Supporting the Olympics with intelligent building controls

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Intelligent lighting control technology from ABB played a major role in heightening the drama at the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

The ibus KNX technology was supplied to the National Stadium, also known as the Birds Nest, to enable intelligent automation and control of all lighting, central automation, heating/ventilation control and energy management in the stadium.

ABB's ibus KNX technology played an instrumental role in the 2008 Beijing Olympics by implementing intelligent automation technology, including lighting control at one of the world's most iconic sporting venues.

The National Stadium, which served as the main venue throughout the 2008 summer Olympics and Paralympics, comprises a 91,000 seater-venue, an 80-room four-star hotel, a restaurant with views of the athletics track and a twin-level underground shopping centre.

The project required ABB to supply its KNX intelligent building technology to control the lighting and central automation in the National Stadium, including the essential components of the substation that enables power to flow both to the national stadium and the ‘water cube' aquatic centre.

The technology within the Birds Nest is controlled via a general-purpose workstation (e.g. PC) that is networked to the i-bus KNX system. This provides full visualisation via a PC for operation tasks, including a number of functional sub-systems within the building. This enables the Birds Nest to have optimal, energy efficient interaction with its sub-systems, and control of interactive functions including lighting control, central automation, heating/ventilation control and energy management.

ABB also provided the technology to protect the venue from electrical faults. The National Stadium is protected with ABB's i-bus KNX switch actuators with load current detection, to observe and measure electrical current and prevent the generation of spikes in the current. This makes the technology particularly suitable for switching loads with high peak inrush currents such as fluorescent lighting. The venue is also protected against earth faults with ABB's residual current devices (RCDs) designed to trip and disconnect the supply of electricity in the event of such a fault. To avoid problems during the 2008 games, an ABB employee was also on hand to keep an eye on the installation throughout the ceremony.

In modern buildings, lighting is more than just a basic requirement; it can play an important role in the architectural design and the energy efficiency of the building, as well as for the health, safety and well being of the occupants. Beijing's National Stadium is now equipped with an impressive spectrum of products for lighting control, including light scenes and emergency lighting enabling lights to be switched on quickly and at full power during emergencies.