Wyoming, Building Automation

Switching from Lon to BACnet for Building Automation Systems

Phasing Out Lon

Lon is heading towards a complete phase out, with more and more building owners opting for BACnet as the standard communication protocol for building automation systems (BAS).

Lon is a communication protocol developed by the Echelon Corporation that has been commonly used in commercial buildings. However, the industry is beginning to standardize around BACnet, and most new equipment is only offered in BACnet communications. Lon and other older, proprietary systems are becoming obsolete.

Using Lon for BAS

Continuing to use Lon as your communication protocol will cause problems down the line. As the industry moves away from Lon, repairs and upkeep become more difficult. When existing controllers reach the end of their lifecycle and fail, you’ll be stuck with a system that you may be unable to get replacements for. In many cases, when an obsolete Lon controller fails, a BAS service provider will not be able to reprogram another controller to replace it with, which can lead to more equipment downtime. The new controller will need to have many wiring changes, which can cause repairs to take longer and cost more in the event of an emergency.

If your building uses Lon or other older protocols, you’ll want to be proactive to keep up with the industry. By switching to BACnet, not only will you avoid expensive and lengthy system downtime, but you’ll have an open protocol controller, a more serviceable BAS, and a building that performs more efficiently.

Installing BACnet Protocols

LONG can help replace your building controls with BACnet. In most cases, we start by installing a new front end and then we can implement a new communication line, building a new network to your systems. Once this is done, we can begin upgrading your BAS as your budget allows or on an as-needed basis when controllers begin to fail.

Though older communication protocols are being phased out, you do not need to immediately replace the full system with open BACnet protocols. For example, in one of the facilities we service, the customer had been purchasing a line of controls and we would program and install new ones as controllers failed. Their BAS is now scheduled to be obsolete. Rather than continue with soon to be outdated controls, we are now removing the controllers when they fail and replacing them with Distech BACnet controls. While this is a little more of an investment at the time of failure, the customer is able to upgrade their control system bit by bit. Rather than overhaul something that still works, they can replace their BAS controllers as needed over the long run.

As the industry begins to standardize around BACnet communication protocols, Lon and proprietary communications will become a problem for your facility. LONG can help you get ahead of those problems and upgrade your BAS so you have more efficient and more flexible building controls. Contact us today to get started with BACnet.

Contact Us to Learn More


Jeremiah "JJ" Kidd is the Manager for the HVAC Service team in Casper, WY.