Laying Down the Foundation: An R&D Roadmap for Energy Savings through Advancements in Smart Building Technologies

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Date Published




The use of sensors, actuators, and controllers to improve operations and minimize preventable energy losses has been well-documented in the buildings sector, with up to 30% whole-building energy savings possible. While efforts to embed intelligence in buildings that enable “smart” operations for energy management have proliferated in the past two decades, they have generally lagged behind other sectors and applications (e.g., large-scale industrial process plants, automotive, aerospace). This paper presents a research and development (R&D) roadmap for advancements in monitoring and control technologies for smart building operations. Beginning at the sensor node level, four interdependent focus areas are analyzed that build on one another through respective technology performance improvements and cost reductions. Prospective systems-level technology cost targets and energy performance goals are presented for each focus area based on quantitative estimates using BTO’s Scout tool; these estimates are coupled with qualitative insights that account for technology characteristics not currently represented in the Scout analysis framework - for example, ease of installation and long-term maintenance (e.g., through automating the mapping, configuration, and commissioning of supported technologies). Finally, the portfolio-level impact of innovation is explored through the maximum adoption primary energy savings potential.


2018 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Year of Publication




Research Areas