to specify and install this type of equipment and they need to update their knowledge and skills to work with new products and control systems. Manufacturers will also have to commit in order to avoid supply chain disruptions and delays.
– Have you calculated savings for an end user of Airzone modules on electricity? Do you have any estimations?
– Energy efficiency is in our DNA. Since the beginning we have been working with the Energy Department of the Engineering School of Malaga University. We have many studies with them which prove our savings. The results will always depend on which technology you are using and what are you comparing with. For instance, we have one study that compares the traditional air conditioning installation in Spain and our solution. It provides savings of 30-50%, depending on the algorithm that the end-user selects. For us, it is very important to show not only the efficiency but also the comfort, because energy saving cannot compromise the comfort of the users. For the last two years, our systems can integrate consumption meters so users can check themselves these savings.
– Thank you for your time!
– Thank you!