From the Field

BACnet International and EnOcean Alliance to Develop Gateway Specification

BACnet International and the EnOcean Alliance, an international consortium of 130 companies from the building sector, have announced EnOcean's cooperation with BACnet's Wireless Networking-Working Group (WN-WG) to develop a vendor independent gateway specification for integrating EnOcean-based wireless energy-harvesting nodes into the data-communications protocol for building automation and control.

As the only wireless standard offering self-powered operation, EnOcean technology requires neither batteries nor maintenance, thus accommodating wide-scale deployment of wireless sensing solutions in commercial buildings, including BACnet-based building-automation systems. Recent meetings between the two organizations have opened the door to the full integration of wireless EnOcean and wired BACnet-enabled technologies, with the result that an EnOcean interoperability proposal was drafted for the BACnet committee meeting at the recent AHR Expo in Orlando, Fla.

BACnet is defined in the ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 135-2008, BACnet—A Data Communication Protocol for Building-Automation and Control Networks, and ISO 16484-5. The working group's current standardization efforts aim to ensure the interoperability of multiple EnOcean and BACnet solutions available today or in development, as well as future implementations.

"The task at hand is to define common implementation rules for an EnOcean/BACnet gateway," Dave Robin, chairman of the BACnet Technical Working Group, said. "This will entail a number of issues, including specifying the network topology and the BACnet/EnOcean objectives needed to define a single model so that all implementations will be interoperable."

As the organization responsible for promoting the use of BACnet technologies for building automation, BACnet International sees this as a significant achievement.

Leveraging the strengths of both technologies will create long-term value by allowing the existing wired BACnet infrastructure to seamlessly add wireless devices for additional functionality and greater energy savings.

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