As the EU energy industry is clearly moving towards a new era of reliability, availability, and efficiency that will contribute to the improvement of Europe's economic and environmental sustainability, smart technologies provide the opportunity for new applications with far-reaching interdisciplinary impacts: providing the capacity to safely integrate more renewable energy sources (RES), smart grids and distributed generators into the network; delivering power more efficiently and reliably through demand response and comprehensive control and monitoring capabilities in order to achieve zero energy targets. The integration of smart technologies requires a holistic approach that takes into account all aspects of sustainability.
The methodological approach is based on a cycle expansion of three phases:
1. the users/consumers aspects, focusing on smart and zero energy buildings analysis,
2. the smart grids penetration at community and city level, offering the technological platform for fast moving towards sustainable communities by exploiting the ICT and energy systems development in the maximum degree
3. development of smart applications and smart grids optimised operation.
This paper analyses the three-phase approach addressing issues of providing optimal operation and adaptation to ICT technologies. It also highlights the principles of integrated design procedure and links the process with smart building technologies. Energy efficiency methodologies and innovative techniques applied at building level are also presented.