domOS Project - "Enabler for digital energy services in existing buildings”


Summer 2021

Digitalisation is progressing at a fast speed in nearly all application domains. In this respect, buildings – and especially energy in buildings – are behind the times. Consequently, facility managers and occupants have generally a limited understanding of their building as an energy system, and buildings are not acting as active nodes of the energy grid they are connected to.

Admittedly, increasing number of smart appliances and devices, ranging from smart coffee machines to online heat pumps, are available on the market. However, such silo solutions, whose individual relevance is not questioned, do not come up with the expectations of digital energy in buildings for several reasons:

  • Energy appliances for heating and cooling, which are by far the highest energy consumers in buildings – have a long lifespan. Many of them are from the predigital area and feature no data interface.
  • Deployment of services based on several smart appliances (e.g., energy management for photovoltaic inverter, electric vehicle charger, heat pump, and smart meter) is cumbersome, because of the heterogeneity of the digital interfaces.
  • Higher-order energy systems (local energy communities, distribution grids, energy markets) cannot activate the energy flexibility of buildings due to lack of shared digital interfaces.
  • The multiplicity of independent smart solutions degrades the user experience (multiple user interfaces and access control procedures).

domOS project aims at defining and prototyping an "operating system for buildings" acting as an intermediary between applications and field devices and appliances. The domOS operating system will offer two basic services: let applications access the building infrastructure independently of the type or brand of appliances and enable building occupants to manage their privacy centrally. The vision is to apply the same recipe that boosted the development of applications for smartphones for buildings.

Unlike the smartphone ecosystem, the smart building ecosystem is not dominated by a few big players. To trigger adoption by many stakeholders in a fragmented scene, domOS leverages both existing and emerging standards from recognised bodies. The aim is for domOS to be compliant with existing and new devices and appliances and allow their integration with low development effort.

About domOS
domOS is a collaborative research project supported by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Programme for Research and Innovation (Call LC-SC3-EE-4-2019-2020), with a duration of 36 months.

The project consortium is made up of 11 partners from four European countries. Each partner develops activities in smart energy services for buildings, either as a technology provider or as a service operator. This mix, together with the five demonstration sites, ensures that the developed solutions will be applicable in a large range of use cases.

"domOS is at the crossroads of smart buildings and of the Internet of Things (IoT). The consortium wants to bring new IoT developments for interoperability, privacy management, and provisioning to the smart building world. This will provide European buildings with a doable path for coordinated stepwise deployment of smart services" says Dominique Gabioud, the Project Coordinator from the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland.