As long ago as early 80's, a building incorporating the latest technologies and automatically controlled to function could be considered as intelligent. Since then, and although the role of the emerging technologies remains undeniable, aspects like the responsiveness or the adaptability of buildings towards the changing needs of the built environment became crucial. A definition of an Intelligent building as "one that provides a productive and cost-effective environment through optimisation of its four basic elements - structure, systems, services and management - and the interrelationships between them", lead inevitably to a more global approach, the overall performance.

The Smart or Intelligent building is today considered as a building, which incorporates the best available concepts, materials, systems and technologies integrating these to achieve or exceed the performance requirements of the buildings stakeholders. These stakeholders include the building's owners, managers and users, as well as the local and global community.

   
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