BACnet International, Marietta, Ga., and the EnOcean Alliance, San Ramon, Calif., announced its 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 world's leading 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 opening the floodgate to 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 has been drafted for the BACnet committee meeting at AHR Expo in Orlando, Fla. BACnet -- a data communication protocol for building automation and control networks -- is defined in the ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 135 - 2008 and also the international standard ISO 16484-5.

The working group's current standardization efforts aim to ensure the interoperability of multiple EnOcean and BACnet solutions available or in development, as well as future implementations. "The task at hand is to define common implementation rules for an EnOcean/BACnet gateway, " says Dave Robin, chairman of the BACnet Technical Working Group. "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. "The world has evolved toward a wired and wireless infrastructure, and it is a significant step to bridge these together with a standard mechanism for building automation suppliers and users, " says Andy McMillan, president of BACnet International and president/CEO of Teletrol Systems, Manchester, N.H. He adds, "In the IT world, wired and wireless interoperability has long since been accomplished. I am very happy to be involved in the effort to make this available for the building automation industry. "

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. "As a practical, wireless extension of BACnet solutions, EnOcean technology is ideal for lowering the cost of ownership in retrofits and new buildings, " says Graham Martin, chairman and CEO of EnOcean Alliance. "As a field-proven solution for the BACnet environment, many facilities have already successfully deployed wireless solutions in which EnOcean and BACnet technologies are interoperating to reduce installation and maintenance costs, along with providing energy savings beyond 30%."