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ABB Central Research Center "Smart Grid Demo Lab"


The building wing in which the Swiss ABB Central Research Center is located contains small offices for three people as well as rooms with laboratory equipment (electrical engineering, computer science) and a recreation room. The building was constructed in 1967.

Within a comprehensive research project looking at the topic of SmartGrids, ABB CRC wanted to shed light on the interaction between building automation and the power grid. Therefore the electrical installation of selected wing of the building (including the luminaries) was upgraded to state of the art. This connectivity (communication) of the building automation with the power grid enabled the collection of revealing information about SmartGrid / SmartBuilding.

The building automation reacts to changes from the electricity supply company (price). Due to widespread consumption measurements it was confirmed, that an optimised lighting control enables energy saving of up to 40% (measured difference of the new lighting installation with and without constant light regulation). 

What were the challenges in fulfilling the wishes of the customer?

The main challenge was the direct communication with the SmartGrid. Further the project claims the achievement of the greatest possible energy efficiency in lighting, shutter and heating with the todays technical possibilities. In addition, loads like lighting, water dispenser, laptops, monitors, loading units should be load-dependent switched.

Why was the decision for a KNX solution made?

KNX is THE standard in building automation and offered due to a large product range the best solution.

Which measures to increase the energy efficiency of the building were intended?

The lighting control was already intended during the planning phase and provides due to presence dependent control and constant light regulation optimal light levels. 

Which savings are achieved in relation to the previous solution?

40% (lighting)


Lighting Control and Regulation

  • Switching
  • Dimming
  • Central Control
  • Time Control
  • Daylight Dependant Switching
  • Constant Light Regulation
  • Control via DALI
  • Presence dependent Control

Blind and Shutter Control

  • Time Control
  • Weather Dependant Switching (Wind, Rain, Frost)
  • Movement to Preset Positions
  • Sun Position Dependant Control (Light Steering, Glare Protection)
  • Central Control
  • Type of Sun Protection: Shutter

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

  • Time Control
  • Window Position Dependant Control
  • Presence dependant Control
  • Type of Heating / Cooling System: conventional radiator

Energy and Load Management

  • Consumption Measurement
  • Circuit / Socket Outlet Switching
  • Circuit Monitoring

Operation, Indication and Visualisation:

  • LCD Display
  • Visualisation via PC

Central Automation

  • Complex Logical Operations
  • Time Control

Interfacing to other Building Systems

  • Communication Gateway to other Systems (IP,IP-Router)

Key Data

General Facts

Owner / Investor

ABB Immobilien AG


Switzerland, Dättwil

Type of Building


Year of Construction



EPZ Elektroplaner AG, Zug

Integrator / Contractor

Burkhalter Technics AG, Zurich

Floor Space (m²)

600 m²

No. of Floors


No. of Offices / Rooms


KNX Installation Facts

Number of Lines


Number of Components


Construction Volume

200 CHF

Electrical Installation

200 CHF

KNX Proportion