Great White North

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff January 30, 2006

A good guide for buying imports from Canada these days is to look for products with four-letter acronyms; comedy fans can’t go wrong with boxed sets of the ’80s television classic SCTV , finally available for U.S. consumption. But fans of intelligent buildings should be aware of another four-letter import: CABA (Continental Automated Buildings Assn.), as this Ottawa-based group has a number of initiatives that are helping the cause of smart buildings north and south of the border.

During ASHRAE’s annual winter meeting in Chicago last week, the group, which does include some U.S. members–such as HVAC/controls manufacturer Trane–participated in a day-long seminar on intelligent buildings. Of particular note is a quasi-smart building-certification process dubbed BIQ (Building Intelligence Quotient). Spearheaded by David Katz of Toronto-based Sustainable Resources Management, the idea is to create an Energy Star-like rating for buildings. According to Katz, in essence, CABA would score a building’s existing intelligence/integration to establish a benchmark for future improvements.

According to Tom Lohner of the Washington D.C. office ofTeng and the chairman of CABA’s Integrated and Intelligent Building Council, the group has also been in discussion with the U.S. Green Buildings Council to tie their scoring measures into the LEED process–a good thing, according to LEED accredited engineer and BAS consultant Ira Goldschmidt, who felt BAS is a weakness of the USGBC and that a standard should be developed from the BAS community.

A second exciting initiative the group is working on is the creation of a life-cycle tool that will help designers and their clients put some hard numbers on actual lifetime costs of intelligent systems and their paybacks. CABA is working in conjunction with R.S. Means, a Reed Business Information company, and hopes to launch the tool, sponsored by the U.S. Dept of Energy, later this year.

Elsewhere, CABA is preparing to reissue its Intelligent Buildings Roadmap, first published in 2002. In this second iteration, according to CABA Technical Director Guy Millaire, they’re looking for a greater contribution from the BAS community, including steering committee members–and sponsorships.

Along a similar vein, CABA is also in the process of identifying existing facilities to study as benchmarks for future intelligent systems improvements. Specifically, Millaire said they hope such documentation will provide government and industry with a model for improving building efficiency. CABA currently has such information posted on its website ( ) for a building the organization studied in Canada. For more information visit .