ASHRAE to sponsor BACnet® short course

“An Introduction to BACnet®” will be presented by ASHRAE Monday, January 21 at 2:30 p.m. at the Javits Center, in New York City. The course, which is part of the ASHRAE Winter Meeting, is designed to help students understand some of the elements required to successfully plan for BACnet and some of the complex issues that must be addressed to achieve interoperability.

Students learn that interoperability covers a wide range of possible options, and how to simplify interoperability by defining specific areas where interoperability is required. Also discussed are the basic components of any multi-vendor or multi-discipline BACnet control system, how different systems can be merged together using BACnet, and how BACnet facilitates the integration of older systems with BACnet-based systems.
The three-hour course does not discuss specific manufacturers, alternatives to BACnet, or BACnet specification writing. Attendees receive a discount toward the purchase of Standard 135-2001 - BACnet and the BACnet CD-ROM. The registration fee is $105 for ASHRAE members; $139 for non-members, and the course earns 3 PDHs/.3 CEUs or 3 AIA LUs.

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Contemporary Controls announces its membership in BACnet® International

Contemporary Controls announced that as part of its commitment to the BACnet® community, the company is now an active member of BACnet International. “We joined this organization because we view the BACnet community as a strong force in the building automation arena, with which it will help get our products out to more customers,” said sales manager Joe Stasiek.

“We are developing and marketing products to provide ease-of-use in the BACnet/IP area. The focus of these products is to utilize the existing Ethernet structured wiring to provide simple and cost-effective addition of sensors and actuators with a minimum of wiring and less disruption of personnel in the office.

As members of BACnet International, the company attended its first Plugfest in October. “I think a huge benefit is the camaraderie that you receive from networking with other members,” explained Stasiek.  “At Plugfest we were able to exchange new ideas and solve problems other members were having with technology. Their expertise impressed us much.” Some of these members were from Honeywell and Delta Controls. Members were involved in the design, manufacturing installation, commissioning, and maintenance of control equipment that uses BACnet for communication.

Stasiek said the company’s membership enables it to see the challenges that it will encounter in the marketplace. “We’ll have the opportunity to work closer with the other companies to make changes as time passes,” explained Stasiek. “But more importantly, Contemporary Controls will be able to become more visible and be represented as a significant voice within the BACnet community.”

Tridium announces record attendance at 2007 European Niagara Forum

Tridium Inc. announced that its 2007 European Niagara Forum held on October 18-19 in Amsterdam was a tremendous success with attendance increasing by 60% over the previous conference.

This year’s conference attracted a record number of integrators, consultants, manufacturers, endusers, and developers from 16 countries throughout Europe and the Middle East with every segment of the Niagara Community well represented.

The Niagara Forum, along with the bi-annual Niagara Summit held in the U.S., are the definitive conferences for industry professionals and practitioners developing applications and deploying solutions built around open, interoperability, integration, and connectivity - all things Niagara.

The Niagara Forum offered sessions on significant industry topics including Smart Services, the Operation of Sustainable Buildings, and Cisco’s Connected Real Estate Initiative. In addition, there were several breakout tracks and workshops that covered a wide range of business and technical topics. Attendees also exchanged ideas, discovered the latest next-generation Niagara-based solutions and forged partnerships with fellow Niagara Community colleagues.

Marc Petock, director of global marketing & communications, attributed the success to several factors including “the continued growth of Niagara as the automation infrastructure technology of choice for connecting devices and equipment systems into unified systems, as well as new Niagara-based products and applications that have been recently introduced into the market.”

Commenting on the event, Terry Casey, managing director EMEA for Tridium, said, “The impressive increase in attendance reflects the strong state of the industry throughout Europe and the Middle East as well as the developing market for smart services and converged IP-based solutions coming together within the Niagara Ecosystem to provide real cost and operational benefits for users who deploy this technology.”

The next Niagara Community event, the 2008 Niagara Summit takes place May 4-6, 2008 in Tampa, FL. Additional information can be found

ISO standards in the land of Pyramids

The BACnet ISO/TC 205, Building Environment Design Committee met in Cairo, Egypt in November to discuss, among other topics, the continuing development of the 16484 series of ISO standards on control system design, of which BACnet (16484-5) and its companion testing standard (16484-6) play a central role.

These discussions take place in Working Group 3 among experts from Australia, Austria, Japan, Korea, Norway, Sweden, and the U.S. Representing the U.S. and ASHRAE SSPC 135 were Steve Bushby and Mike Newman, past chairmen and Bill Swan, current chairman. One result of the meeting was the determination that 16464-3, Functions, had finally been republished by ISO to correct the mis-publication of an earlier draft version.

Also, discussions of 16484-4, Applications, and 16484-7, Implementation, centered on providing suggestions to the drafting committee within CEN/TC 247. These two parts are under “CEN lead” pursuant to the “Vienna Agreement” between ISO and CEN that is designed to prevent duplication of work on the same area of standardization by both ISO and CEN committees.

A Tale of Two Plugfests - Milwaukee and Stuttgart

In October, BACnet International held U.S. and European Interoperability Workshops, or “Plugfest” events, which allowed vendors to test their BACnet products with BACnet devices from other vendors in a neutral and friendly environment.

Hosted by Johnson Controls, the 8th annual Interoperability Workshop took place at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, October 16-18, 2008. This year the event was attended by a record 108 engineers from 34 different companies from six different countries. On the first day of the workshop, the group was divided into 46 different teams forming 23 work groups per session. Each team participated in eight work sessions.

Training sessions were offered on the second day as an alternative to attending additional testing sessions. On the third day, time was provided for teams to schedule their own free-form sessions with other teams.

This year’s participants were: ABB, Aircuity, Alerton, American Auto-Matrix, Automated Logic, Carrier, Chipkin Automation Systems, Chloride, Cimetrics, Contemporary Controls, Delta, Fieldserver, Heat Timer, Honeywell HBS, ITT, Johnson, KMC, Leviton, Loytec, Lumisys, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Notifier, Phoenix, Reliable, Schneider Electric, Siemens, SoftDel, TAC, Touch-Plate Lighting, Trane, Trend, Tridium, Viconics and Wattstopper.

Two weeks later, October 29-30, the Stuttgart Plugfest was held at the WSPLab. This event set the European record for attendance with 20 participating companies, and the devices tested covered the range from simple B-ASC and B-AAC to B-BC and B-OWS conformant machines. Five manufacturers tested their MS/TP devices while 15 companies brought BACnet/IP devices to the party. The BACnet capabilities were built into VSDs, DDC controllers, graphical workstations, and gateways. Altogether there were nine 2-hour test sessions.

The companies participating were: ABB, CA Computer Automation, Danfoss, GFR, Kieback & Peter, Honeywell, Johnson, Loytec, MBS, Plüth Gebäudeautomation, Priva, Regel Partners, Saia-Burgess, Sauter, SE-Electronic, Siemens, SysMik, Trend and Wago Kontakttechnik.

Alerton selected for Bahrain City Center's BAS

Alerton  has been selected to provide the BAS for the Bahrain City Center being developed by the Majid Al Futtaim Group. Located in Manama, capital of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Bahrain City Center will feature more than 350 stores, a 20-screen cinema, an indoor water park and Magic Planet, a family entertainment center. The 1,476,378-sq-ft, three-level shopping mall, scheduled for completion by June 2008, will be the largest of its kind in Bahrain.

“Having experienced integration difficulties in the past, installing an open system in the Center was important to the client,” said Barbara Popoli Alerton’s general manager. “Y.K. Almoayyed & Sons, our Bahrain dealer, is installing a top-to-bottom BACnet® system based on Alerton’s industry leading technology allowing for easy integration with other systems and components.”

The complete Alerton solution for the Bahrain City Center includes 1,500 field-level controllers, 12 global controllers and two operator workstations. The project consists of 30,000 data points including integration with VFDs, a chiller management system, emergency lighting, a fire alarm system, and a boiler and BTU meter.

“The local presence of a trained Alerton dealer in Bahrain is crucial to the project,” said Mohammad Hattab, Alerton’s regional sales manager for the Middle East. “Having an extensively trained Alerton dealer who is onsite every day with comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of the project puts the client at ease.”

BACnet® interfaces help Carrier water cooled chillers exceed expectations at Hawaii installation

Pioneer Plaza, LLC, the owner of Pioneer Plaza in Honolulu, is dedicated to providing their tenants, such as the elite Plaza Club, a comfortable environment. With the plaza’s original chillers becoming unreliable and with ever-increasing energy rates, it was time to replace the aging chillers, especially since Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), the local utility company, provides energy rebates for high efficiency equipment. The owners turned to Power and Systems Inspection Group and its vice president, Leslie Taniyama, for an energy efficient and environmentally sound design.

Two 350-ton Carrier 19XRV Evergreen® centrifugal chillers with VSDs and CarrierOne™/BACnet® interfaces were selected to replace two existing 300-ton centrifugal chillers. The 19XRV’s efficiency, reliability, size, weight, low sound levels, R-134a refrigerant and the expertise of the Carrier engineering, sales, and service staff were all factors in selecting Carrier.

$1.8 million project will improve energy efficiency for Pennsylvania School District

The Conemaugh Township Area School District in Davidsville, PA., has signed a $1.8 million performance contract with the Energy Solutions division of TAC.  TAC will provide facility upgrades to improve operations, comfort, and efficiency at three district schools. TAC guarantees that the district will reduce utility costs by more than $100,000 annually when the project is completed. “TAC partnered with the district to diagnose our issues and design a solution that maximized our energy savings and addressed our important heating, air conditioning and facilities needs in one creative, comprehensive project,” said Gina Rembold, business manager, Conemaugh Township Area School District. “TAC’s program aligns very well with our low-risk philosophy, and we are also pleased to work with a company that can actually track and guarantee the savings we will receive.”

TAC is delivering this project through performance contracting, a turnkey method whereby the design, construction, commissioning, and performance measurement are incorporated into one guaranteed fixed price. Improved facility efficiency, comfort, financial management, and environmental protection are among the long-term results TAC delivers as the single provider accountable for all aspects of the project.

Performance contracting projects are funded in a variety of ways, including general obligation bond funds, maintenance reserve funds, and financing secured against guaranteed energy savings. TAC guarantees the amount of savings the projects will achieve and agrees to pay the difference if that amount is not realized. Typically, new, more efficient equipment and upgraded facility automation systems generate the utility savings, as well as maximize energy efficiency and improve occupant comfort.

A variety of problems plagued the Conemaugh Township Schools, such as aging, poorly performing HVAC systems; inefficient boilers that had exceeded their useful life and required replacement; domestic hot water units that were old and in poor condition; ineffective pneumatic building controls that were costly to repair and maintain; a deficient building envelope that led to tremendous outside air infiltration, creating discomfort and energy waste; and inadequate and inefficient lighting. As a result, the school district’s facilities consumed excessive energy, costing the district in unnecessary utility charges and not allowing those tax dollars to be used most effectively.

The Conemaugh Township District turned to TAC for a solution. Through the performance contract, TAC will implement a variety of energy conservation measures (ECMs) at the district’s primary, intermediate and high schools. These include installing a districtwide DDC EMS that will allow the three school buildings to be controlled from one location; upgrading the HVAC systems; installing new boilers, pumps and boiler controls; building envelope air sealing, and weatherstripping; and adding efficient and improved lighting.

“Students, faculty, and other staff at Conemaugh Township Schools will enjoy a better learning and working environment once these facility improvements are completed,” said Wes McDaniel, vice president of TAC Energy Solutions. “From improved lighting quality, to standardized, integrated controls with remote access in all three buildings, to HVAC infrastructure improvements, the performance contract will thoroughly update these facilities and provide significant energy savings.”

Cimetrics and others, working to develop load-shedding object for BACnet

Cimetrics announced that is working with ASHRAE’s BACnet committee and the U.S. National Institute of Standards & Technologies (NIST) and several others “to develop a load-shedding object for BACnet,” according to Cimetrics CEO Jim Lee. What they come up with will have a standardized software and methodology for load shedding and play a role in load-shedding programs. And it will be built into “all of the products” that go into future BAS.

The process is expected to take a few years, said Lee, but he sees the commercial and institutional buildings world offering a “richer playing field” for load shedding than residential, for example. Demand Response (DR) is “icing on the cake” for Cimetrics, noted Lee.

“We’re talking about eliminating a significant amount of baseline load as well as giving people some benefit with what they can do with the peaks.” All the attention to efficiency and DR in Congress and in the utility world will no doubt boost Cimetrics’ business, Lee predicted. “We’ve been in this space for a very long time and the sales cycles of our services business – this information mining business – has been coming down significantly,” he added.