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Institutional motivations and barriers to the construction of green buildings on campus: A case study of the University of Waterloo, Ontario

Gregory R.A. Richardson (School of Urban Planning, McGill University, Montreal, Canada)
Jennifer K. Lynes (ERS Department, Faculty of Environmental Studies, Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 17 July 2007

7894

Abstract

Purpose

To explore the barriers and motivations to the construction of green buildings at the University of Waterloo (UW) by documenting and analysing the UW building process.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted 13 semi‐structured in‐depth interviews with key UW individuals as well as analyzing numerous internal reports in order to document UW's building process. Based on the literature, a set of key ingredients for successful green building projects is developed as a basis from which to evaluate UW's current practices.

Findings

Based on the four key ingredients needs for successful green building projects at Institutions of Higher Education (IHE), UW was found to have weaknesses in all four areas including: a lack internal leadership amongst stakeholders with decision‐making power, a lack of quantifiable sustainability targets, an operational structure that does not reward building designs with lower energy costs, and lack of communication between professional designers, facilities management and faculty. While UW has implemented many green initiatives on campus, the current financial and organizational structure of the University's current system does lend itself to the creation and implementation of green buildings on campus.

Originality/value

Most research at IHE document existing green building initiatives and the lessons learned from their design and construction. There has been limited research into the processes by which decisions to proceed with the construction of green buildings are made, particularly within large institutions. As a consequence, the research documents many of the pitfalls, traps, and solutions that are experienced during the construction of green buildings, but have limited knowledge of the reasons why some proposed green buildings never get developed. This research identifies barriers to the construction of green buildings within institutional decision‐making processes and makes specific recommendations for realizing green building construction based on the UW case study.

Keywords

Citation

Richardson, G.R.A. and Lynes, J.K. (2007), "Institutional motivations and barriers to the construction of green buildings on campus: A case study of the University of Waterloo, Ontario", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 339-354. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676370710817183

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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