This paper presents the online test and evaluation of the performance of five practical control strategies (fixed set-point control method, fixed approach control method, two near optimal strategies and one optimal strategy) for building cooling water systems to identify the best strategy for future field validation. All of these strategies were tested and evaluated in a simulated virtual environment similar to the situation when they are actually implemented in practice. A virtual building system representing the real building and its central chilling system was developed and used to test the operational performance of the system controlled by different strategies. The packages of each control strategy are separately computed by the application program of Matlab, as the control optimizers to identify the necessary control settings for the given condition based on the collected operation data. The data exchanger between the virtual building system and the control optimizer was managed by a software platform through a communication interface. The results showed that the optimal control strategy is more energy efficient and cost effective than the other strategies, and its computational cost is manageable and can satisfy the requirements of practical applications. This strategy is being implemented in a super high-rise building for field validation.