Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Speaking at ASHRAE!

One advantage of a year-end vacation is being able to catch up on things. Last week I was plowing through e-mail and decided to look at BACnet International's new monthly industry newsletter, "Cornerstones." (You can sign up for it here.)

In it was a note about the BACnet International education track during the upcoming AHR Expo. I remembered I had put my hat in the ring when BACnet International called for speakers, but I hadn't heard anything more. So I clicked through to see who is speaking on what, and there are a number of interesting topics including energy efficiency, green buildings and the Smart Grid. Not to mention BACnet ("BACnet 101" sounded like it would be a David Fisher topic, but it appears not). The only problem is that my meeting schedule is now 100% full from Thursday morning through Tuesday afternoon, with possible short breaks on Sunday.

But then, at the end I saw a title that sounded familiar: "Energy Standards and Energy Efficiency with BACnet." Hmmm... It took a while before I found that if I clicked on the title I got all the information, and yup, I'm speaking. All I can guess is that the notice got lost in my little laptop/email fiasco in November. And for the time, I think it overlaps two concurrent meetings but oh well.

Date: Tuesday, February 1st
Time: 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Room: N103
Exhibitor: BACnet Intl.
Description: As the demand for more energy-efficient buildings has grown, the number of ways for achieving more energy-efficient buildings, and saving money, using their building automation systems have also grown. Many successful strategies have been incorporated into ASHRAE and LEED standards and guidelines. This session will look at the various strategies presented in these standards and guidelines, and how they have been successful in the real world.
Cost: FREE
How To Register: No Registration Required
Speaker: Bill Swan, LEED AP, Buildings Standards Initiatives Leader, Alerton

Now all I need are the master slides.

Back of the BAC Cave

With some time off at home at year's end I've been able to catch up on a few small projects. One is sort through pictures taken during the year. Among them were some new shots of the BAC Cave, showing off the new "basket" lamp given by my sister to balance the one she gave me soon after my office became the BAC Cave (years prior to this blog). Thanks, Jin!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Merry Christmas to you all

From dark and grey Seattle -- but at least we don't have Europe's snow and travel problems. Remember those travelers this holiday.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The problem of repeated requirements... standards is well-known. As the BACNET-L list was reminded today by a little discussion about the Subscribe-COV service.

We received a question from Vamsi Krishna noting that Clause reads, in part:

"If both the 'Issue Confirmed Notifications' and 'Lifetime' parameters are absent, then this shall indicate a cancellation request. If the 'Lifetime' parameter is present then the 'Issue Confirmed Notifications' parameter shall be present."
The question was what a device should do if only the 'Lifetime' parameter is absent. This caused a bit of discussion about whether this situation was even intended, or what should be done since it was not stated. Then Coleman noted that Clause 13.14.2 handled this:
If the 'Lifetime' parameter is not present but the 'Issue Confirmed Notifications' is present, then a value of zero (indefinite lifetime) shall be assumed for the lifetime.
But when I read 13.14.2 in its entirety I noted that it also repeated the requirements of Clearly the three sentences belong together, but having two of them appear earlier led people, myself included, to stop at the first clause with these requirements.

The author of this material was even then an experienced standards writer, so I can only assume it was a cut&paste error. But it sure caused some confusion.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Feedback for Analog Output objects

Trying to get through my email backlog, I saw a very good question from Jörg to the BACNET-L list (probably unanswered because it was sent just before a 4-day holiday weekend here in the U.S.): Why isn't there an optional Feedback_Value property in the Analog Output object?

As I answered in part on the list, in order to implement it in the way it is done on the Binary Output object one would also need Deadband and Time_Delay properties, different from the ones already present, in order to implement a COMMAND_FAILURE-like algorithm. Not that that's a bad thing. This might be a useful type of alarm.

Some of the work of the "Alarm Summit" group might provide a way to do this fairly easily perhaps and without new properties. But that work remains in the Objects & Services group for now. It's a big step and I can understand if folks are cautious about it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Catching up is hard to do

Back in the office, and finally back to my e-mail that I've been cut off from for weeks. It's not too bad now on Day 2 -- I'm down to only 172 unread e-mails.

But I also missed some deadlines; in part because I couldn't work on them for a time, in part because without Outlook I didn't know the deadlines. But two of the biggest items are now done and delivered: a piece on the Smart Grid for a high-school textbook, and an article for the upcoming second edition of the BACnet International Journal.

Now I have to go dig out some statistics on BACnet testing. After that, I am more or less caught up except for what might be in those 172, nope, it's 173 now, unread e-mails.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In the dark

The plenary sessions of the meeting are signaled not only audibly with chimes but by dimming the lights, particularly in other areas of the ballroom. But in this conference they're going nearly to black and for extended periods of time. A bit difficult for those of us who, for various reasons, wind up in the adjacent vendor area near the only available wall outlets. (For my part it's been to complete the graphics for a description of the Smart Grid for a colleague's green building textbook.)

The other fellow at my table had the solution: his laptop has a built-in LED to illuminate the keyboard. What a great idea.

Grid-Interop 2010

Today is the third (or for some folks the fourth) day of Grid-Interop 2010 here in Chicago. My second Grid-Interop, though I gather it's the fourth. Last year's event featured the kickoff of NIST's Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, which brought a number of new folks and organizations into the Smart Grid development effort.

The numbers keep growing: it was announced Tuesday that we now have 1750 members and 634 organizations involved, 10% from outside the U.S. It seems we have a quite significant number of members from Japan, with the possibility that in some specific areas Japan may be a little further along than the SGIP, but to at least one member from Japan I had to explain the ANSI consensus-building standards process, which includes representation by various areas of the industry -- it is easier to move faster without such a process. One hopes those a little further down the road can share their experiences that we might learn from them.

A question remains about progress, one year out from the start of the SGIP. I missed the detailed review Tuesday due to an offsite BACnet meeting, but I gather some of the "Priority Action Plan" groups (PAPs, fast-moving narrowly focused ad-hoc groups) have delivered or about to deliver their work items, which then are passed on to standards groups to handle through the standards process. Others are having a more difficult time.

Perhaps some of the difficulty lies in the ways of measuring progress. From my perspective of one small corner of the Grid, the commercial-building consumer of electricity, there has been significant progress made at least in the area of how such buildings will interoperate with the utilities ("the other side of the electric meter"). Though it seems what while I've been absent from my e-mail a new building-grid interface has been defined (to parallel the "Energy Services Interface" developed over the past year), along with a new acronym. I hope to catch up today.

But in other areas, from others' perceptions, there has been less progress. Since "Smart Grid" is not officially described in any way, many are co-opting it for different visions and products -- not all of which are necessarily different from the overall perspective the SGIP is developing, but which could be important components of it. Most of my active participation occurs today and tomorrow -- it will be interesting.