Industry Insight – What is BACnet?
You may have heard the term “BACnet” before, especially if you’ve been working with heating and air conditioning professionals to optimize commercial HVAC and energy usage. But do you know what BACnet is? It’s not a problem if you don’t! Keep reading and you’ll get a basic idea of what this HVAC term signifies.
BACnet is a data communication protocol for Building Automation and Controls Networks. Essentially, it’s a set of rules governing the exchange of data over a computer network. The rules take the form of a written specification that spells out what is required to conform to the protocol. To make this easier to understand, think of BACnet as a common language between multiple different types of equipment in their unique situations.
BACnet was developed by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers), which is a society which focuses on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry. As ASHRAE puts it, “Through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today.”
The language of BACnet uses three key items: objects, services and properties. Objects are the devices, inputs and outputs. Services are the communications, or messages, sent and received between objects; the object that provides the service is a server and the object that requests the service is the client. Properties contain information about the objects. Each object may be made up of many properties. Properties can be added, removed or modified to accommodate each object’s abilities.
Interestingly, BACnet has a host of capabilities that are easily expanded to include not only the control of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning, but also lighting control, access control, and fire detection systems and their associated equipment.
BACnet is being rapidly adopted around the world. Although the US is the primary user of this technology, it is also an ISO global standard, a European pre-standard, and is used in more than 30 countries.
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