Open Building Controls Demonstration Project - June Update


Building Intelligence Group is helping to support the Open Building Control project being led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (see  Part of our participation on this project is to coordinate a demonstration to show how the “Controls Description Language” can be translated into a commercial building controls programming language. This project is underway and we are working with a leading control supplier as our partner. As the project progresses there will be more to be discussed!


Open Building Controls:

The Open Building Control (OBC) project is intended to provide a set of tools that can be used to simplify the design, specification and deployment of commercial building control sequences, resulting in reduced project cost, higher quality, and improved energy efficiency of building systems. 

There are several elements and tools that are part of this project.  These include:

  • Modeling Tools:  Tools to allow for modeling of control sequences to allow for evaluating their potential performance.  These tools are intended primarily for researchers and designers so that they can compare and select the most energy efficient sequences. 

  •  Sequence Selection Tool:  This tool would simplify the task of selecting and specifying sequences.  Ideally it will allow designers to easily select and specify their own sequences, or industry “best in class” sequence options such as those in ASHRAE Guideline 36.  Controls

  • Description Language:  CDL provides an open source definition for how to describe a control sequence in a machine-readable format.  The CDL specification is available on the OBC project website ( and has been reviewed extensively by industry.  The project team has developed translators that can represent a CDL file both in a JSON format as well as in HTML.

  •  CDL Translators:  The project team envisions these as a control system vendor provided tool that would take a CDL file, (or the file translated to JSON) interpret it, and use the content to generate code that could readily be compiled and downloaded into a control system.  

  • Validation Tools:  The final parts of the OBC tool-chain are tools that can be used to verify the correct operation of the control sequences.  These tools would be used for commissioning and analysis of existing systems with an eye toward further optimization.