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Oct 1, 2013 - Building

Completely Open for Networking

Its worth in gold: In Pforzheim, the New City Hall and a city-wide facility network communicate using the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750.

WAGO’s system distribution boxes form the core of the building technology that was installed when the New City Hall was renovated. This automation technology, with BACnet controllers, offers flexibility, openness, and interoperability; consideration of a future city-wide facility management network also tipped the scales towards WAGO components.

No other city in Germany is linked so closely with jewelry and fine watch making as the golden city of Pforzheim. The New City Hall of this internationally renowned “jewelry metropolis” underwent comprehensive renovation measures that began at the end of 2011 and should be finished by the end of 2015.

Within the context of this plan, the entire electrical infrastructure of the building was upgraded. Three companies from Pforzheim were involved: Design and solicitation of bids for the fire protection upgrade were assigned to the consulting office for electrical engineering, Volker Wörtz. Eckert Elektro is responsible for installing the electrical systems. The complete building automation is delivered and installed by ib company.

ib company specializes in network installations across property lines. The WAGO Solution Provider was therefore additionally tasked by the city to develop a plan for a city-wide facility management network. Pforzheim administers more than 250 properties with different building services systems. The problem: Many of these buildings use proprietary automation systems – which include associated dependencies on the manufacturers. The goal: A simplification of the field, automation, and control levels as well as interoperability of the systems. “In order to avoid limiting competition, we decided against a proprietary system,” explains Rainer Störzenecker, Building Administer for the City of Pforzheim.

Experience and flexibility are decisive

The renovation work in the city council building took place in several stages. Jan Kühner from the Wörtz planning office is responsible for construction management on site. He describes the approach thusly: “The offices within each section to be renovated were relocated into other spaces within City Hall. After renovations of that area were completed, they moved back to their old locations.”

The modular and fieldbus-independent WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 forms the foundation of this new building automation technology. “WAGO has different types of controllers in their product portfolio, including those for BACnet, and also offered a good price-performance ratio. The systems can be easily expanded due to the modular design of the hardware. The decisive point, however, was the long-term experience that WAGO has in building automation and the high interface flexibility of their products,” explains Matthias Zeh, CEO of ib company.

Two standard versions of system distribution boxes were defined for the New City Hall. The standardization was implemented to enable fast replacement of a distributor during a service call. Both Type 1 and Type 2 are equipped with a BACnet controller as well as DALI and EnOcean I/O modules. The Type 1 distributors also monitor and control temperature. The WAGO controllers also transmit error messages, provide data from electrical and water meters, and forward this data to the building control system.

WAGO delivered 27 Type 1 system distribution boxes and eight Type 2 boxes, all connector-ready. WAGO’s WINSTA® pluggable connection system guarantees a fast and error free connection. WINSTA® is ideally suited to building system requirements. It provides the ability to simply and safely plug electrical installations and components together. After the renovations are complete, the 35 controllers will administer around 10,000 data points.

Decentralized structure

The system distribution boxes, which each administer six to eight office spaces, are located above the ceiling panels in the hallways. “The hallway lighting is controlled by presence detection. If it is still too low, then additional light can be manually controlled using local switches,” explains Andreas Mürle. Mürle, a systems integration and programming specialist from ib company, executed the building automation in the New City Hall.

A ceiling multi-sensor located on each office ceiling is controlled by DALI. The WAGO controllers continuously detect brightness values and presence. Upon entering the room, the lighting can be switched on using an EnOcean switch and the brightness can be adjusted. The constant light control continuously regulates light at the work space. If no presence is detected, then the lighting system shuts itself off autonomously. Heating control is also realized using EnOcean. A corresponding controller is located in each room to measure temperature. Set point adjustments can also be carried out here. The WAGO controller regulates the heating vents.

The BACnet controllers communicate via BACnet/IP through an ETHERNET network with the building control system. The City of Pforzheim uses this protocol as a basis to guarantee the desired interoperability and to end the tiresome discussion about interfaces.

Comprehensive network planned

The New City Hall, together with four other buildings, forms a pilot project for a facility management network that will run until the end of 2014. BACnet/IP forms the basis for communications. ib company designed the concept. Over the long term, all city properties will be networked together. The specifications include non-proprietary solutions for building automation, which must offer the greatest possible openness with respect to economical operation and maintenance costs. Matthias Zeh explains, “At the automation level, WAGO provides all interfaces to the subsystems at the field level and to the control level.”

ib company is currently implementing a comparable network at a large bank in Baden-Württemberg that will cover the entire location. “This test case shows that the entire thing is feasible. And we’re also using WAGO technology here,” explains the CEO of ib company.


  • WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 convinces due to the high interface flexibility field and control levels.
  • BACnet controllers communicate via BACnet/IP through an ETHERNET network with the building control system.
  • A city-wide facility management network should link the municipal properties by the end of 2014.

Text: Tobias Hummel, WAGO
Photo: Markus Bechtle/vor-ort-foto.de, WAGO

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