Open Building Operating System: an Open-Source Grid Responsive Control Platform for Buildings
Grid-interactive ef icient buildings (GEBs) with flexible loads are a promising method to decarbonize buildings, shift loads during peak hours, and lower energy use and electricity costs. Despite the promising benefits of GEBs, automation systems that manage flexible loads in response to energy prices or other grid signals are still uncommon in small and medium commercial buildings. Recent literature demonstrates such control solutions, but they often rely on custom integrations lacking the tools and drivers needed for scalability. To address these gaps, our team has created a fully open-source software stack capable of integrating heterogeneous flexible building loads and implementing integrated portable control applications called the Open Building Operating System (OpenBOS). The software can be deployed over existing control architecture with a small capital cost. OpenBOS leverages semantic models, which have been the subject of recent investigations to facilitate application portability. The use of semantic data reduces the labor and expense required to deploy and update smart control applications, increasing scalability. In this paper, the semantic modeling schema “Brick” was used, but the proposed approach can also be applied to ASHRAE standard 223P, when released. This paper describes the methodology and software components of OpenBOS and demonstrates its functionality with a rule-based demand flexibility control application configured using a semantic model. This application was tested at a real building in NY that uses a dual-fuel heating system made up of five ductless heat pump mini-splits and a central furnace serving a single zone. The demonstration reduced electricity costs at the site by 27%, demand during a shed event by 49%, and furnace usage by 35%.