About this course

Learn how to design the integrated, high performance buildings of the future by with industry expert Ron Bernstein. You will learn building code standards and ASHRAE Guideline 13: Specifying Building Automation System.

This class is an introduction to smart buildings and the terminology and concepts currently used in the industry. The student will learn about open systems, Building Automation Systems, Building Management Systems, and Enterprise Management Systems as they are applied to integration of various building sub-systems.

Building automation systems encompass a broad range of integration requirements. To understand the basics, a clear understanding of the core industry terms, acronyms, and concepts is presented as a foundation of key topics.

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Learning Objectives

  • Smart Building Drivers and Key Concepts
  • Introduction to Building Automation Systems
  • Open Integrated Buildings
  • Key Terms and Definitions
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Enterprise and Supervisory Systems
  • Device Functional Profiles
  • Control Network

Course outline

6 modules • 41 assignments • 6:40 hours of video lectures

Welcome • 2 assignments
Orientation Materials

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can get started immediately after you enroll and the course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after enrollment.

  • Set up email notifications and your student profile
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board
Module 1 • 4 assignments
An Introduction to Smart Buildings

Understand the difference between “dumb” buildings and “smart” buildings, and recognize the different variants of what is considered a smart building. This class will explore key concepts including: Integrated Buildings, “Green” Buildings, Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Design, Building Data, Controls, and more.

  • Introduction to Smart Building Automation (01:05:23 hours)
  • Read article: Definitions and Terminology Article
  • Required Discussion Board Post
  • An Introduction To Smart Buildings (20 questions)
Module 2 • 5 assignments
Fundamentals of Building Open Control Networking Systems

This module describes the wide variety of systems that have separate functions yet may be integrated with other systems to communicate and share data, together creating the greater BAS and BMS infrastructure. Key concepts that will be discussed include: market trends regarding building automation, building management, and enterprise management systems. A multi-tier architecture model will define the interaction and integration responsibilities of smart buildings.

  • Fundamentals of Building Open Control Networking Systems (01:16:20 hours)
  • Read article: Open systems: The foundation for a new era of BAS
  • Required Discussion Board Post
  • Quiz Reference File (Download this before taking the quiz.) (.pdf)
  • Fundamentals Module Quiz (20 questions)
Module 3 • 9 assignments
Building System Design and System Integration

This course follows the 102 course and provides an overview of buildings system design and requirements for open integrated smart buildings. Part 1 provides an overview of the multi-tier approach to building system design and contracting is discussed including the roles of the various contractors and designers. Part 2 introduces building sub-systems and their integration into the building management system requirements. An overview of system design and example system architectures is discussed along with tools, user interface requirements, and enterprise system connectivity.

  • Smart Building Design (01:34:29 hours)
  • Reading Assignment - LonMark - Why Open?
  • Reading Assignment: What is the LonWorks Platform?
  • Reading Assignment: Read about BACnet International
  • Comparison of LON and BACnet
  • Additional Optional Readings
  • Required Discussion Board Post
  • 103 Quiz Reference File (Download this before taking the quiz.) (.pdf)
  • 103 Design and Integration Quiz (20 Questions)
Module 4 • 8 assignments
Specifying Building Automation Systems

This module presents the fundamentals of a good specification for building automation systems, how to assess specification criteria, and a look at the roles and responsibilities of the various contractors. It provides an overview of the specification sections, structure, and key resources available to designers, suppliers, and installers. This course will reference the ASHRAE Guideline 13 Specifying Building Automation Systems and other example specifications.

  • Specifying Building Automation Systems (01:00:27 hours)
  • Required Discussion Board Post
  • Reading Assignment Week 4 Number 1
  • Review sample LonMark Specification
  • Review Two Tier Specification Requirements Example
  • Additional Reading Resources: US Army Corps of Engineers Specifications
  • Additional reading material : ASHRAE Guideline 13-2015 Specification
  • Specifying Building Automation Systems Quiz (15 questions)
Module 5 • 5 assignments
An Introduction to Designing Building Automation Dashboards, User Interfaces, and Public Kiosks

Specifying and designing a BAS/BMS user interface requires significant insight into the usage requirements, staff skill set, and information available. This module will explore the technical and personnel requirements and options for good user interface design.

  • BMS User Interface Design (01:00:11 hours)
  • Required Discussion Board Post
  • Read article: Criteria for Building Automation Dashboards (.pdf)
  • Read article: Visualizing Building Information (.pdf)
  • User Interface Quiz (15 questions)
Module 6 • 4 assignments
Smart Buildings and the Smart Grid

Smart buildings have a significant role to play in managing the total energy consumption of the plant. Working together smart buildings and the energy grid can collaborate to help reduce intense demand on our fragile power infrastructure. This course module will explore the basics of a grid-aware building and the issues of integration along with key application and market drivers.

  • Smart Buildings and the Smart Grid (43:15 minutes)
  • Reading Assignment - OpenADR
  • Reading assignment - Transactive Energy Systems
  • Smart Buildings and the Smart Grid Quiz (8 questions)
Conclusion • 4 assignments
Feedback and Additional Resources

This is our last module but you still have access to the all of course materials for 12 months (1 year), so keep working and you'll be able to complete the course at your own pace. After your year of access expires you can optionally extend access with a HeatSpring Membership. Enjoy the course and keep in touch!

  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate


  • Ron Bernstein

    CEO, RBCG Consulting
    View profile

    Ron Bernstein is CEO of RBCG Consulting, providing consulting, engineering, research, and educational services to organizations needing help navigating their energy and automation strategy. RBCG works with end users, owners, specifiers, suppliers, and integrators to develop IoT, interoperability, and open systems approaches to building automation, smart cities, outdoor... Learn more

Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?
You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. This 6 module course is delivered entirely online. This course is self-paced and you can set your own schedule to complete the materials. You can begin the lecture videos and other course materials as soon as you enroll. During your year of access the instructor will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board. After successfully completing the course, you will be able to generate a certificate of completion.
How long do I have access to the materials?
Students get unlimited access to the course materials as soon as they enroll and for one year (365 days) after enrollment. Rewatch videos and review assignments as many times as you want. View updates the instructor makes to the course as the industry advances. Return to your course anytime with online access from anywhere in the world. After the one year of access expires, access can be extended by joining as a HeatSpring member. A single membership extends access to course materials for all past enrollments.
Is there a certificate of completion?
Yes, when you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. You can download your certificate as soon as you have completed all of the course requirements. Students can easily share their verified certificates on their LinkedIn profiles using our LinkedIn integration.
Can I register multiple people?
Yes please visit our HeatSpring for Teams page to get a group discount.


Based on 18 reviews
students have taken this course

I enjoyed the course very much, I have been doing BAS for about 3 years now, and I learned a great deal from this course. I encourage anyone who is in the building automation industry to take this course..

Charles Edwards
Project Engineer, LuK USA LLC

No thanks.

Greg Sydlowski
Project Manager, M&E Engineers, Inc

The course content was focused, concise and relevant... [It] gave me a good refresher/update into the current state of Building Automation Systems technology.

Glenn Brady
Project Manager, P.E., Sun-Air Sheet Metal

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