The tenets of sustainable architecture have been compartmentalized, with operational energy efficiency positioned as a primary method of achieving sustainability targets. “Smart building” technologies offer the promise of overcoming behavioral factors; the promise of energy efficiency without the need to significantly alter the processes of development; the promise of minimal interruption to the status quo for the building sector by changing the behavioral patterns of “consumers” of buildings. Typical building automation systems (BASs) operate central heating/cooling systems and common space lighting, but advancements in the technology are increasing the ability to control all aspects of building operation. Meanwhile, Internet-connected sensors, devices, and appliances, collectively referred to as Internet-of-Things (IoT), enable automation and control of the most minute details of life, and collect data in equally minute detail. Increasing attention is being given to this potential for surveillance-driven building automation to manage occupant behavior as an energy efficiency measure.

These technocratic approaches to sustainability present human behavior as variables to be optimized in pursuit of energy efficiency targets, with the building itself presented as an unbiased system working to achieve environmental targets.