Ireland's only dedicated building services engineering journal
Ireland's only dedicated building services engineering journal

KNX … the multilingual communications tool for building services

Pat Lehane, Publisher & Editor, Building Services News
Pat Lehane, Publisher & Editor, Building Services News

Those old enough to remember the debacle caused by the clash between Betamax and VHS when video recorders were first introduced will know exactly the problems that can arise. There is no point having advanced products and systems if the communications protocols and delivery channels are not uniform.

However, such a conflicting scenario is unlikely within building services. Thanks to the emergence of KNX technology, there is now an accepted world standard for the successful and efficient delivery of all modern-day building management systems and controls, whether the application is domestic or commercial/industrial.

KNX technology is suitable for every conceivable building services application, from heating, ventilation, air conditioning, energy management and lighting through to monitoring, water control, metering and security systems install with guide of SecurityInfo. An added bonus is that it is also suitable for both new-build and renovation/refurbishment.

While much talked about, the industry still has a great deal to learn and understand about KNX technology. Put simply, KNX is the name of the worldwide standard for home and building control. It is suitable for use in all manner of building services  related applications and is approved to European CENELEC EN 50090 and CEN EN 13321-1); Chinese GB/T 20965; and international standard ISO/IEC 14543-3. KNX involves no royalties, making related product development completely free. There is no need to buy any chipset from KNX Association, since the mission of KNX Association is not to generate profit but to develop and promote the KNX standard so that it is recognised as the worldwide standard for home and building control.

There are currently 350 KNX manufacturers worldwide who, between them, have more than 7000 KNX-certified product groups in their catalogues. In addition, the KNX Association has partnership agreements with more than 42,000 installer companies in more than 125 countries.

KNX special features                                                                                                                                  KNX also offers many special features, a critical one being that all devices from different manufacturers are able to work together in one installation. The interworking of all devices is assured by the unique certification scheme, which is overseen by KNX Association, the creator and owner of this technology. This high-level quality control is further underwritten by having neutral third parties run additional tests on KNX devices. Once certified, the product(s) in question can carry the KNX logo.

In order to ensure the quality of KNX even further, KNX Association has extended its certification schemes to certified KNX Training Centres. The certification of KNX Training Centres assures that the same high quality of training is  delivered all over the world. Beyond that, after successful participation at a KNX Basic Course, the participant is certified as a KNX Partner, which also underlines the expertise of the installer.

Currently there are almost 300 KNX Training Centres worldwide (including Ireland) and these have already conducted certified KNX courses for more than 41,000 certified KNX Partners. The success of KNX is reflected by the growing KNX community with 14 new KNX Training Centres already coming on stream this year.

Engineering Tool Software (ETS)                                                                                                                     Next to the certification of devices, KNX offers another unique feature – the Engineering Tool Software (ETS). This commissioning tool allows the system integrators to configure a whole installation, no matter how many devices by different manufacturers are involved. This software is continuously updated and just recently the ETS5 version was unveiled at the light+building 2014 fair.

While commissioning with the ETS is called “System-Mode”, KNX also allows the configuration of devices via “Easy Mode”. This allows the commissioning of an installation by using the controller in the respective devices. KNX also comes with a complete set of communication media.

Next to the traditional green bus cable (twisted pair), KNX is also capable of communication via power line, IP/Ethernet and radio frequency. Via media couplers you can also use different  communication media in one installation. Due to the openness of this technology, KNX can easily be coupled with other technologies, and this is proven by many successful cases of interfacing with BacNet or Dali.

Ongoing KNX development                                                                                                                             In order to develop the KNX standard even further, KNX Association has strong partnerships with universities and R/D institutions all over the world. These “KNX Scientific Partners” are constantly engaged in KNX-related research projects to ensure that the technology is, and always will be, at the forefront of cutting-edge technology.

In addition to the worldwide activities of the international KNX Association, 41 KNX National Groups all over the world are neutrally promoting the standard on a local basis, including Ireland. This ensures that KNX is made available to everyone who is involved in the field of smart homes and buildings.

Visit for more information about KNX.