The innovation of building information modelling (BIM) technology provides a new means of predicting, managing and monitoring the environmental impacts of project construction and development through virtual prototyping/visualisation technology. This paper aims to provide thought-provoking insights into the shortcomings in the scope of the existing green BIM literature, and outlines the most important directions for future research. A total of 84 green-BIM-related papers have been reviewed and compared. Most green BIM research, centres on environmental performance at the design (44 papers) and construction stages (25 papers) of building lifecycles. Few studies concentrated on the development of BIM-based tools for managing environmental performance during the building maintenance, retrofitting (8 papers), and demolition (12 papers) stages. It is suggested that a ‘one-stop-shop’ BIM for environmental sustainability monitoring and management over a building's full life cycle should be considered in future research. Future green BIM tools should also include the three R's concept (reduce, reuse and recycle) in their sustainability analysis for both new development and retrofitting projects. The system should offer better integration with facility operation maintenance manuals for more effective low-carbon management. The use of cloud-based BIM technology to enable the management of building sustainability using ‘big data’ is also needed. Despite these potential developments, it is argued that the lack of computer tools and the complications of the BIM models are hindering the adoption of green BIM.