Smart Public Building Lab

Hochschule für Technik, Stuttgart

How does a public building become sustainable? Concepts are developed and tested in the Smart Building Lab.


The Smart Public Building lab is emerging from an explorative research project at the HFT. Within the project, concepts for a sustainable, energy-efficient and resource-saving use of buildings based on an open source platform (openHAB) are developed, prototypically implemented and tested.

The sensors and actuators used in the project mainly come from the Smart Home, just like openHAB itself. Different wireless technologies are used, ranging from Z-Wave to Bluetooth to LoRa. The project provides a vivid testbed for new use cases in the Smart Public Building as well as a learning environment for students and researchers.


Lab Details

Hochschule für Technik (HFT) Stuttgart

Physical and virtual. The Lab is a host/client based network installation including sensors and actuators spreaded over several rooms in building 2 of HFT. It is going to be extended within the next months to cover more than one building.

  • The basic installation consists of three servers (mini PCs) running openHAB (an open source home automation platform) in building 2. In the future, the servers will be distributed over different buildings.
  • Several offices, lecture rooms and hallways are equipped with room sensors and actuators (e.g. multi sensors monitoring temperature, humidity, light, movement, and sensors detecting a window’s status). Actuators are so far thermostats that can regulate the heaters in a room. Additionally, Bluetooth beacons are going to be installed and a prototypically self-assembled room sensor based on Arduino or Raspberry Pi will be developed.
  • Two up and running LoRa-Gateways (The Things Network), one in the basement of building 2, one at the rooftop of building 3, are available.
  • – Bachelor and Master students (developing, implementing, testing)
  • – Research staff (research, lab management)
  • – In the future also possibly:
  • – Ph.D. students (research)
  • – University staff (research, teaching)
  • – University staff (using, testing)

Up to 30 (depending on the specific activities).

  1. Virtualization of openHABian instances to allow remote workshops from scratch with no prerequisites. Typical workflows of IoT applications for the smart building could be studied (setting up the system, integrating services, gathering and visualizing data, defining rule-based actions, communication in distributed systems etc.).
  3. (To be evaluated) The lab in the lab: A room within the university, separated from the main installation, that can be monitored and controlled based on rules or other algorithms for a certain time. A web camera provides an actual view to observe conditions and reactions in situ.
  5. Integration with DigiLab4U, remote control of an openHAB instance, integrated learning environment and analytics.
Play Video