Purpose This study aims to review the status quo, current state of research, research hot themes and research gaps in sustainable facilities management (SFM) in the built environment (BE) through an extant literature review. Design/methodology/approach To map and analyze knowledge paths in the context of SFM research, a sequential explanatory mixed-method review involving bibliometric and content analysis was used to help identify current research trends, research hot themes and knowledge gaps. The Scopus search engine was used to find 169 relevant articles. For a better understanding of the literature accumulated, a bibliometric analysis was carried out by using VOSviewer to reveal current research themes, the status quo and current state of research as well as research gaps. Findings Through the literature review and content analysis, the current research themes on SFM revealed from the study include green building technologies, assessment methods of SFM, smart buildings and building information modeling. The research hot themes in SFM include smart buildings and green building technologies, green buildings (GB), architectural and building designs in the university sector, assessment methods in buildings and decision-making and the adoption of asset and facility management in the university sector. Indoor air pollution, intelligent buildings, climate change, maintenance, environmental management, facilities, historic preservation, environmental performance, energy management, etc. are the research gaps identified from the study, and these serve as potential areas for future research studies under SFM. It was recognized that facilities managers are increasingly involved with sustainability policies within their organizations and are developing sustainability agendas to keep up with the changing nature of the facilities management (FM) profession. Practical implications The findings of this study hold relevance to the FM practice, as the integration of SFM by facilities managers can lead to waste reduction, decreased operating expenses and reduced energy consumption. In addition, occupants of sustainable buildings experience improved conditions that contribute to better health and productivity, thus boosting their overall well-being. Consistent with the themes of smart buildings and green technologies, revealed to be the hot themes in the SFM research scope, properties with sustainable features can command higher rental rates and property values, appealing to a broader range of stakeholders. SFM practices in universities can aid in saving money from reduced facility operational costs and improve the image of institutions while creating better indoor environments for students and staff. The analyses of countries involved in research can open doors for the establishment of research groups and the development of collaboration between universities in different countries researching similar topics of interest. Originality/value The geographical scope of this study is not limited and, therefore, encourages broad applicability of the findings to the global sustainable BE.

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