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BACnet protocol

BACnet is now the leading technology in building control automation and HVAC systems. So even if you are not in the HVAC industry, it is important to know about BACnet technology. 

Every product that is BACnet certified is certified by the BACnet Testing Laboratories (BTL), the global BACnet product certification program. Over the last four years, the number of certified products has increased by nearly 40% to 1342 products from 228 manufacturers. So, with this increasing popularity, let’s take a closer look at BACnet.

BACnet protocol

What is BACnet?

BACnet was created by the American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers to be a standard in communication for Building Automation Systems, and with its open architecture it can control and monitor any building automation process.

What Is the BACnet Protocol?

Simply put, the BACnet protocol is a “language” defining the communications protocol and data modelling for a building automation system. Rather than having multiple communication systems in a building for different automation types, each system uses the same data model and protocol throughout the entire network. 

Breaking down the two elements of the BACnet protocol allows us to drill down for a better understanding of BACnet.

Data Model 

This is the standard of communication between machines. Much like language conventions it defines the semantics of the conversation between machines by structuring the rules for how the data is presented and how it must be followed.  

BACnet protocol

Communications Protocol

This defines where the data defined in the data model goes and in what order the machines communicate. 

How Does BACnet Work?

BACnet uses an object-oriented approach for better reusability, maintenance, and efficiency.

BACnet can control and monitor any building automation process; climate control, lighting, smoke detection, access control and security, and even monitor and report on equipment faults. All this in a fully integrated way so that equipment vendors, integrators, and ultimately users can all have their needs met. 

Because of this, the BACnet protocol uses all devices with equal efficiency; universal digital controllers, mobile and cloud-hosted devices, head-end computers, and application-specific or unitary controllers.

The open and unconnected protocol allows any device to send requests and information to any other device flawlessly via a BACnet router. This is different from connected devices as communication via BACnet is unscheduled without any time-critical operations.

BACnet protocol

BACnet Use

BACnet networks are widely used for cooling and heating processes with an HVAC system, but as mentioned above it can be used to control a variety of functions in a building management system.  

Because of the standardisation of BACnet, climate control, lighting, smoke detection, access control and security, video surveillance and any other building requirement can be controlled with BACnet controllers. A strong point of BACnet is that fully integrated systems that allow for the addition of any other building process can be easily controlled through a central controller.

BACnet Protocol Benefits


The main reason BACnet communication is so useful is that it’s a standardised communication protocol, meaning the way technology communicates throughout the entire building will be the same.

Energy usage metering, temperature and humidity control, even access and lighting can be controlled under one cohesive control system.  This results in a fully integrated building where all communications between devices is routed through one BACnet device. All this is enabled through standardisation. 

Cost-effective and simple

The cost effectiveness of having one network with all devices for building automation able to communicate without other networks in place is the most cost-effective way of managing a building. 

Automating processes such as lighting, power usage, and climate control reduces resource usage to yield cost savings.  For example, occupation sensors to control lighting by switching lights off in empty rooms or controlling air conditioning according to need. 

Once BACnet systems are installed, the automation is transparent and automatic, and even the setup is relatively simple. 

If you want an efficient, integrated, and advanced building automation system, setting up a BACnet network is the solution. It results in all automated processes in one standardised, cohesive protocol, allowing devices to share technology and have building automation systems efficiently running. 

If this sounds like something that you need to implement, ACS has a range of BACnet equipment to automate your HVAC system. Contact us to discuss your needs.