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BPIE explored the concept of Smart buildings and came with an answer to the question: ‘What is a smart building?’
The Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) put the finishing touches  on its  comprehensive work on smart buildings, providing a working definition of a ‘smart building’  and  making  detailed  policy  recommendations  to  encourage  their  growth.  The current negotiations on the Clean Energy for All Europeans package are a final opportunity to shape the European building stock of 2030. This latest intervention comes at a crucial point in support of those pushing for more ambitious policy and a genuinely smart European building stock of the 2030s.
[Source: Extract Press Release BPIE / 02.06.17].

Measuring how smart a building is, depends on the capacity of its functions and the degree to which different components interact and complement each other. BPIE considered all these aspects and has come forward with a concrete definition of a smart building, placing energy efficiency at its heart.

BPIE definition of a smart building (2017):

A smart building is highly energy efficient and covers its very low energy demand to a large extent by on-site or district-system-driven renewable energy sources. A smart building (i) stabilises and drives a faster decarbonisation of the energy system through energy storage and demand-side flexibility; (ii) empowers its users and occupants with control over the energy flows; (iii) recognises and reacts to users' and occupants’ needs in terms of comfort, health, indoor air quality, safety as well as operational requirements.

BPIE is clear that both market and legislative frameworks need to allow buildings to connect to and interact with the energy system. But this is not always the case across Europe. In fact, the legislative framework is one of the biggest barriers to the widespread penetration of smart buildings.

For smart buildings to become a success story, multiple benefits must be recognised on an equal footing. Buildings have the potential to be at the forefront of providing flexibility for the energy system, including through energy production, control, storage and demand response, as well as providing a means to integrate electric vehicles. Just as importantly, smart buildings must enable a healthy and comfortable living and working environment for their occupants. But analysis has shown that more must be done in this area.

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