Structural genomics projects have revealed structures for a large number of proteins of unknown function. Understanding the interactions between these proteins and their ligands would provide an initial step in their functional characterization. Binding site identification methods are a fast and cost-effective way to facilitate the characterization of functionally important protein regions. In this review we describe our recently developed methods for binding site identification in the context of existing methods. The advantage of energy-based approaches is emphasized, since they provide flexibility in the identification and characterization of different types of binding sites.