This article describes research needs for sustainable buildings as defined in a July 2009 National Science Foundation-sponsored workshop. This workshop brought together building researchers with researchers in the areas of distributed renewable energy and multifunctional materials to engage their expertise and identify overlapping research needs and opportunities. An overview of sustainable building design provided the broad context for discussion. This overview was followed by focused presentations in building control systems, advanced building envelopes, and systems and process integration. In addition, presentations on distributed renewable energy and multi-functional materials supported the participants in outlining and generating research needs that connect the topic areas. The primary outcome from this part of the workshop was the identification of key sustainable building research needs in: transformative measurements; passive strategies; regional solutions and living labs; systems integration; storage and cascades; adoption of international advances; and implementation and market transformation. These needs, along with associated technical challenges and potential impacts, are described in this paper to guide sustainable building research.