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A smart system for humidity control

VILPE Sense combines humidity monitoring and humidity damage prevention into one system. It dries the insulation layer when necessary: for instance, after rain or during humid autumns. It will also find and alert you to even the smallest hard-to-find leaks, so that these can be fixed before the damages grow into bigger and more expensive problems. VILPE Sense is based upon the latest IoT-technology and designed to keep the structures of your house healthy at all times.

Said about VILPE Sense:


“I can imagine VILPE Sense soon being part of the plans for many new building projects. In my opinion, this is the most important step in low, flat roof construction since bitumen material was introduced.”. Mikko Törvi, CEO for MH-Kate and Head of Finland’s roof association

“VILPE Sense in my opinion is a very smart solution that helps the building owner and others involved in the project to proactively deal with a very painful roof problem – moisture.” Kristaps Draudins, Managing Director, Controlit Factory SIA

VILPE Sense brings much longed-for automatization onto roofs. I am convinced that in the future, there will be even more similar products on roofs. In our business, we want to be part of this development. Risto Haanpää, CEO, LA-Kattohuolto

Ville

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I already have a building project

Do you have a building project and would like to have VILPE Sense? Our experts can help you plan your own smart roof. Fill in the PROJECT INFORMATION FORM below and we will provide you calculations of products needed and costs within three working days.

I would like to know more about VILPE Sense

Please provide your contact information in the form below and we will contact you shortly.

This is what VILPE Sense does

VILPE Sense measures the relative humidity and temperature of structures–for example, within roof structures or ground-level floors–and detects possible damage or leakage as soon as it occurs. The faster hidden damage is detected, the easier and cheaper it will be to repair.

In addition, the system reacts to increases in humidity by increasing the ventilation in structures or insulation layers. When moisture is quickly removed from structures, additional damage is avoided.

Benefits of using the VILPE Sense system

  • Healthy insulation layer. The system automatically ventilates a building’s insulation layers and internal structures–for example, after rain or during humid autumn conditions. This keeps the insulation layer and structures as dry as possible, significantly preventing the formation of mould or fungi within the building.
  • Better insulation layer performance. Moisture in an insulation layer significantly reduces its insulation capacity, which increases a building’s energy consumption. By minimizing the presence of moisture, VILPE Sense improves insulation layer performance and reduces the building’s energy consumption.
  • Prevents moisture damage during construction. During construction, structures are difficult to protect and therefore tend to be exposed to humidity. VILPE Sense will dry structures that have become wet during construction.
  • Increases the resale value of the property. Since VILPE Sense allows you to collect data about the humidity of your building structures, for sales purposes, the condition of the property can be proved with reliable data. The need for difficult roof structure inspections can also be reduced.
  • Quick repairs to minimize damage. When problems are detected in time, the need for unanticipated and costly renovations is reduced or even eliminated.
  • Damage allocation. When you know the area where the damage is located, repairs can be directed immediately to the right place, so they are cheaper and faster to implement.
  • Better repair assessment. When you have an idea of where a problem is, repair needs are easy to assess in advance and repairs can be carried out more systematically. Studies or repairs of structures do not need to be conducted on the basis of guesswork alone – objective, measurable data is available to support decision-making.

This is how VILPE Sense works

The VILPE Sense basic kit consists of two sensors and a control unit which are linked to an energy-efficient ECo Roof fan. One sensor monitors the temperature and relative humidity in the insulation layer, whilst the other measures that of the outdoor air. The system can be installed onto negative pressure ventilation pipes so that the structures remain intact. The data is sent to the control unit and ends up on the VILPE cloud service, where it is analysed. If the system detects excess humidity in the insulation layer, the roof fan is automatically activated to work at a higher speed until the structure is dry.

1. In one scenario, there is minor damage on the roof, from which rainwater can leak into the structures. The leak is so small that it is not detected.

2. The underpressure air vent of the roof structures is fitted with a VILPE ECO roof fan, a control unit and two sensors that measure air temperature and relative humidity. One sensor is installed on the roof in the open air and another in the structures of the roof.

3. The sensor detects an increase in humidity levels within the structure of the roof, and the data is transmitted by wireless sensors to the control unit attached to the roof fan.

The roof fan adjusts to the optimal level to remove excess moisture from the building’s internal structures. When the excess humidity has been removed, the roof fan returns to its normal activity level.

4. Sensor data is stored in the cloud for the user to access. Based on the cloud data, it can be concluded that there may be a leak in the roof.

When the damage is detected and repaired in time, extensive and costly repairs which would otherwise have to be carried out later are avoided.

What affects the accumulation of moisture within structures?

Moisture in a building’s structure is not only caused by leakages. Moisture accumulation is affected by:

  • Cold weather. Considerably more moisture accumulates in structures when the insulation layer cools down.
  • Air leaks. It is very important to block air leakage from the building. This ensures that warm and humid air does not end up in the insulation layer and increase its humidity.
  • Distances between air intake and exhaust ventilation cavities or grooves. The longer the distance is, the easier it is for moisture to accumulate in the insulation layer or insulation materials.

Many of these situations are difficult to avoid, and active moisture management is therefore required to keep structures dry and healthy. VILPE Sense is an automatic and demand-based system which will dry a building’s internal structures when necessary.

The Sense system removes moisture more efficiently than passive air circulation

During the testing phase of the VILPE Sense system, its effectiveness was compared to passive air circulation (i.e. negative pressure vents). The graph below illustrates the accumulated moisture removed from a building over the course of one month.

The results show that the VILPE Sense system removed more moisture (18 335 g = about 18 liters) than passive air circulation (3 075 g = about 3 liters). Both graphs take into account the humidity entering the building along with the ventilation air. Please note that results are likely to vary depending on the building and outdoor weather conditions.

Total moisture accumulation over one month (the previous day’s number is added or subtracted from the next day’s number).

The Sense system removes more moisture (18 335 g = about 18 liters) than passive air circulation (3 075 g = about 3 liters).

VILPE Sense system compared to passive air circulation (negative pressure vents). The graph illustrates the daily level of moisture removed from the building over the course of one month.
VILPE Sense system compared to passive air circulation (negative pressure vents). The graph illustrates the accumulated moisture removed from the building during one month.

Comparison of humidity levels after rain in three buildings

The graph illustrates the absolute humidity level in three separate buildings. The graph shows that for building 1 the absolute humidity level is higher in comparison to buildings 2 and 3. These results indicate that there might be a leak in the roof structure of building 1.

The graphs also take into account the humidity entering the building along with the ventilation air.

Note: These tables were made by VILPE and are based on data from the Sense system and rainfall statistics.

The Sense system removes more moisture (18 335 g = about 18 liters) than passive air circulation (3 075 g = about 3 liters).


The graph shows how the absolute humidity of building 1 is higher after rain compared to buildings 2 and 3. It was concluded that there may have been a leak in the roof structures of building 1.

The graphs also take into account the humidity that enters the building with the ventilation air.

Note: These tables were made by VILPE and are based on data from the Sense system and rainfall statistics.

VILPE Warehouse in Poland

The VILPE Sense system has also been installed on the roof structures of the VILPE warehouse in Poland. Below, moisture accumulation throughout July both before (blue) and after (yellow) Sense was installed can be observed.

Sense example


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User interface

VILPE Sense provides valuable data on the humidity level of structures. Sensor data is stored in the cloud service, where users can see the temperature, relative humidity, absolute
humidity, mould index and roof fan motor speed.

Data can be tracked for one or more areas. The main user can also easily share a link to the data, so that residents of an apartment building or users of public buildings, for example, can see the humidity level of the structures. The user interface works on both PC, phone and tablet.

The VILPE Sense system works on a long-range, wide-area network (LoRaWAN). Thanks to this wireless network, information is transmitted safely and efficiently from sensors to the control unit and cloud service. Network coverage is very good in Europe.

Do you have a building project and would like to have VILPE Sense? Our experts can help you plan your own smart roof. Fill in the project information form and we will provide you calculations of products needed and costs within three working days.

Would you like to know more? Please provide your contact information in the form below and we will contact you shortly.

VILPE Sense experiences

Thanks to VILPE Sense, the fault was detected and repaired

VILPE Sense was used in the buildings of a public institution. The system was installed in three different buildings, making it easier to compare data. The comparison showed that the absolute humidity of one building in rainy weather was higher than in the other two buildings.

This suggested that there was a fault in the roof structures, which caused moisture to enter the structures. The leak was located and repaired. After the renovation, the absolute humidity of this building also remained at the same level as the other buildings.

“Thanks to Sense, the structures have remained drier”

VILPE’s head office and factory in Mustasaari was a natural place to install the VILPE Sense system. A roof fan, control unit and two sensors were installed on the flat roof. In the first year, Product Manager Janne Vedenjuoksu became convinced that the system would work.

“The system works as it should. Thanks to the system, the humidity level of the structures is low compared to the outdoor air”, says Vedenjuoksu.

The larger the roof area, the more difficult it is to detect hidden problems with the ventilation of structures. The system considerably improved the ventilation of the structures.

“It is important for us to know that the roof structures will remain in good condition now and in the future. The system enhances the existing negative pressure ventilation. Even though no problems were detected on the roof of the factory, Sense makes us feel confident about the condition of the roof.”

Frequently asked questions

Why choose VILPE Sense instead of passive underpressure ventilation?

VILPE Sense improves passive, negative pressure air circulation in structures. It provides alerts when humidity increases within structures, and quickly dries them. The system can be used to improve, regulate and monitor the ventilation of structures. The collected data also makes it possible to detect hidden roof leaks.

If the roof of the building is waterproof, is there any benefit in using the Sense system?

The Sense system is more than a roof leak alarm system – it is designed to remove moisture from structures. Humidity builds up in structures due to temperature and humidity fluctuations, and the Sense system detects this moisture and removes it.

Based on the data from the system, it is also possible to detect leaks by observing how quickly moisture is removed from the structures. The ideal comparison situation is if there are several Sense systems on one roof, Sense is installed in adjacent buildings, or there are several sensors on the same property.

What is a roof fan needed for?

A roof fan is needed to keep insulation layers and structures dry. The drier the insulation, the better the insulation performance. Dry structures prevent the emergence of mould and fungi, which also extends the lifespan of the building’s structures themselves.

How much electricity does the roof fan consume? Is Sense energy-efficient?

The Sense control unit is installed in an energy-efficient VILPE EC roof fan. The control unit adjusts the operation of the roof fan as needed, so the roof fan does not consume excess energy. The fan mainly operates at a moderate speed. Its average power consumption is 5 to 10 W, which is the same amount consumed by a modern LED lamp. The annual cost of electricity used by one roof fan is only 10 to 15 euros.

How does the roof fan get replacement air to operate?

The Sense system requires enough replacement air to operate properly. This also prevents it from taking in replacement air through the building’s roof structures themselves: a sufficient amount of replacement air for the ventilation system should therefore be ensured through the use of structural solutions. A supply of replacement air can be arranged, for example, using negative pressure vents.

How does the air circulate in the system, and how does the fan affect this?

The VILPE Sense system does not stop the natural circulation of the air but rather improves it. When the roof fan is running at the lowest speed, the air circulation corresponds to the negative pressure circulation. As humidity levels in the ventilated structures rise, the roof fan speed increases. The roof fan is always on, unless the temperature is -7 °C or colder. At that temperature, the roof fan turns off so as not to excessively cool the building’s roof structures.

How does the control unit analyse how to adjust the roof fan? How can this be done without manual input?

The VILPE Sense system is demand-controlled through the control unit, based on an intelligent algorithm. The adjustments are influenced by outdoor air temperature and relative humidity. The roof fan is set to certain limit values that must not be exceeded or reduced. For example, air circulation is limited in freezing temperatures.

The algorithm controls the operation of the roof fan so that the structures remain in good condition. It is programmed to keep the ventilated area as dry as possible. The aim is to bring dry air into the building’s roof structures whilst extracting humid air.

How does the roof fan adjust in practice?

During rainy weather, for example, the humidity level of the outdoor air is high, so fan rotation is kept to a minimum so as not to replace the relatively drier indoor air with more humid air from outside. When the rain ceases and the air is drier, the rotational speed increases. The demand-controlled nature of the system maintains the optimal ventilation of structures, as the roof fan is used to remove on average six times more moisture from the structures than conventional solutions.

What is the lifetime of the VILPE Sense system?

The system itself will remain in good working order for decades. The lifetime of the sensors, on the other hand, is 10 to 15 years. The sensors will operate until the battery has been drained, after which they will need to be replaced.

Will the sensor issue an alert if it breaks?

If the sensor breaks or the battery runs out of power, this will be indicated in the Sense user interface. When the sensor is working, it is indicated in green in the interface. By contrast, grey indicates that a fault has occurred in the sensor and/or it has become unresponsive.

How do I scale the system? How large of an area does one roof fan cover?

One roof fan usually covers an area of 200 m2. However, this depends heavily on the structure, construction, type of ventilation and a number of other factors. Always consult structural ventilation professionals before installing the system.

How wide an area do the Sense’s sensors cover?

One sensor in the ventilated area is enough to monitor the area covered by one roof fan.

How is the system controlled if there are multiple sensors?

At least two sensors are required to control the roof fan: one outside and one in the structures (target area). The control unit adjusts the roof fan using the data from the two sensors. Several sensors can be installed in the ventilated area if data is to be collected more widely or more accurately. If the ventilated area has more than one sensor, any one of them can be selected to feed the control unit.

How fast does the system work after installation?

The system starts working immediately after being connected. However, it will take approximately 7 hours to charge the internal capacitors in the transmitter that feeds the data to the user interface.

In practice you will be able to tell that the system is working and properly connected as the fan will start running immediately, but it will take the above-mentioned time before you can see the data in the user interface.

How long is the warranty for the system?

The system has a two-year warranty.

What if the building owner changes?

The admin user can delete the admin rights from the device settings. This enables a new admin registration. The new admin user has to have a personal user account.

If the old admin user is unknown, it is possible to request the admin user to free the device and its admin rights using the control unit serial number. This request is sent to the old admin user by email.

In situations where the old admin user does not react to the email request, please contact VILPE customer service, which is able to free the old user rights for new registrations.

Ville

Are you interested?

I already have a building project

Do you have a building project and would like to have VILPE Sense? Our experts can help you plan your own smart roof. Fill in the project information form and we will provide you calculations of products needed and costs within three working days.

I would like to know more

Please provide your contact information in the form below and we will contact you shortly.