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BAS Summit 2022—Building Automation at National Laboratories

Contemporary Controls was invited to speak at the 2nd annual BAS Summit held at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory's Illinois Accelerator Research Center (IARC). Organizer Martin Laferrara commented that "this summit has been postponed twice due to the pandemic. It was great to have an in-person event again." The BAS Summit is an opportunity for the Engineers, Technicians, and Managers from the various National Labs to exchange knowledge and best practices for the implementation and maintenance of the sophisticated Building Automation Systems that control and monitor the HVAC, mechanical, and electrical systems installed throughout the various laboratories. As an invited supplier, it was interesting to understand the challenges these engineering and system integration groups faced with maintaining the complexities of building automation systems at our national laboratories. Contemporary Controls resides in Chicago's western suburbs near two national laboratories—Fermi and Argonne National Laboratory.

Bennet Levine, R&D Manager at Contemporary Controls, made a presentation on BACnet Secure Connect (BACnet/SC). According to the ASHRAE BACnet Committee, BACnet/SC is a secure, encrypted communication datalink layer that is specifically designed to meet the requirements, policies, and constraints of minimally managed to professionally managed IP infrastructures. While BACnet/IP can coexist with unrelated IP traffic, it relies upon broadcast messages to discover BACnet devices and BACnet routers. These broadcast messages cannot traverse IP routers, so a device called a BACnet Broadcast Management Device (BBMD) was developed to handle IP-segmented networks but has proven to be difficult to understand and manage. One of the goals of BACnet/SC was to eliminate broadcasts and BBMDs entirely while encrypting the BACnet traffic to make it secure. The result was a node and hub design where all BACnet traffic is over TCP and encoded with TLS. Bennet's BACnet/SC presentation showing possible routing solutions to BACnet/SC can be found here.

The other presentations were just as interesting. The Office of Management and Budget OMB M-21-07 has mandated that new information systems be IPv6 addressable by FY2023 and to phase out existing IPv4 addressing by FY2025. Control system networks were included in this mandate posing a problem with the numerous legacy systems at the various laboratories.

Other presentations discussed an EnOcean deployment; ongoing commissioning; the use of SkySpark at the labs; reducing carbon footprint; and ASHRAE Guideline 36—Best in Class HVAC Sequences. The national labs are keeping up with the technologies.

Fermilab was an excellent host for the two-day event with a meet-and-greet the first night, and a bus tour of this most interesting laboratory with its accelerator rings.


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