In modern power systems, co-simulation is proposed as an enabler for analyzing the interactions between disparate systems. This paper introduces the co-simulation platform Virtual Grid Integration Laboratory (VirGIL) including Hardware-in-the-Loop testing, and demonstrates its potential to assess demand response strategies. VirGIL is based on a modular architecture using the Functional Mock-up Interface industrial standard to integrate new simulators. VirGIL combines state-of-the-art simulators in power systems, communications, buildings, and control. In this work, VirGIL is extended with a Hardware-in-the-Loop component to control the ventilation system of a real 12-story building in Denmark. VirGIL capabilities are illustrated in three scenarios: load following, primary reserves and load
following aggregation. Experimental results show that the system can track one minute changing signals and it can provide primary reserves for up-regulation. Furthermore, the potential of aggregating several ventilation systems is evaluated considering the impact at distribution grid level and the communications protocol effect.