At present, the building automation systems market is quite fragmented with vendors providing a heterogeneous range of systems, sensors and actuators. System level management usually lacks co-operation as interfaces and semantics for interoperation are not available. This is a result of buildings that are not designed with integrated Building Automation Systems (BAS) but rather utilise different systems for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) control, lighting control, fire and security applications, etc. These systems are usually installed by different system integrators and most of the applications at the device and systems layers are vendor proprietary. This heterogeneity leaves little capacity for interoperability and co-operation among the different devices and systems. This lack of co-operation between individual subsystems hampers the increasing demand to operate the whole system in an optimal manner. In addition to this, subsystems are individually controlled often using often contradictory goals such as reducing energy, maintaining service level agreements at low cost. Addressing such complex system goals in an integral and robust manner requires moving from individual, centralised systems towards collaborative systems that cooperate inside and between the device and system level to serve overall system wide operation strategies in an efficient manner.

Supported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration (no. 288079), the SCUBA project has addressed the challenges associated with the engineering of BAS by creating a novel systematic engineering approach delivered via an integrated design tool chain and an online integration and control framework. The tool chain encapsulates system specification and design, placement optimisation, deployment support, a co-ordination middleware and co-operation management modules.
SCUBA provides tools and services for the planning, design and management of wired and wireless BAS that operate across the building life cycle (design, commissioning and operation), which together go towards developing an integrated approach to the engineering of BAS and act as a significant step on the road to the ultimate goal of BAS interoperability across the building lifecycle.

SCUBA has created a novel architecture, services, and engineering methodologies for robust, adaptive, self-organising, and cooperating monitoring and control systems. This addresses the current problems of heterogeneity and interoperability, installation and commissioning complexity, and adaptability and robustness in the building monitoring and control space. SCUBA has provided a proof of concept of this approach by demonstrating how self-organisation leads to simpler engineering, commissioning, and flexible maintenance and how cooperation among heterogeneous, multi-vendor building monitoring and control systems makes the system more adaptive and robust, and as an example how this benefits in making buildings more energy efficient and safer.

Specifically SCUBA has developed the following solution to the problems identified above.

1. Development of an architecture for building system interoperability and cooperation. This includes the development of semantics for device, system and application level functions that create the basis for cooperation in heterogeneous, multi-vendor, multi-domain building monitoring and control systems and thus enables interoperability and cooperation.

2. Development of a systematic engineering approach for interoperable, self-organising, and robust monitoring and control systems for building automation.

3. Development of a self-organisation device layer using a resource efficient middleware platform based on the CEA rule-based resource oriented Linc middleware.

4. Development of a service-based system concept with service discovery and semantic descriptions for information exchange and self-organisation at the system layer of building automation systems. The service oriented approach together with the semantic models provides the basis cooperation among heterogeneous, multi-vendor, multi-domain building monitoring and control systems.

5. Techniques and algorithms for

  • adaptive and cooperative monitoring and control services to improve building energy efficiency.
  • scenario recognition and diagnosis services that make building monitoring and control systems more robust as they are able to recognize faults and emergency situations and use the self-organising features of the system to adapt, through cooperation, to such situations thus mak-ing buildings safer.