Software-Defined Buildings

Today’s buildings are hotbeds of sensors and software, truly remarkable cyber-physical systems. But are we realizing the full potential of all that technology? With an agile, readily programmable operating system, Software-Defined Buildings continually optimize, adapt, and extend their functionality.

Optimizing energy efficiency in buildings is critical — they account for more than 70% of electrical energy use. The systems in place today to monitor and manage their operations are largely proprietary, customized, and embedded deeply in building walls, making them costly to extend, upgrade, or repurpose.

This i4Energy project will create a “write once, run anywhere” system that models the functional relationships of a building’s components and organizes its software logically into a flexible, multi-service, and open operating system. By enhancing programmability, this innovation will provide a foundation for new controls, evaluation, and modeling, greatly extending a building’s functionality.

The result will be buildings that adapt to new conditions and new technologies, throughout their lifetime, for smoother, more energy-efficient operation. They will respond with agility to both external factors (like weather and energy availability) and to the personalized needs of occupants. With a common and portable software infrastructure, these transformed buildings will be able to communicate and cooperate with each other and with the energy grid, maximizing efficiency.