Reference Sites

Carleton University (Canada)

carlton university building automation

Carleton University is located in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, and has almost 26,000 full- and part-time students and more than 2000 professors and staff members.  In 2008 Carleton’s IT department embarked on an ambitious project to upgrade its entire IP network infrastructure. Once the upgrade was completed, the university operated a high-speed backbone network with the ability for several campus buildings to be connected to one core network for new levels of connectivity and automation.

“Traditionally, a building automation system (BAS) runs on a discrete fibre-optic network installed and managed by the university’s facilities management department,” says Denis Levesque, assistant director of operations and infrastructure and deputy CIO, Carleton University. “Once the new IP network was in place, it provided greater speed, easier data transfer, and less traffic congestion. The university realized it no longer needed disparate networks run by several departments, so we began to converge various automation systems”

In addition, the opportunity was available for the BAS to provide a wider and more concurrent scope of data to help ensure more effective operation of the buildings, especially from an energy and environmental sustainability point of view.


  • Integrate building automation systems onto converged IP network, reducing need for disparate networks
  • Facilitate building systems data collection and transfer to increase building efficiencies
  • Facilitate collaboration among traditionally disparate university departments


  • Traditionally isolated building systems migrated onto one converged next-generation IP network
  • Cisco Catalyst Core and Access switches utilizing Cisco Energywise
  • Unique Power over Ethernet interface integrated into building automation system
  • Implementation of ASHRAE 189.1 standard for higher energy efficiency and sustainability


  • BAS devices run on and powered by one network and conveniently managed through IT department
  • Faster and more accurate data transfer from BAS for more reliable and effective building operations
  • Creation of “living lab” for engineering students for enhanced learning experience

In 2010 Carleton began the construction of two new buildings, which would be the first to take advantage of the new network. The Canal and River Building projects represented an unprecedented fusion of the university’s facilities management and IT department from development through to construction and deployment.

“This initiative represents an entirely different process in construction,” says Boyce. “With a traditional IT network such as data and telephones, the contractor’s job is substantially finished once the switches and network are put in place. With this new methodology, the network has to be in much earlier and has to be implemented while the building is under construction, so the BAS can be brought on line and be operational before overall construction is completed. There was a tremendous opportunity for a new level of convergence, not just with regards to technology but also the way the separate departments within the university collaborated.”


Carleton turned to Cisco and Delta Controls to aid in developing an overall strategy and plan for the project. In conjunction with the university, the team developed a strategic solution, driven by network convergence, the leadership position of Cisco in Power over Ethernet (PoE), and Delta’s strength in delivering an IP/PoE-based automation platform.

Delta harnessed the potential afforded by PoE. Using Cisco Catalyst® Switches and designed a unique interface small enough to provide power to the entire BAS architecture integrated onto the network. The new PoE controller allows the entire architecture to be established over PoE and for more devices to be connected to the IP network than traditionally seen; It broadens the pipeline substantially and allows for greater data transfer. Instead of the standard two-wire network seen in most buildings for the past 25 years, PoE enables  your building infrastructure to keep pace with developments in the computer industry; future proofing your building.


The convergence of BAS with IT has led to a more cost-effective business method as well as a simpler operational process. All the building automation end devices are on the IP network and are controlled by a management system residing in the campus’ data center under the guidance of the IT department. Facilities management staff also has remote access to the infrastructure and are able to easily access and control or troubleshoot individual devices such as temperature controls or lighting.

The new IP network allows for a more efficient transfer of data between automation systems, which has led to the creation of new sequences of operations that result in additional energy savings. For example, new Delta IEQ BACstats placed in the building can measure the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and feed data pertaining to lighting level, temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide across the network. This data is recorded at regular intervals and transferred to the necessary operating system to help ensure conditions are always maintained at the appropriate level.

“The effective operation and management of a building’s system, whether it’s temperature, ventilation, humidity, or air quality ultimately leads to a better working and learning environment,” says Boyce. “Professors teach better, and students are more receptive to learning. Our ultimate goal is to create conditions that foster innovation and the highest level of productivity.”