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Building Operating Management

BACnet Protocol Eases Automation And Integration Of Building Systems





There are definite advantages to achieving this automation and integration of building systems through BACnet. The fact that BACnet is a truly open protocol means that increasingly more manufacturers of building components are providing equipment with a BACnet interface. The BACnet protocol eases automation and integration of building systems.

"BACnet is essential to making buildings more intelligent because it provides the communications foundation to enable building systems and devices from different manufacturers to interoperate," says Wally Bjorkstrand, Daikin McQuay's product manager of controls.

What's more, it drives a lower cost, notes American Auto-Matrix's Moore. "There is no need to have custom drivers or protocols created for integration. It also allows for more choice so a building may have multiple systems from various manufacturers that are selected based on functionality and capability of that device."

Robin Smith, training manager at Reliable Controls Corp., agrees. "Although there are other open protocols available, the proliferation of components using the same protocol makes it much easier to create an intelligent building," says Smith. "Just as the ubiquity of Microsoft Windows for two decades enabled the rapid acceleration of PC hardware and software applications, the BACnet standard is enabling the intelligent building industry to move forward like never before."

Another benefit of BACnet is that there are no "minimum requirements" for an intelligent building, notes Steve Tom, director of technical information at Automated Logic. "The systems that need to be integrated depend upon the design and use of the building, as well as the needs and desires of the building occupants," Tom says. "BACnet is the 'glue' that connects these systems together. It was designed from the beginning to be a building automation standard, not just an HVAC standard."

To this end, BACnet also can provide the objects that can be used by lighting, life safety and security systems. It supports multiple network types, from low-cost, twisted pair to high-speed IP networks, and also supports wireless networking. And BACnet Web services will take this protocol well beyond a building system's physical wiring to enable analytics, building information models (BIMs), and other enterprise systems to streamline data exchange.

"BACnet is the only common ground that has been achieved, over a sustained period of time, that enables the separate disciplines to meet and exchange data in making a building smarter," notes Delta Controls' Nichols.

BACnet is continuously developing industry solutions to challenges that building owners face moving towards a smart building, says Imhof. For example, BACnet XD (extended data model) helps with the standardization of complex data from such sources as air handling units and variable air volume devices. "This is an important enabler for building owners for standardized reporting, analytics, and building optimization," says Imhof. He also cites the upcoming BACnet Web services, which will make building data more accessible to a wider set of applications and reduce the integration effort for enterprise applications; and BACnet IT, which will allow building owners to better leverage standard IT technologies. "Proprietary solutions don't have the extensive industry expertise behind them to define optimal, reliable, and future proof solutions," says Imhof. "Also, such solutions create higher integration cost."


posted on 8/19/2013

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