OpenTherm is a non-manufacturer-dependent system of communication currently utilised predominantly between modulating HVAC heating appliances and room thermostats. It consists of a communication protocol and an interface specification.
OpenTherm utilises an established technology combining simple installation procedure with high functionality and future expansion possibilities.
The OpenTherm Association is intending to introduce the OpenTherm protocol more widely in the UK and has launched an initial three-year communication process to raise awareness of the protocol, its benefits to the heating industry as a whole and to manufacturers and installers in particular.
The OpenTherm protocol facilitates digital boiler modulation and as a result, load compensation requirements are met. The growth of the use of the OpenTherm protocol across the UK would offer huge innovation potential.
Looking ahead, a large installed base of OpenTherm compatible products could facilitate the implementation of a range of new solutions that could improve energy use, reduce the carbon footprint of a heating installation and reduce its total cost of ownership.
Typical potential examples could see the increase in home automation and the availability of remote diagnostics for domestic installations.
The OpenTherm Association recognises that in order to establish the OpenTherm protocol, it needs to effectively communicate and illustrate ‘what’s in it for me’ benefits to those manufacturing the equipment and those installing it in homes up and down the country.
The OpenTherm Association already has a number of members signed up to work with it to introduce a wider acceptance of OpenTherm as a standard in the UK – manufacturers of boilers and controls that have already evaluated the OpenTherm protocol’s compatibility with their systems.
Many familiar names in the UK sector - major companies in Europe with an influence in the UK marketplace - may well combine to see the acceptance of the OpenTherm protocol, speeding up in the UK marketplace. Recognising the common sense in developing a common use ‘Open’ system in the UK, the protocol most importantly, also has the support of industry bodies HHIC and BEAMA who are committed to supporting OpenTherm’s wider introduction here.
The basic function that every OpenTherm controller must provide is the communication of the heat requirement to the heating appliance. This heat requirement is calculated by the controller based on the difference between the set temperature and the desired one, or another form of control such as outside temperature control.
The OpenTherm protocol also supports many other non-compulsory functions offering the manufacturer the opportunity to develop multiple product variants.