A non-functional requirements-based ontology for supporting the development of industrial energy management systems

Roberto Monaco, Xiufeng Liu*, Teresa Murino, Xu Cheng, Per Sieverts Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Non-functional requirements (NFRs) are essential in the development of industrial energy management systems (IEMS). This paper presents a comprehensive ontology model for NFRs in IEMS, derived from an extensive survey of NFRs in both the software industry and the energy domain. The proposed ontology encompasses four critical factors influencing the quality attributes of IEMS: technologies, stakeholders, markets, and regulations. Implemented using the OWL 2 DL standard, the ontology model aims to provide a clear and consistent understanding of NFRs and their relationship to the energy domain, as well as identify which factors have a significant impact on the environmental performance of IEMS. The ontology is evaluated through various methods, such as technical validation, user evaluations, its applications in RDF data management, and application-based evaluation, including software architecture, knowledge base data model design, and regulatory framework design. By understanding the link between software quality requirements and the characterizing factors of the energy domain, as provided by our ontology model, this information can be used to inform life cycle assessments and quantify potential reductions in energy consumption, emissions, waste generation, and other environmental impacts associated with implementing cleaner and more sustainable solutions. The results demonstrate that the proposed ontology effectively supports IEMS development and serves as a foundation for developing reusable and adaptable software systems across different industrial domains.
Original languageEnglish
Article number137614
JournalJournal of cleaner production
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Energy management
  • Framework
  • Non-functional requirements
  • Ontology
  • Software development


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