Open Building Control- Performance Evolution, Specification and Verification of Building Control Sequences

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


Berkeley, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Result

The Final meeting was in Jan 21,2021. The final report is under Publications review. The team documented the potential for the control sequences to reduce heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system energy use by 30% through the use of advanced controls. The project web site is

The Issue

In most cases, commercial buildings fail to perform up to their technical design and equipment specifications. This results in expensive control systems that often do not deliver the necessary energy efficiency or comfort level. Annually, more than one quad/year is wasted from common deficiencies in building control design and operation in the US, and ~5% in California. Design strategies have the greatest
impact on building energy use. But the current process of designing, implementing, and commissioning building automation systems is sub-optimal. HVAC building designers lack the control strategy tools that can compare energy saving opportunities to reduce consumption. .

Project Innovation

Many existing building predate current energy codes and standards . Few commercial buildings have optimized control systems and new construction projects that are designed to implement control strategies frequently struggle with complicated processes that can result in inefficient and often uncomfortable buildings that waste energy. The current software tools available for design controls is tedious and error prone. This agreement's goal is to build software tools to addresses the gap between expected building control's design and its actual performance The tool developed processes for commercial building control sequences to improve the design process, cost-effective implementation, and validation. Utilization of the software has the potential to substantially reduce energy use in both new commercial and existing buildings with controls retrofits. The agreement is co-funded by the California Energy Commission and the United States Department of Energy (DOE). The project web site is

Project Goals

Digitize the building control delivery process to enable a scalable deployment of high performance control sequences.
Create a digital, control-vendor independent specification for control sequences, and demonstrate its use.
Start a process that leads to an industry-standard for expressing control logic in a digital, vendor-independent format.

Project Benefits

A major barrier to achieving the state's statutaory energy goals is the failure of most commerical buildings to perform close to the technical design potential of its equipment. This can account for significant wasted energy. The team has shown that Innovations in commercial building control sequences can transform existing buildings to achieve energy savings. The team worked with the ASHRAE Standards Committee to use a standardized programming language, pioneered and developed in this project.The ASHRAE Guideline 36, software language will have an impact on improving the California Energy Code, Title 24, which requires specific algorithms, documented in ASHRAE Guideline 36. This can result in a large impact to industry to enable accountability for controls performance between design and operation.

Lower Costs


The software platform tools could reduce energy use in commercial buildings. The tool can be used to improved design and implementation of building controls which minimize costs associated with design, construction, operation and maintenance expense. If this technology was widely adopted for 50% of the existing medium and large commercial buildings, it could achieve a 12 percent reduction in energy, with a potential cost savings of approximately 0.05 quads/yr in California, saving IOU ratepayers an estimated $300 million/yr.

Key Project Members

Michael Wetter

Michael Wetter

Project Manager



Taylor Engineering


Arup North America Ltd


Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Facility Dynamics


Integral Group, Inc.


Contact the Team