Controls standards updates proposed

A series of updates have been proposed for the existing BACnet building controls standards to reduce installation costs and account for advances in technology.

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By  Administrator Published  March 17, 2008

A series of updates have been proposed for the existing BACnet building controls standards to reduce installation costs and account for advances in technology.

Proposals include recommending a public review for an addendum that would tunnel BACnet over ZigBee wireless networks.

Proposed Addendum Q would lead to a significant reduction in the cost of installation at the sensor and controller level by reducing the amount of wired networking required in a building automation system according to Jerry Martocci, convener of the BACnet committee's Wireless Networking working group.

"Marrying these two technologies seemed obvious," stated Martocci. "BACnet already had the object and services model designed specifically for building automation but no wireless network, and ZigBee had the wireless capabilities but no object model for building automation. We just had to put the two together to benefit from the synergies," he added.

The addendum recommendation process has been underway for two years, with a series of meetings held between BACnet and ZigBee experts to determine viable solutions. For technical reasons, battery-operated devices such as sensors are likely to be ZigBee only, but powered controllers would have BACnet/ZigBee capability.

The BACnet committee is working towards the approval of nine additional addenda. "Only a few of these are going out for first public review," explained Swan, "but it is our expectation that these are all likely to pass without significant comments."

One such proposal is Addendum J, support for physical access control, which was drafted by the Life Safety and Security working group comprised of BACnet and experts from the physical security industries. A further addendum that is being prepared for public review is Addendum I, support for lighting applications, which was drafted by the Lighting Applications working group, comprised of representatives from lighting controls manufacturers and BACnet experts.

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