A Brief History of BACnet

BACnet (Building Automation and Con­trol Network) was created in response to the realization that the building industry needed a cost-effective way to integrate different systems from diverse vendors into one coherent automation and control system. This required a level of data communications interoperability that did not exist, so in June of 1987, members of the industry came together at the ASHRAE Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee to talk about a solution. This was the first meeting of what eventually became the BACnet Committee.

Developing a detailed, comprehensive standard was a large technical task, but in 1995, ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 135 was published and BACnet was officially launched. The next year ASHRAE Standing Standard Project Committee 135 (SSPC 135) was formed to interpret, maintain, and extend the standard. In 2003, BACnet achieved the status of an International Organization for Standardization standard (ISO 16484-5). That same year, BACnet’s companion standard, ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 135.1, Method of Test for Conformance to BACnet, was published in the United States and soon joined the BACnet protocol itself internationally as ISO 16484-6.

With the release of BACnet and its adoption as an international standard, interest in BACnet spread rapidly. Key developers of the BACnet standard became tireless promoters, devoting time and effort to educating and assisting interested people and organizations around the world. As a result of their efforts (which continue today), BACnet has become the dominant building automation integration protocol globally and BACnet interest communities have been organized in multiple countries and regions. A strong ecosystem of organizations supports the global BACnet community and continue to extend it.

Consolidated versions of the BACnet standard and its companion test standard, including all errata and addenda, continue to be published every few years as new capabilities and technologies are added to BACnet.

Hear About the History of BACnet From Those Who Were There

Mike Newman and Steve Bushby (two of the key developers of the BACnet standard) hosted a wonderful session on “A BACnet Retrospective from People Who Were There” at the BACnet International Testing Symposium in September 2018.

If you’d like to hear the history of BACnet in their own words you can access the video here.

A Tribute to Mike Newman

Mike Newman, widely recognized as the founding father of the BACnet protocol (ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 135), passed away on March 4, 2020 at his home in Ithaca, NY.

Mike’s vision and tenacious effort to standardize a data communication protocol for building automation will never be forgotten. His legacy will live on through the BACnet community and through the world-wide application of the BACnet standard.