Intelligent Buildings: Key to Achieving Total Sustainability in the Built Environment

Tulika Gadakari, Sabah Mushatat, Robert Newman

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‘Are intelligent buildings a pragmatic approach towards achieving a sustainable built environment?’ is the research question that this review article aims to answer. It has been argued that there is a serious need for intelligent buildings to be evaluated against the parameters of total sustainability (environmental, economic and social) so as to help the agenda of living in a technologically advanced, healthy and comfortable world. This paper reviews existing theoretical concepts of intelligence and sustainability in the built environment, through an exploration of various scientific literature and U.S Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) databases. A systematic qualitative review approach has been employed to select an appropriate definition of sustainable development and use it as a theoretical framework to assess the technological impact of intelligent buildings on the environmental, economic and social front. Subsequently five case study buildings from around the world, which exemplify the use of intelligent technologies to achieve sustainable gains were chosen and analyzed to further validate the literature findings. Outputs from the study highlight the various benefits of intelligent buildings, which include decrease in energy and water consumption, operational costs, as well as increase in productivity and investments. Additionally the analysis of the case studies revealed that the use of intelligent building technologies has contributed significantly towards a higher sustainability rating on the LEED rating scale. Moreover, the comparison of the attributes of intelligent buildings and sustainable practices in buildings, illustrates the fact that there is a considerable overlap between the two and intelligence can aid sustainability in the built environment. Thus the research suggests that green technologies and intelligence in combination may be a pragmatic approach towards the sustainability aspect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-16
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Engineering, Project, and Production Management
Issue number1
Early online date13 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

EPPM-Journal is an Open Access journal, which uses a funding model that does not charge readers or their institutions for access. Article submission, processing, and publication fees are also free for authors. The Journal is operated by a group of volunteers with the same goal advancing the cross-disciplinary sciences in engineering management, project management, and production management. Users have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles under the following conditions: attribution, noncommercial, and no derivative works.


  • Intelligent buildings
  • Green buildings
  • Smart buildings
  • Innovative architecture
  • Sustainability


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