Intelligent buildings and microgrids are important parts of the future smart grid. The adoption and development process of the intelligent buildings has been slow. There are multiple technical and non-technical reasons. However, two recent trends have accelerated the research and application of the technologies related to this area. First, skyrocketing energy price and the global need for reducing fossil oil consumption for environmental sustainability combined with the fact that buildings are a significant source of energy consumption, making buildings intelligent and energy efficient will have huge impacts on the total CO2 emission and hence global sustainability. Second, rapid popularity and maturation of mobile smart phone technology and Internet technologies like cloud computing enable smart phone holders to be aware of their energy consumption and participate in controlling and running their buildings with seamless Internet connections. Cloud computing enables active interactions between the consumer-side (buildings) and the provider-side (smart grids). Hence, combining energy efficiency and networking perspectives, in this paper, we investigate the key research topics through a broad survey on the latest developments in intelligent buildings and our vision of microgrids formed by such buildings. Our aim is to draw an overall picture of the current research and potential future applications. Moreover, we further summarize and discuss in detail a series of key issues and trends that can potentially motivate and impact the adoption and development of the intelligent building and microgrid technologies in the near future.
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