Monday, January 31, 2011

Las Vegas Wrapup - Published

The winter BACnet meetings have come to an end (the Smart Grid meetings continue), after 4-1/2 days and the committee chair now has a boatload of new work on his plate, processing documents approved or revised by, or submitted to, the committee -- not to mention trying to get BACnet-2010 published.

We received a report during the meeting that four new addenda have been approved by ASHRAE for publication. These are:

Addendum ab: MS/TP Baud Rates

Addendum ac: Using BACnet "Date" and "Time"

Addendum ag: BBMD B'cast Storms, and trend-related BIBBs

Addendum ah: Remove ReadPropertyConditional service

If you're developing BACnet devices that use the MS/TP LAN, use BACnet "Date" and "Time" for anything, use "Annex J" BACnet/IP, or are contemplating using the ReadPropertyConditional service, you should read these when they're published.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Missed meetings

I had had a day full of meetings planned, but it's not working out at all as I had planned. The morning's series of IP, IT and XML working groups would have been interesting, but due to another last-minute meeting I was only able to be present for the last 15 minutes. The series was clearly of interest to many folks, especially those working on the Smart Grid -- all the chairs were taken. (This photo shows a half or so of the people.)

This afternoon will be much the same; pulled away a half-hour into the first session. But I'll have to draw the line at the BACnet Elevators working group meeting I'm conducting at 4 PM.

And sometime I hope to have enough time to gather the materials for the first of the announcements from these meetings.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Did we just miss an anniversary?

Waking up this morning (yes, it's that early and no, I'm not always thinking about things BACnet though sometimes it seems like it) I realized it's been 15 years since the introduction of BACnet to the general public at the AHR Expo of 1996 with an interoperability demonstration involving several manufacturers. I took a quick tour around and and saw thing. Hm.

Maybe it's just that so many of the old guard have moved onwards and upwards.

BACnet testing, day 2

The Testing & Interoperation Working Group (TI-WG) met in the Las Vegas Conference Center to follow on the work product of the BTL-WG, reviewing and approving 5 proposed addenda (comprised mainly of tests developed within the BTL-WG) to the BACnet testing standard (135.1-2009) for review by the entire committee.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

11 years of BACnet testing

It's hard to believe how far we've since the initial launch of the BTL-WG In January 2000. Its mission: to develop a BACnet testing program to counter the FUD ("Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt") of "They say it's BACnet but is it REALLY BACnet?" With a testing program that kicked off years ago with the simplest devices and now extending to the most complex controllers and workstations, we've come a long way.

Not that we're done, by any stretch. Many of the tests we've developed are being rapidly rolled into the BACnet testing standard; others are being reviewed and revised. And we have our work cut out in merging and unifying the testing and process between the two BACnet teting labs.

The committee's numbers have never been large: today's meeting with 14 members, from Europe and North America, is pretty typical.

But today's meeting was notable for the fanciest location yet, in the Vdara Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas (a LEED Gold building) -- although this picture didn't quite capture that.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Saving the Smart Grid"

I'm trying to prepare for the upcoming five days of BACnet meetings, but the Smart Grid keeps intervening. Somehow I wound up on a mailing list called "Public Utilities FORTNIGHTLY," which is a very interesting and educational look into the world of the energy utilities. This morning's issue has an article I found an interesting read, "Saving the Smart Grid: Hype, hysteria and strategic planning".

Now it's back to the BACnet Elevator proposal, scheduled for 4 PM Sunday (the Elevator and MS/TP working groups just switched meeting times a few minutes go).

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Why American utilities will overpay $2 billion for smart meters"

Thanks to today's CABA Newsbrief I saw an article with the above title (click on the title to see it all), beginning:

Why are American utilities spending twice what the Europeans do for smart meters? Why aren't they using joint standards and joint procurement to achieve economies of scale and drive down prices?

This screw-up will squander at least $2 trillion over five years. Who will foot the bill? As the old joke goes, one of three groups – ratepayers, consumers or taxpayers.

$2 billion may be understating things

Update: Francine has a great link in the comments.
An American friend working in Europe tells me the typical cost there is $40 per meter (plus $15 for the communications by the way). In America, he says, typical prices are $110 to $120 per meter (and about $50 for the communications). ...

Not 100% clear on what these "smart meters" do, other than communicate meter readings back to the utility in order to eliminate human meter readers.

One thing is clear: they're not "Smart Grid" meters. At least not the Smart Grid being developed by NIST's Smart Grid Interoperability Panel under White House direction. We are still defining the data and interfaces for residential, commercial and industrial buildings! So in a few years these meters might have to be replaced anyway.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Russian Standard

Things have been pretty quiet on the BACnet front, hence the long silence. Much of my work time is being spent on updating my "Energy Standards and Energy Efficiency" talk with voluminous new source materials, as well as wrestling with Powerpoint 2003 issues. The rest of my work time is spent in way too many teleconferences -- with today's BACnet-IT call almost missed thanks to a calendar disconnect between Outlook and the cellphone. And with our state legislature now in session I'm now busy off-hours watching them and trying to keep them out of trouble. So although Andrey Golovin had sent me a proposed draft of the cover of the Russian BACnet standard, I didn't get to it until today.

I think it's pretty cool. Even if I can't read much of it (but I can read more of this than I can of the Japanese, Chinese and Korean translations -- at least I can sound out a little of the Cyrillic alphabet; the first word is very obviously "Protocol"). I think Andrey said he's bringing a copy to Las Vegas; if so I will be very interested in seeing it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

BACnet в Россию

I hope that automated translation is correct for "BACnet in Russian." Andrey Golovin, Executive Director of the BACnet Interest Group - Russia (BIG-RU) announced this morning that BACnet-2008 has now been translated into Russian, and that an agreement has been made with a Russian standards body to make BACnet a Russian national standard.

Congratulations, Andrey!

Friday, January 7, 2011

This has to hurt: "California County Bans SmartMeter Installations"

Just checked in on the Slashdot (techie) site and saw this:
kiwimate writes:
"Marin County in California has passed an ordinance (PDF) banning the installation of smart meters in unincorporated Marin. Among the reasons given are privacy concerns associated with measuring energy usage data moment by moment and the potential for adverse impact on emergency communication systems used by first responders and amateur radio operators. The ordinance also comments that 'the SmartMeters program ... could well actually increase total electricity consumption and therefore the carbon footprint,' citing 'some engineers and energy conservation experts.'"
The ordinance also mentions "significant health questions" raised about "increased electromagnetic frequently radiation (EMF) emitted by the wireless technology in SmartMeters."
Privacy is a big topic in the SGIP Smart Grid development effort, one not yet fully resolved, but this has to be an "ouch" for the folks involved.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More material

Some discussions yesterday bumped my planned perusal of the "International Green Construction Code" (IGCC), now in its second public review, up in priority. A very interesting read -- it seems a little rough in places but I'll be submitting public review comments later. For now, though, its material aligns well with my upcoming energy efficiency talk and is in some areas more thorough than my 14 or 15 other sources.

I have been through it to flag areas to return to for specific items in my talk; tomorrow (between BACnet testing and Smart Grid teleconferences) I'll start in on the details.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Las Vegas meeting schedule

Committee chair Dave Robin mailed out the BACnet committee's meeting schedule, with room assignments, for Las Vegas later this month.

The cryptic working group acronyms are defined here; "SSPC" indicates the plenary sessions of the entire committee" and "BTL" indicates the BACnet Testing Labs working group, which is being arranged and announced independently. These are all in the Las Vegas Conference Center, next to the Las Vegas Hilton. As a reminder, the meetings are open to all interested parties.

If you click on the picture you'll get a larger, legible version.

Update 1/25: EL and MSTP have switched times. EL-WG will meet Sunday, and MSTP Saturday.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

All Quiet on the BACnet Front

My BACnet Gmail account, now subscribed to the BACNET-L list, has been amazingly, or unsurprisingly, quiet the past couple of weeks, though my cellphone alerted me to an e-mail from BACNET-L in the wee hours of Christmas Eve morning. I suspect that will end tomorrow as folks return to the office -- though I still have one more day of holiday to go.