Accelerating the Green Movement: Major Barriers to Pushing Sustainable Construction
Despite the growing trend of adopting more sustainable practices in construction, the paradigm-shift of “becoming green” still has to respond to serious challenges for further improvement. From the industry professionals’ viewpoint, many of the sustainability methods suggested by the research are not smoothly applicable to the real world of construction. This paper is a result of a study in which eight major barriers to applying green practices were identified through a pilot survey and the findings of the similar studies. In a second survey, the industry professionals were interviewed, and the relative importance index method was used to rank the barriers based on their criticality. The results show that the investors’ unwillingness to pay the additional initial costs of the green buildings is the primary barrier. The seven other barriers are ranked and discussed. The research indicates that to increase the willingness of the industry to address the green movement, the additional initial costs and the extra efforts required for sustainable construction must be handled and compensated through other incentives. The findings of the research are expected to contribute to sustainable construction by reflecting what needs to be done to create more practical and applicable practices which are more likely to be adopted in the real world of the construction industry.
Pragmatic Passive Sustainable Construction Practices
A typical building construction process runs through three main consecutive phases: design, construction, and operation. Currently, many architects and engineers provide enhanced evidence-based designs that reflect improved energy performance. Similarly, building tenants have demonstrated a dramatic increase in awareness, concerning building operation and energy usage. Although building construction is chronologically located between both the design and the operational phases, the construction phase has not yet been addressed in terms of developing innovative sustainable construction practices that reduce its energy consumption and meet the triple bottom line of economic, social, and environmental sustainability. The study applied three passive sustainable practices on an actual construction case study project to understand and compare their financial impacts pre- and post implementation. To showcase some potential cost savings, these examples applied an adaptive management approach to analyze the overhead costs, productivity of the concrete activities, and efficient storage of materials. The results demonstrate that when contractors implement sustainable passive practices during construction, the overall project would yield various financial savings. Some of these financial saving are: (1) increasing the productivity of the tiling activity resulting in a 25 percent decrease in its duration, which reflected a total saving of $35K, (2) increasing the productivity of the concrete activity, which shortens the duration of the construction by 45 days and thus reflecting a saving of $1.5M, and (3) reducing the overhead of the labor camps by efficiently orienting the temporary shelters, which would reduce the need for cooling and heating, thus reflect a saving of $10K. Through evaluating the effectiveness of possible sustainable construction practices based on financial savings, this paper contributes to the construction practice body of knowledge by providing proof of concept that encourages contractors to adopt sustainable practices during construction.