Building Automation/History

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ASHRAE TC 1.4 Closing Session at the 2015 Chicago Conference

In June 2010 the ASHRAE Controls Theory and Applications Technical Committee (TC 1.4) identified a lack of education standards and post-secondary education programs for Building Automation Professionals as a pressing issue.

Such lack of standards led to each building automation company having to recruit people from other areas (Electronics, IT, Software Development, Mechatronics, HVAC Mechanical, etc.) then complete their education with the skills they considered necessary.

The lack of common background, language and standards made existent controls strategies perform very differently depending on who and with what system it was implemented, as well as making the industry ineffective at pooling resources to develop new strategies that could be used across different platforms.

The TC decided to address this problem.

The Certification Approach[edit]

This need for industry standards was initially approached by proposing an ASHRAE Certified Building Controls Professional program. The committee identified areas of knowledge that are required by technicians and engineers in the industry, which should be tested. But the contents of the test and the educational resources the applicants would use to prepare themselves for it were missing.

The certification initiative was pursued until June 2013, when ASHRAE declined to implement the program citing financial concerns. However, the committee was encouraged to build a standard education program, as the urgent need for it was also seen by ASHRAE leadership and its members.

At the same June 2013 conference, the Education Subcommittee of TC 1.4 was created to address this endeavor.

The Wiki Idea[edit]

In January 2014 the Subcommittee proposed not creating new material, but instead collecting already available resources, then structuring them into an education program which could be implemented by colleges and universities, as well as used by for self-actualization and change-of-industry by individuals and companies.

Such an endeavor required resources beyond the capabilities of the Subcommittee, so the idea of developing it as a Wiki site, with a 2-Tier structure of volunteers, was proposed.

Members of Young Engineers in ASHRAE (YEA) declared their interest in participating in the project and proposed the Subcommittee should send a survey to all its members. Other groups, such as the LinkedIn Automation and Control Eng. were considered to participate.

In the first semester 2014 TC1.4 and TC7.3 (which was working on a similar idea) presented their project to the ASHRAE leadership and in June 2014, at the ASHRAE Annual Conference in Seattle, the Electronics Publications division decided the project was too ambitious for ASHRAE's resources. The problem was verifying and qualifying the resources listed in the site, which would be considered implicitly endorsed or approved by the Institution.

Construction Finally Begins[edit]

In January 2015 the TC 1.4 decided the project was worth it, but unable to overcome the "implicit endorsement objection", decided the Wiki should reside in a public server and be a non-sponsored project. The TC 1.4 Education Subcommittee would strive to maintain the Wiki list of pages, (in this project main page) which is the list of competencies required by Building Automation Professionals.

In May 2015, the Wiki project first pages were created by the then chair of the TC 1.4 Education Subcommittee and Controls manager at Armstrong Fluid Technology. The project stub was presented to the TC-1.4 Education Subcommittee at the 2015 Summer Conference in Atlanta in June 2015.

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