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Green Construction

Greener Construction:
Everyone has a role to play

Hari Srinivas
Policy Analysis Series E-034. June 2015.

Making buildings and the construction process sustainable and environmentally friendly is a complex process that needs different inputs and skills/expertise from different stakeholders. These stakeholders can include mayors and urban managers, government officials (as developers and as regulators), architects, planners, builders, and developers). Taking different actions at different stages of the life cycle of a building, architects, planners, civil engineers, developers, surveyors, suppliers everyone has a role to play.

Some examples of these roles include:

  • Providing opportunities for incorporating sustainability.
  • Controlling those conditions and situations that may lead to unsustainability.
  • Educating the people and groups they interact with on sustainability principles.
  • Programming their projects and work plans to clearly include sustainability.
  • Legislating for sustainability, particularly at the local level, with codes, rules and regulations, procedural requirements etc.
  • Maintaining a strong commitment to sustainability through development and management systems.
  • Financing projects and companies that have a good record in incorporating sustainability.
For the local government: Much of the local government’s influence in the push towards sustainable building is in governance: rules and regulations, issuance of building permits, and as a major builder itself, demonstrating its greeness by building sustainably, having a green purchasing strategy, working with companies that have ISO14001 rating etc.
For architects and planners: Architects, designers and engineers have a fundamental role to play in achieving sustainability in the building and construction sector, and a large number of other stakeholders as an extension – building material suppliers, engineering and technology companies etc. Their decisions and choices affect not only the immediate fabric of the building, but also long-term issues with the use of the building.
For building users: Ultimately, it is the decisions and choices made, and the ethics/values espoused by the user of the building on a daily basis – how to save electricity, reduce waste, use less water, procure recycled goods – that cumulatively helps in a sustainable building achieving its goals.

APPENDIX: Stakeholder Analysis Below is a stakeholder analysis of the building and construction sector to work towards the goal of broad sustainability.

1. Government and Regulatory Bodies:

  • Role: Develop and enforce building codes, regulations, and standards related to sustainability, energy efficiency, and environmental impact.
  • Interests: Balancing economic growth with environmental protection, ensuring compliance with regulations, promoting sustainable practices, and supporting green initiatives through incentives or funding.
  • Influence: Can shape policies, provide incentives, and set the legal framework for sustainable building practices.

    2. Industry Associations and Professional Organizations:

  • Role: Represent and advocate for the interests of professionals, contractors, architects, engineers, and suppliers in the building and construction sector.
  • Interests: Promoting sustainable building practices, providing training and certification programs, facilitating knowledge sharing, and supporting research and innovation.
  • Influence: Can influence industry practices, set standards, and promote sustainable building guidelines through education, advocacy, and collective action.

    3. Developers and Construction Companies:

  • Role: Plan, design, finance, and construct buildings and infrastructure projects.
  • Interests: Meeting market demands, maximizing profits, ensuring project viability, adopting sustainable practices for reputational benefits, and complying with regulations.
  • Influence: Can influence design decisions, material choices, construction methods, and operational practices. Can drive the adoption of sustainable practices through procurement and project specifications.

    4. Building Occupants and Users:

  • Role: Individuals, businesses, or organizations that occupy and use buildings.
  • Interests: Comfort, health, and well-being of occupants, energy efficiency, access to sustainable amenities, and operational cost savings.
  • Influence: Can influence demand for sustainable buildings, demand energy-efficient features, and influence operational practices. Their preferences can incentivize developers and building owners to prioritize sustainability.

    5. NGOs and Environmental Organizations:

  • Role: Advocate for environmental protection, sustainability, and social equity.
  • Interests: Promoting sustainable construction practices, influencing policy and regulations, raising awareness, and supporting research and innovation for green building.
  • Influence: Can influence public opinion, advocate for stricter regulations, collaborate with stakeholders, provide expertise, and promote sustainable building practices.

    6. Financial Institutions and Investors:

  • Role: Provide funding, loans, and investments for construction projects.
  • Interests: Mitigating financial risks, ensuring long-term asset value, encouraging sustainable investments, and considering environmental and social factors in lending and investment decisions.
  • Influence: Can influence project financing, provide incentives for sustainable building projects, and incorporate sustainability criteria into investment and lending guidelines.

    7. Local Communities:

  • Role: Residents and community organizations in the vicinity of construction projects.
  • Interests: Environmental impact, community well-being, aesthetics, noise and pollution reduction, job creation, and social inclusion.
  • Influence: Can provide input during the planning and design phase, influence zoning and permitting decisions, and demand sustainable and socially responsible construction practices.

    8. Suppliers and Manufacturers:

  • Role: Provide building materials, equipment, and technologies.
  • Interests: Promoting sustainable and low-carbon products, reducing waste, ensuring resource efficiency, and complying with environmental regulations.
  • Influence: Can influence material choices, supply chain practices, and product innovation. Can drive sustainable practices through product certifications and providing sustainable alternatives.

    9. Research and Academic Institutions:

  • Role: Conduct research, provide expertise, and develop knowledge on sustainable construction practices.
  • Interests: Advancing knowledge, innovation, and best practices in sustainable building design, construction methods, and technologies.
  • Influence: Can provide research-based evidence, guidance, and training. Collaborations with stakeholders can drive innovation, influence curriculum development, and provide guidance for sustainable construction practices.

    10. Community and Environmental Advocacy Groups:

  • Role: Local community groups, non-profit organizations, and activists focused on environmental and social issues.
  • Interests: Environmental conservation, social equity, community engagement, and sustainable development.
  • Influence: Can advocate for sustainable practices, raise awareness, organize protests or campaigns, and engage with stakeholders to promote sustainable building practices and community involvement.

    11. Media and Press:

  • Role: Journalists, media outlets, and influencers who report on construction industry trends and sustainability issues.
  • Interests: Providing accurate information, raising awareness about sustainable practices, and shaping public opinion.
  • Influence: Can highlight success stories, promote sustainable initiatives, expose unsustainable practices, and influence public perception and demand for sustainable buildings.

    12. Utilities and Energy Providers:

  • Role: Providers of electricity, water, and other utilities necessary for building operation.
  • Interests: Energy efficiency, demand-side management, renewable energy integration, and reducing resource consumption.
  • Influence: Can offer incentives, provide energy-saving programs, promote renewable energy adoption, and collaborate with stakeholders to improve building energy efficiency.

    13. Insurance Companies:

  • Role: Providers of insurance coverage for construction projects and property.
  • Interests: Mitigating risks associated with climate change, natural disasters, and property damage.
  • Influence: Can influence insurance premiums based on sustainability and resilience measures implemented in building design and construction.

    14. Trade Unions and Workers' Associations:

  • Role: Represent the interests of construction workers, tradespeople, and laborers.
  • Interests: Ensuring fair working conditions, safety, training, and job security.
  • Influence: Can influence labor practices, advocate for sustainable working conditions, and provide input on sustainable construction policies.
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