BuildSys 2021
The 8th ACM International Conference on Systems for Energy-Efficient Buildings, Cities, and Transportation

November 17-18, 2021 in Coimbra, Portugal

About The Event

About The Event

The 8th ACM International Conference on Systems for Energy-Efficient Built Environments (BuildSys 2021) will host a highly selective, single-track forum for research on systems issues covering all aspects of the built environment, broadly defined.

Advances in the effective integration of networked sensors, building controls, and physical infrastructure are transforming our society, allowing the formation of unprecedented built environments and interlocking physical, social, cyber challenges. Moreover, built environments, including buildings and critical urban infrastructure, account for over half of societys energy consumption and are the mainstay of our nation’s economy, security and health. As a result, there is a broad recognition that systems optimizing explicitly for the built environment are particularly important in improving our society, and represent the foundation for emerging "smart cities".

BuildSys is an ideal venue for researchers and practitioners working to develop and optimize such smart infrastructure systems that are driven by networked sensing, computing, and control functions.

BuildSys 2021 will be Hybrid - Both Physical and Virtual.

BuildSys is one of the primary conferences sponsored by ACM SIGEnergy.


BuildSys 2021 and SenSys 2021
are colocated in Coimbra!


November 17-18, 2021

Call for paper

BuildSys 2021 Call for Papers

Built environments and critical urban infrastructures, account for over half of society’s energy consumption and are the mainstay of our nation’s economy, security and health. Advances in the effective integration of networked sensors, building controls, and physical infrastructure are transforming our society. In the information age, unprecedented research of cyber physical infrastructures includes: the acquisition, integration, and analysis of big and heterogeneous data such as sensors, devices, vehicles, buildings, and human, to tackle the major issues that cities face, e.g., air pollution, increased energy consumption and traffic congestion.

Systems optimization, data analysis and modeling applied to the built environment are particularly important in improving our society, e.g., by increasing its sustainability and enhancing people’s quality-of-life. These systems represent the foundation for emerging “smart cities”.

The 8th ACM International Conference on Systems for Built Environments (BuildSys'21) will be held November 17-18, 2021 in Coimbra, Portugal.

BuildSys is the premier conference for researchers and practitioners working to develop and optimize smart infrastructure systems that are driven by sophisticated sensing, computing, and control functions. We invite original contributions including, but not limited to the following:

  • Applications in smart and connected communities;
  • Sensing and control for urban infrastructure systems;
  • Novel sensor methodologies, techniques, and tools;
  • Sensing and control of electrical, gas, and water loads;
  • Improved user interfaces to built infrastructure;
  • Modeling, simulation, optimization, and control of heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation, water usage and other resource flows in built environments;
  • Sensor systems and applications that enhance energy efficiency, energy reliability, durability and comfort;
  • Systems that integrate infrastructure with the smart grid to offer demand response and ancillary services;
  • Distributed generation, alternative energy, renewable sources, and energy storage in buildings;
  • Emerging standards for data collection, energy control, or interoperability of disparate devices or systems;
  • Sensing, modeling, and predicting the urban heartbeat including sounds, movements, and radio spectrum;
  • Human in the loop sensing and control for efficient usage of electricity, gas, heating, water;
  • Sensor systems for reliable occupancy counting;
  • Long-lived and energy harvesting sensor systems;
  • Scalable indoor localization and contextual computing;
  • Security, privacy, safety, and reliability in built systems;
  • Empirical studies of city-scale wireless communications;
  • Environmental Sensing;
  • Vehicle technologies and Traffic.
  • This year, we are in particular interested in
  • Smart building and city technologies and initiatives in developing countries
  • COVID impact and response in smart infrastructure

Paper Types

We solicit two types of original submissions:

  • Regular papers for oral presentation (10 pages)
  • Notes papers for oral presentation (4 pages)

Notes papers are 4-page papers intended to discuss preliminary research results, advocate new research directions, describe public software or datasets, or present short projects that do not warrant a 10-page paper. Notes papers serve, in part, to encourage younger researchers and research teams entering this field of research to share their work. We also encourage Notes paper submissions from industry participants that may not be able to devote resources to a full paper. While Notes papers are not expected to have extensive evaluations, they will be reviewed based on the novelty of their ideas, potential for impact, and quality of presentation.

Submission Guidelines

Submitted papers must be unpublished and must not be currently under review for any other publication. Submissions must be full papers, at most 10 single-spaced US Letter (8.5” x 11”) pages, including figures, tables, references and appendices. Submissions for Note papers must be at most 4 single-spaced US Letter (8.5"x11") pages, including figures, tables, references and appendices. All submissions must use the LaTeX (preferred) or Word styles found here. Authors must make a good faith effort to anonymize their submissions by: (1) using the "anonymous" option for the class and (2) using "anonsuppress" section where appropriate. Papers that do not meet the size, formatting, and anonymization requirements will not be reviewed. Please note that ACM uses 9-pt fonts in all conference proceedings, and the style (both LaTeX and Word) implicitly define the font size to be 9-pt. Please refer to publication chair's Note as well as the User Guide of the new class. Accepted submissions will be available on the ACM digital library on the first day of the conference.

A subset of the best conference papers will be fast-tracked to the ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks (TOSN).

All papers must be in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) and submitted through the web submission form. For notes papers, the submission site has a checkbox called "Notes papers." Those who submit notes papers need to check this box to indicate their paper types.

Important Dates

  • Abstract Registration: July 9 July 23, 2021, AOE.
  • Paper Submission: July 16 July 23, 2021, AOE.
  • Paper Notification: September 10, 2021, AOE.
  • Camera Ready Submission: October 1, 2021, AOE.
  • Registration deadline:
    Early bird: September 1st - October 15th
    Late: October 16th - November 14th
    On-site: November 15th onwards

PhD Forum

BuildSys/SenSys 2021 - Joint Doctoral Colloquium (PhD Forum)

The Doctoral Colloquium of BuildSys/SenSys 2021 seeks to provide a friendly, supportive, and constructive environment where Ph.D. students can explore and develop their research interests in an interdisciplinary workshop guided by a panel of experienced researchers. The Doctoral Colloquium offers an opportunity to share experiences with other Ph.D. students and meet with accomplished international researchers and obtain feedback from them.

The Doctoral Colloquium committee will review submissions to ensure quality, relevance, and potential benefit from attendance. Accepted Ph.D. Forum abstracts will be included in the ACM Digital Library. Authors of accepted submissions are expected to participate in the Doctoral Colloquium event. There will be no separate registration fee for the Doctoral Colloquium.

Current Ph.D. students in the early stages of their career are encouraged to submit a 2-page research summary describing the work in progress and including a 100-word abstract. Things to consider for inclusion in the research summary might be: the expected contribution to the field; the original idea or thesis statement; the problem domain and the specific problem addressed; a brief overview of related work; the methodological approach; research carried out and results so far. The abstract should also include a one-paragraph biography of the student, including the names and affiliations of the research advisor(s), and the expected date of dissertation submission.

Important Dates

  • Submission Deadline: September 24, 2021 11:59pm AOE
  • Notification Deadline: October 9, 2021
  • Camera-ready Deadline: October 22, 2021 11:59pm AOE
  • Doctoral Colloquium Day(s): November 14, 2021

Submission Details

  • The paper should not exceed 2 pages.
  • Submission template format should follow ACM Master Article Template (with sigconf setting).
  • Submissions do not need to be anonymous and should have the PhD student as the sole author
  • Submission system: BuildSys 2021 PhD Forum



For more details, click the workshop titles to visit the workshop websites.

1st ACM SIGEnergy Workshop on Fair, Accountable, Transparent, and Ethical (FATE) AI for Smart Environments and Energy Systems

With the advent of IoT, high performance computing, and ubiquitous and smart sensing, the SenSys/BuildSys community is noticing a big shift in the adoption of data-driven black-box modeling (also referred to as AI) to solve problems in the space of smart environments and energy systems. As a result, these AI-enabled systems for smart buildings, smart cities, smart grids, electric transportation, among others are attaining better accuracy and efficiency numbers every year. However, these data-driven black-box solutions are rarely held accountable for the impact of their actions on the human in the loop which significantly impacts their real-world adoption. To truly conceptualize the idea of smart systems for everyone, it is critical to study AI-enabled smart environments and energy systems to enforce energy equity and ensure not just clean and resilient energy systems, but also make them affordable and accessible for all. The first ACM SIGEnergy workshop on Fair, Accountable, Transparent, and Ethical AI for Smart Environments and Energy Systems intends to bring together researchers from diverse backgrounds and discuss key issues, challenges, breakthroughs, and socio-economic impact in developing fair, accountable, transparent and ethical AI techniques for smart environments and energy systems.

Call for paper

FATEsys 2021 Call for Papers

Important Dates
  • - Submission Deadline: September 3, 2021 (AOE)
  • - Notifications: September 24, 2021 (AOE)
  • - Camera-ready: October 1, 2021 (AOE)
  • - Workshop: TBD
General Co-Chairs
  • Milan Jain (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA)
  • Pandarasamy Arjunan (Berkeley Eduation Alliance for Research in Singapore (BEARS))

2nd International Workshop on Reinforcement Learning for Energy Management in Buildings & Cities (RLEM)

RLEM brings together researchers and industry practitioners for the advancement of (deep) reinforcement learning (RL) in the built environment as it is applied for managing energy in civil infrastructure systems (energy, water, transportation). Following BuildSys's directive, the conference will be held virtually in November 17th 2021. More information about how to join the virtual sessions will be posted here soon.
RLEM'21 will be held in conjunction with ACM BuildSys'21

Important Dates
  • - Abstract submission: August 16, 2021 (AOE)
  • - Paper submission: August 23, 2021 (AOE) (AOE)
  • - Notifications: September 27, 2021 (AOE)
  • - Camera-ready: October 1, 2021 (AOE)
  • - Workshop: TBD
General Chair
  • Zoltan Nagy (University of Texas at Austin)

1st ACM International Workshop on Big Data and Machine Learning for Smart Buildings and Cities

The proliferation of urban sensing, IoT, and big data in buildings, cities, and urban areas provides unprecedented opportunities for a deeper understanding of occupant behavior, transportation, and energy and water usage patterns. However, utilizing the existing data sources and modeling methods in building science to model urban scale occupant behaviors can be pretty challenging. Therefore, technological progress is needed to unlock its full potential. In order to fulfill the latter task, this workshop focuses on the methodologies for big urban and building data collection, analytics, modeling, and real-world technology deployment. Additionally, a spotlight will be put on the ongoing project IEA EBC Annex 79 Subtask 2: Data-driven occupant modeling strategies and digital tools.

The workshop aims to open up discussions on 1) challenges of the current modeling approaches in building science, 2) big data modeling paradigms that could be applicable in building science, urban infrastructure data modeling, 3) requirements on the data collection infrastructure required for increasing the volume of data collection, and 4) future research directions using urban big data. An important part of the workshop will be dedicated to accelerating the open-world deployment of developed technologies. For instance, how can the guidelines, model benchmarking, and standardization unlock the potential of the big data, buildings, urban scale occupant behavior modeling and energy consumption data.

1st International Workshop on Accessibility of Buildings and Cities (AccessBuilt)

Recent advances in sensing, information and communication technologies combined with well-defined guidelines and regulations have paved various ways for accessible designs for people with disabilities. However, although millions of people require one type of special assistance or another, accessibility is often only a secondary consideration in the design process of buildings and cities. United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 10 (reduce inequality within and among countries) and 11 (make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) plan to make the built environments accessible to all the users irrespective of their physical abilities. So, accessibility should already be considered in the design and planning of urban environments in order to avoid time-consuming and costly modifications.
Technological advances can be integrated into this planning process in several ways. On the one hand, technology-supported processes such as virtual or augmented reality can be used to conduct a comprehensive needs analysis for a wide range of stakeholders. Realistic simulations can be used to take into account various cognitive and mobility impairments, and potential hazards and accessibility limitations can be revealed early in the design process.
The second use of technology in the design of buildings and cities is the development of smart buildings and smart cities. Through the systematic implementation and integration of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, formerly analog infrastructures become intelligent actors in a networked environment through the collection, aggregation, forwarding and interpretation of sensor data. With the help of this intelligent infrastructure, the various accessibility goals can be implemented in real time and in an automated manner. For example, sensors are already being used to detect defective elevators. This information is aggregated and shared without manual intervention and ultimately used to support routing within stations but also to ensure that people with walking disabilities only disembark at stations where they also have the opportunity to leave the platform. This example alone shows how important it is to think and plan accessibility as a holistic concept with the help of modern technologies.
However, even the accessibility of existing infrastructures can be improved with the help of smart extensions and networked digital actors. Stores, hotels, restaurants and public facilities can be annotated as so-called digital twins in virtual representations of the real world to take accessibility into account already when people plan their activities. Using methods from the fields of computer vision and machine learning such as object or text recognition, signs, objects or situations can be made tangible for people with limited perceptual abilities. Furthermore, with the ability to collect physiological data continuously and non-intrusively, medical emergencies, for example, can be anticipated and the relevant facilities could be found or already be informed.
In this workshop, we plan to bring together researchers and practitioners from the domains of accessibility, urban development, smart cities, and assistive technology. We believe that it is the combination of expertise in the design, construction, and maintenance of critical urban infrastructures on the one hand and the ability to make use of technological advances from the domains of smart cities, Internet of Things, machine learning, and data analytics on the other hand, that generates a great potential for the development of accessible and sustainable cities. Thus, in addition to presentations of technical papers, we also plan to encourage a lively discussion among participants from different domains in the form of panels, demos, and open discussion rounds.

4th ACM DATA Workshop, the Data: Acquisition To Analysis (DATA)

As the enthusiasm for and success of the Internet of Things (IoT), Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), and Smart Buildings grows, so too does the volume and variety of data collected by these systems. How do we ensure that this data is of high quality, and how do we maximize the utility of collected data such that many projects can benefit from the time, cost, and effort of deployments?

The Data: Acquisition To Analysis (DATA) workshop aims to look broadly at interesting data from interesting sensing systems. The workshop considers problems, solutions, and results from all across the real-world data pipeline. We solicit submissions on unexpected challenges and solutions in the collection of datasets, on new and novel datasets of interest to the community, and on experiences and results—explicitly including negative results—in using prior datasets to develop new insights.

The workshop aims to bring together a community of application researchers and algorithm researchers in the sensing systems and building domains to promote breakthroughs from integration of the generators and users of datasets. The workshop will foster cross-domain understanding by enabling both the understanding of application needs and data collection limitations.

Poster and Demo

Call for Posters and Demos

ACM BuildSys 2020 welcomes exciting demonstrations of novel technologies, applications, and hardware for the built environment as well as posters showing promising early work. We seek participation from both industry and academia for demonstrations and posters. Selection of demonstration and posters will be based on a short abstract, evaluated based on technical merit and innovation as well as the potential to stimulate interesting discussions and exchange of ideas at the conference.

The demo and poster session is a great forum to share your early-stage work with a broader audience. Accepted abstracts will appear in the regular conference proceedings. At least one author of every accepted demonstration or poster abstract is required to register and attend the conference.

Topics of Interest

We welcome all topics that align with the Buildsys main conference topics of interest

Poster abstract

Poster abstracts should report on research work where at least some preliminary results are available, but they need not necessarily describe completed work. An easel will be provided for all posters. All poster abstract submissions must strictly adhere to the formatting guidelines specified below.

Demo abstract

Demo abstracts should describe both the technology being showcased as well as the user experience of the demo. All demo abstract submissions must strictly adhere to the formatting guidelines specified below. The authors of the accepted demos will be invited to submit a short video together with the camera-ready version of the abstract.

Submission and Formatting Instructions

Abstract submissions should be no more than 2 pages and must follow a double-column format. All figures, appendices, and references must fit within this limit. Paper reviewing is single-blind and submissions should list author names on the front page.

Your submission must be in PDF format with all fonts embedded and be formatted according to the official ACM Proceedings format. Submissions that do not meet the page limit, size, and formatting requirements will not be reviewed. Word and LaTeX templates are available here. Please note that you must use the “Strict Adherence to SIGS style” template option. Note that ACM uses 9-pt fonts in all conference proceedings, and the style (both LaTeX and Word) implicitly define the font size to be 9-pt. Please refer to the publication chair's Note as well as the User Guide of the new class.

Due to the short interval between the notification of acceptance and the camera-ready deadline, we strongly encourage authors to follow the camera-ready formatting guidelines as closely as possible even for the initial abstract submission.

Important Dates and Submission Link

  • Submission Deadline: August 27th, September 24th, 2021 AOE
  • Notification of acceptance: September 3rd, 2021 October 8th, 2021
  • Camera-ready abstract: September 17th, 2021 October 22nd, 2021
  • Submission site:
If you have any questions, please contact the posters and demo chairs: Jorge Ortiz (Rutgers University) and Shijia Pan (UC Merced)


Organizing Committee

Event Venue

University of Coimbra, Portugal

The University of Coimbra, is a Portuguese public university in Coimbra, Portugal. First established in Lisbon in 1290, it went through a number of relocations until moving permanently to Coimbra in 1537. The university is among the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world, the oldest in Portugal, and played a influential role in the development of higher education in the Portuguese-speaking world. In 2013, UNESCO declared the university a World Heritage Site, noting its architecture, unique culture and traditions, and historical role.

SenSys 2021 / BuildSys 2021 will be held at Convento de São Francisco, a cultural and congress complex owned and operated by the Coimbra Municipality.

The history of Convento de Sao Francisco dates back to the 17th century, following the destruction by frequent flooding of the previous Franciscan Convent in Coimbra, dating from the 13th century. Although set in a historical place, Convento de Sao Francisco offers all the modern facilities and services that one could expect from a top quality cultural and congress complex, fully equipped meeting and conference rooms. Directions for Convento de São Francisco can be found here.



Latitude 40º 12’ 11” N | Longitude 08º 26’ 09” W

Walking to the conference venue:

Convento de São Francisco is centrally located in Coimbra, and is within walking distance of all centrally-located hotels.

A route from "Largo da Portagem", a central area in Coimbra, to Convento de São Francisco can be found here.

By Taxi from your hotel to the conference venue:

You can ask for a Taxi at your Hotel desk. Ask the driver to take you to the "Convento de São Francisco". From the suggested hotels the trip to the conference should not be over 5-6 Eur.


Information on Coimbra and its various touristic attractions be found on our local tourism information website .

Registration Information

Registration fees are as follows (all prices are in Euro):

In-person / author Online author Online other In-person Online In-person
SenSys ACM member 530 € 150 € 0 € 580 € 0 € 630 €
Non-member 580 € 180 € 0 € 630 € 0 € 680 €
Student/Retiree 230 € 60 € 0 € 280 € 0 € 330 €
BuildSys ACM member 380 € 100 € 0 € 430 € 0 € 480 €
Non-member 430 € 125 € 0 € 480 € 0 € 530 €
Student/Retiree 180 € 50 € 0 € 230 € 0 € 280 €
SenSys + BuildSys + Workshops ACM member 680 € 200 € 0 € 730 € 0 € 780 €
Non-member 730 € 250 € 0 € 780 € 0 € 830 €
Student/Retiree 280 € 80 € 0 € 330 € 0 € 380 €
Additional fee for workshop (requires one conference registration) ACM member 100 €  10 € 0 € 130 € 0 € 150 €
Non-member 180 € 15 € 0 € 210 € 0 € 230 €
Student/Retiree 30 € 5 € 0 € 60 € 0 € 70 €
Workshop only (i.e., without conference) ACM member 150 € 50 € 0 € 180 € 0 € 210 €
Non-member 200 € 60 € 0 € 230 € 0 € 260 €
Student/Retiree 70 € 20 € 0 € 100 € 0 € 120 €

*Rule regarding minimum paper registrations: each full paper requires a unique full registration (non-student) and each demo or poster requires an unique registration of any type (including student).

*Registration of on-line participants in the journal track is free, whether they are presenters or not.

Registration deadline:
Early bird: September 1st - October 15th
Late: October 16th - November 14th
On-site: November 15th onwards

Registration for BuildSys/SenSys 2021 is now live:

Travel Information

Information on COVID-19

  • For information on COVID-19 measures implemented in Portugal, please visit

  • For information on COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Portugal, please visit

  • How to get to Coimbra

    Coimbra is located 180 km north of Lisbon and 120 km south of Porto. The best way to get to Coimbra is to fly to Lisbon or Porto, and then rent a car or take a train.

    Driving from Lisbon

    On the way out of the Airport follow the signs for "A1", heading north. After 180 km, exit at "Coimbra Sul".

    Traveling by train from Lisbon

    To get to the “Lisboa-Oriente” railway station you can take the metro (3 stops away from the airport, 1.5 €) or take a taxi (10 min., around 10 €). If you choose to go by metro, beware that the line for the ticket machines may be long. If you choose to go by taxi, as the ride from the airport to the train station is very short, it is advisable to take a taxi outside the departure hall, instead of taking it in the arrivals area.

    Once you arrive at "Lisboa-Oriente" train station, go to the upper ticketing level and buy a ticket for an “Alfa Pendular” (AP) or “InterCidades” (IC) train. Do not take regional trains (R), as they may take 3 hours to reach Coimbra.

    Trains depart approximately every half hour, and the journey takes 1H30m to 1H50m, depending on the type of train. Please note that the last daily train departs between 21:30 and 22:00, depending on the day (timetables are available at:

    Get off the train at “Coimbra B”. Either take a taxi directly to your Hotel (it should cost less than 10 €) or take a local train to “Coimbra A” (downtown station), using your previous ticket (this transfer is included in the ticket price).

    Driving from Porto

    On the way out of the Airport follow the signs for "A1", heading south. Exit at "Coimbra Sul".

    Traveling by train from Porto

    From the airport, which lies to the north of the town, take a taxi or the Metro E line to Estação Campanhã. Depending on the traffic, this might take up to an hour. Take an “Alfa Pendular” or “Intercidades” train. These trains depart approximately every half hour. Please note that the last daily train departs at around 20:00, depending on the day (timetables available at:

    Get off the train at “Coimbra B”. Either take a taxi directly to your Hotel (it should cost less than 10 €) or take a local train to “Coimbra A” (downtown station), using your previous ticket (this transfer is included in the ticket price).


    Participants should book accommodation directly with the chosen Hotel. The following Hotels are recommended because they are located downtown, with nearby restaurants and shops. These Hotels are 5-10 minutes from the meeting place (by car).

    Hotel Quinta das Lagrimas (*****)


    Rua António Augusto Gonçalves,
    P-3041-901 Coimbra
    Tel: +351 239 802 380

    Hotel Tivoli Coimbra (****)


    Rua João Machado,
    3000-266 Coimbra
    Tel: +351 239 858 300

    Stay Hotel Coimbra Centro (****)


    Av. Fernão de Magalhães, n.º 199,
    3000 - 176 Coimbra
    Tel: +351 239 855 500

    Hotel Vila Galé Coimbra (****)


    Rua Abel Dias Urbano, 20,
    3000-001 Coimbra

    Hotel IBIS Coimbra (**)


    Avenida Emídio Navarro n°70 Edifício Topázio,
    3000-150 Coimbra
    Tel: +351 239 852 130

    Hotel D. Luis (***)


    Santa Clara,
    3040-091 Coimbra
    Tel: +351 239 802 120


    BuildSys welcomes financial support from companies and organizations. Supporting BuildSys is a great opportunity to increase visibility and product awareness within smart buildings and cities. Supporters will be acknowledged at the conference opening remark. Company names and logos will appear on BuildSys 2021 website and proceedings. Supporters may direct their fund to specific BuildSys 2021 awards or events, such as Best Paper Award(s), Best Demo Award(s), Best Poster Award(s), Student Travel Award(s), N2Women, and conference reception. Other demands can be discussed on a case-by-case basis. Please contact sponsorship chairs and

    Sponsor Levels

    The minimum support is 2,000 USD. And all sponsors will have their physical booth at BuildSys2021.
    • Gold Sponsor: 5,000 USD or greater contribution
    • Silver Sponsor: 3,000 USD to 5,000 USD contribution
    • Bronze Sponsor: 2,000 USD to 3,000 USD contribution


    Contact Us