November 2008

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Blue, Buildings, and Energy
The shift from green to blue has started.

 Laurent Liscia, Executive Director, OASIS
Toby Considine, University of North Carolina
William Cox, Cox Software Architects LLC

The shift from green to blue has started. Adam Werbach ( says that real strides in sustainability will only be realized when we view our efforts in terms of business opportunities, not sacrifices. According to Werbach, each decision and each transaction should be made mindful of price, purpose and process—and the benefits of economic growth can be guided by the ethos of sustainability. He named this new synthesis Blue, invoking the earth as seen by the astronauts.

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OASIS, a non-profit international consortium, has been at the heart of information standards development since 1993. We have seen the standards devised at OASIS transform the business world through eCommerce and transform the office work world through document formats. One lesson is clear: standards have the power to ensure that all the economic actors—consumers, businesses and governments—can freely exchange knowledge and information consistently across transactions and systems.

The future of smart energy operations in smart power grids and in smart buildings has much in common with the running and management of eCommerce enterprise systems. Each has similar needs for reliable, secure, and scalable infrastructure, and each requires embracing diversity to enable innovation.

OASIS Blue Energy

The power grid’s inability to negotiate and anticipate energy needs causes great inefficiencies in the generation and transmission of power.

OASIS Blue standards will empower energy consumers and suppliers to negotiate contracts, understand the source and characteristics of their energy, and calculate the real cost of energy in the present and near future.

OASIS Blue Security

Security is not about locking the door. It is about responding in the right way at the right time to the right party. Good security facilitates genuine transactions while preventing pickpockets from joining the crowd. Working with any number of organizations, each with changing employees, delegated rights, and commercial relationships, will require federated identity management. The effective energy commerce envisioned by OASIS Blue Energy will require the fine-grained security that OASIS standards define.

At OASIS, we have security Technical Committees that are producing and have produced broadly used standards on every aspect of secure data exchange, from security frameworks to biometrics to digital signatures to security tokens and access management. These standards have already helped deliver the astonishing surge in eCommerce worldwide. These same standards, and whatever new standards are needed as Blue develops, will be the foundation upon which global, efficient energy markets will be built.

OASIS Blue Transparency

In order to make informed choices and to maintain trust, transactions must be transparent as well as secure. Data exchange with well-understood open formats is critical to transparency. And is another part of OASIS’ core expertise.

OASIS Blue Values

Our values grow from our belief that applying successful eCommerce technologies will greatly improve the profits and efficiencies of our current economic growth model.

What next?

Control Solutions, Inc Whether your interest in sustainability comes from a concern about climate change, energy security, resource depletion, national security, or because it is the largest venture opportunity of our lifetimes, the challenges are the same.

We can achieve each of these goals by getting the standards, the interfaces, and the interoperability work done soon.

OASIS encourages all those interested in the role of open standards and sustainability to participate in OASIS Blue. We especially invite people representing:

Participants will prioritize areas of standardization and build consensus on how to structure and charter the work within OASIS. To ensure your voice is heard in this most important dialogue, contact

There will be discussions at Grid-Interop on OASIS Blue and how OASIS and our members can support the rapid development of more responsive buildings and grids; details will be sent to mailing list members.


To effectively interact with the grid, building systems must become responsive to their occupants and environment. oBIX and other OASIS specifications will enable competitive development of software to mediate between building-based systems and the intelligent power grid. Open standards are the way to incorporate business needs, household needs, and other information into energy decisions in an interoperable manner, creating new markets.

Intelligent buildings, intelligent energy grids, consumers, providers, and enterprise scale—this is our dream. oBIX and other building management standards are a start on the intelligent buildings side; we believe that the application of broadly deployed and used eCommerce and security technologies will be the most rapid means of moving toward effective markets and distributed control.

About the Authors

Laurent LisciaLaurent Liscia, Ph.D., (, Executive Director at OASIS, provides leadership, operational oversight, and strategic vision for the consortium. He represents OASIS in the international arena, serving as an advocate for open standards in matters of policy and adoption. Laurent also develops new opportunities to extend the breadth and depth of future OASIS work. Prior to joining OASIS, he co-founded several Web-related companies, including Traackr and Webmotion. Laurent served as a Media Attaché for French Foreign Affairs and has worked in France, Canada, Italy, Ecuador, Morocco and the United States. He holds a doctorate from the Sorbonne University and speaks English, French, Italian, and Spanish. Laurent is based in San Francisco.

Toby ConsidineToby Considine ( of the University of North Carolina is co-chair of the OASIS Technical Advisory Board; he is also chair of the OASIS oBIX Technical Committee, where he works to expose the deep processes of the engineered systems in buildings and the grid as services responsive to the enterprise and the tenant. Toby has provided business process analysis and software services within the education, manufacturing, distribution, and architecture industries. He is a regular speaker in organizations ranging from APPA (educational facilities) to AIIM (image management) to the NCCC (CAD technologies and business integration). Toby's work at standards groups includes buildingSmart and GridWise.

William CoxWilliam Cox, Ph.D., ( William Cox has developed enterprise product architectures for Bell Labs, Unix System Labs, Novell, and BEA, and has done related work in OASIS, ebXML, the Java Community Process, OMG, and the IEEE, often working at the boundaries between technology and business requirements. He was lead architect for Unix System V Release 4 and of follow-on highly scalable and secure Unix systems, service-oriented architectures and directory APIs for Novell, distributed object technologies, Web services and XML messaging and transaction systems, and other enterprise software. He is co-chair of the OASIS Technical Advisory Board. He consults on software architecture and the application of eCommerce and security technologies to building and energy management. See .


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