Green Construction

A Decision Support Tool:
The GET Matrix



Hari Srinivas
Management Tools Series E-035. June 2015.


The complexity of environmental problems is demonstrated by the faact that a large number of factors are responsible for "the problem", which also has multiple impacts and effects.

This complexity extends itself into the environmental decision-making sphere as well, requiring multiple decision to be taken by different stakeholders, for different solutiuons. Complex global environmental problems include, for example, pollution, global warming, natural resource depletion, waste disposal, or the bigggest of them - climate chnage. These problems are caused by a number of cascading issues, and in turn result in a number of impacts

Based on its experience in a number of fields and issues, GDRC developed a decision-support tool called the GET Matrix in order to analyse and separate the different decisions needed to solve an environment problem.

GET stands for Governance, Education and Technology. Actions necessary to tackle any complex environmental problem are broken down into:

  • remedial actions, to deal with existing problems, or impacts of existing problems
  • preventive actions, to deal with avoiding or preventing problems from occuring in the future, and
  • management actions. that help in bridging remedial and preventive actions.
These actions are then further categorized into those that deal with governance (rules, regulations, legislation, codes, specifications etc.), education (awareness, professional conduct, ethics, etc.) and technology (technologies themselves, and the skills, competence, knowledge and capacities needed to manage those technologies).

Taken together, the above issues form the GET Matrix as illustrated below:
Governnce
Education
Technology
Preventive
Actions
Management
Actions
Remedial
Actions

Each of the resulting cells in the matrix will outline actions that need to be taken, and help identify the actors who will be responsible for their implementation.

The GET Matrix is illustrated here for the building and construction sector. we are currently faced with three trends - (1) increasing populations, (2) more than half of the world's population living in cities, and (3) humans spending more than 80% of their time indoors within their homes and work places. This has placed the building and construction sector as a key driver to achieve sustainable development.
SBC Sustainable bilding and construction (SBC) brings together the concepts of resource efficiency, energy efficiency and cost efficiency withint the homes and work places where we spend most of our time. SBC can be achieved by balancing energy-efficient, cost-effective, low-maintenance products through environmentally sound design and construction techniques.

With respect to sustianable buidling and construction what kinds of actions can be envisaged? Within a city or locality, who is the best actor who can provide for or undertake that action?



The GET Matrix: Actions related to Governance
Governnce Education Technology
Preventive
Actions
Management
Actions
Remedial
Actions

Governance systems concern the laws, rules, regulations, codes, standards and specifications that are needed to promote sustainability in the building and construction sector.

Critical stakeholders that need to be involved include the national and local governments, professional certification bodies and associations, building material manufacturers etc.

  • Preventive actions could include:
    • Institute sustainable building regulations and codes
    • Making urban planning rules and zoning regulations orientated towards sustainability
    • Promoting corporate environmental and social responsibility

  • Management actions could include:
    • Create policies and strategies and incorporate into existing government plans and programs
    • Provide timely SBC information to assist decision-making
    • Institute environmental management systems based on ISO14001

  • Remedial actions could include:
    • Rethinking policies affecting the sector, including financial ones, and strengthening standards
    • Making procurement procedures more sustainability oriented
    • Instituting inspections and sustainability rating systems


The GET Matrix: Actions related to Education
Governnce Education Technology
Preventive
Actions
Management
Actions
Remedial
Actions

Education systems concern the awareness, professional ethics/conduct, and skills that are needed to promote sustainability in the building and construction sector.

All stakeholders, from local governments to architects, engineers, developers and others need to be involved in raising awareness on sustainability issues.

  • Preventive actions could include:
    • Conduct training and education programs
    • Utilise or create community planning forums
    • Implement aninformation campaign for all stakeholders

  • Management actions could include:
    • Develop and promote a SBC awards program
    • Professional conduct and accreditation
    • Performance reporting

  • Remedial actions could include:
    • Improving access to information
    • Continuing education courses and reskilling workshops
    • Building public and enterprise awareness and knowledge sharing


The GET Matrix: Actions related to Technology
Governnce Education Technology
Preventive
Actions
Management
Actions
Remedial
Actions
Technology systems, as used in this context, have a broad meaning and concerns not only the actual technology, but also the skills, competence, knowledge and capacities that are needed to manage the technology.

This broader meaning, therefore, requires a range of stakeholders to be involved, including architects, engineers, developers, building material and equipment/tools manfacturers etc.

  • Preventive actions could include:
    • Include SBC specifications in contracts
    • Establish performance based contracts
    • Financial programmes and subsidies

  • Management actions could include:
    • Create partnerships with research organisations and universities
    • Create a database of green building suppliers, construction and demolition companies
    • Establish a network/forum of SBC companies to share information

  • Remedial actions could include:
    • Upgrading skills and worksite health and safety
    • Monitoring and evaluation techniques
    • Improving data collection and indicator development

The GET MAtrix is thus, a decision-support tool that provides a "big picture" of the complex and interrelated actions and actors needed to promote sustainability within the building and construction sector.

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Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org