Brick: Unified Metadata for Buildings

Commercial buildings have long since been a primary target for applications from a number of areas: from cyber-physical systems to building energy use to improved human interactions in built environments. While technological advances have been made in these areas, such solutions rarely experience widespread adoption due to the lack of a common descriptive schema reducing the now-prohibitive cost of porting these applications and systems to different buildings.

Brick is an open-source, BSD-licensed development effort to create a uniform schema for representing metadata in buildings. Brick has three components:

  • An RDF class hierarchy describing the various building subsystems and the entities and equipment therein
  • A minimal, principled set of relationships for connecting these entities together into a directed graph representing a building
  • A method of encapsulation for composing complex components from a set of lower-level ones

Additionally, we have ported five real buildings to the Brick schema as examples



Bharathan Balaji, Arka Bhattacharya, Gabe Fierro, Jingkun Gao, Joshua Gluck, Dezhi Hong, Aslak Johansen, Jason Koh, Yuvraj Agarwal, Mario Berges, David E. Culler, Rajesh Gupta, Mikkel Baun Kj{\ae}rgaard, Joern Ploennigs, Kamin Whitehouse. Brick v1.0 - Towards a Unified Metadata Schema for Buildings 3rd ACM International Conference on Systems for Energy-Efficient Built Environments (BuildSys), Palo Alto, California, November 2016. [pdf]

e-mission: the first open-source, extensible mobilityscope platform

e-mission is a project to build a mobilityscope, an instrument that allows cost-effective, ongoing, fine-grained observation of individual travel patterns, including trip start and end times, trajectories, modes, transfers between modes, and any incidents that occurred en route, collated across a target population and designed to extensibly enable processes that meet societal goals


XBOS-DR: Customer-controlled, price mediated, automated demand response for commercial buildings

The services demanded of commercial building customers—heating, cooling, ventilating, lighting, computing, and plug loads—require significant energy and contribute to peak energy demand. Large commercial customers (1 MW, >50,000 sf) typically have a Building Management System that controls building services in order to respond to price signals. Residential customers have an abundance of demand response solutions, communicating thermostats, for example.

Small commercial customers (< 100 kW, <50,000 sf), however, typically do not have BMS, and thus cannot easily participate in demand response. This problem has not been addressed because an open source and open architecture enabling platform runs counter to the business model of many companies, who want to maintain a single vendor, proprietary solution.

The proposed open source and open architecture platform, a Demand Response manager based on the eXtensible Building Operating System (XBOS-DR), can interface with multiple hardware devices from different vendors as well as include software applications from various vendors. With its ability to create a virtual BMS for small commercial buildings by networking thermostats and other controllers, XBOS-DR can provide large and small commercial customers with a variety of choices for demand response capability.

The project goal is to improve energy efficiency by enabling effective management and integration of demand response associated with tariff schedules and distributed generation with other building services in residential and commercial buildings by developing a system architecture supporting demand-response message passing and translation between the smart grid and the XBOS-DR building management system.


XBOS-V: Plug-in electric vehicle smart charging in california

Plug-In Electric Vehicle Smart Charging in California: Open Source Protocol for Grid Operation and Ratepayer Benefits at Residential and Small Commercial Settings (XBOS-V)

This interdisciplinary project focuses on controlling the charging of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) at residential and small commercial settings using a novel and flexible open-source, open-architecture charge communication and control platform.

XBOS-VThis software-based platform known as “XBOS-V” (Open eXtensible Building Operation System/Vehicles) will be embedded in the context of overall utility and residential/business electrical and building automation systems, lending itself to potential broad implementation by commercial interests.

The integrated project will also focus on the key issues associated with the development of the open-source platform including assessment of user needs and grid operation and ratepayer benefits, grid security considerations, and the potential for PEV charge control to lead to increased ability to accept intermittent renewable energy for California’s electrical grid.

The platform would be developed to build on previous work for vehicle-grid solutions, including through such protocols as OpenADR, SEP 2.0, Zigbee, SAE J1772, and ISO 15118. The project brings together a group of researchers from the University of California – Berkeley and BMW North America LLC to also conduct an in-depth study that will gather key information learned from the “i ChargeForward” project by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and BMW.

The project will use key insights and observations from the pilot project to inform the development of the Open XBOS-V platform and associated grid and user benefits analysis. Up to 100 participants are expected in the i ChargeForward program for BMW i3 drivers, starting in Summer 2015.


BOSS: Building Operating System Services

A key challenge is enabling software which can run across many buildings with minimal modification. Many of the projects within SDB concern developing the services available to these applications to implement their logic; the BOSS project seeks to provide the underling runtime within these applications run. This consists of defining core sets of interfaces applications use to communicate with the building and each other while providing for the security and reliability of the overall system.


  • Stephen Dawson-Haggerty
  • Andrew Krioukov


Stephen Dawson-Haggerty, Andrew Krioukov, Jay Taneja, and David Culler. BOSS: Building Operating System Services. In Proceedings of the 10th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI ‘13), April 2013. [pdf]

Stephen Dawson-Haggerty, Xiaofan Jiang, Gilman Tolle, Jorge Ortiz, and David Culler. sMAP — a Simple Measurement and Actuation Profile for Physical Information. In Proceedings of the Eighth ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems (SenSys ‘10), November 2010. [pdf]

BAS: Building Application Stack

There is enormous potential for building-focused applications to improve operation and sustainability, both for classical uses like modeling or fault detection as well as innovative ones like occupant-driven control or grid-aware energy management. We show that a building application stack – that addresses shortcomings of existing antiquated architectures by democratizing sensor data, constructing a framework for reliable and fault-tolerant operation of concurrent applications, and establishing an application programming interface to promote portability throughout the building stock – enables development of advanced applications.


Andrew Krioukov, Gabe Fierro, Nikita Kitaev, David E. Culler. BAS: Building Application Stack 4th ACM Workshop On Embedded Sensing Systems For Energy-Efficiency In Buildings, Toronto, Canada, November 2012. [pdf]

BLOM: Berkeley Library for Optimization Modeling