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From green buildings to living buildings? Rating schemes and waste management practices in Australian educational buildings

Nilupa Udawatta (Faculty of Science Engineering and Built Environment, School of Architecture and Built Environment, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)
Jian Zuo (School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)
Keri Chiveralls (CQ University, Melbourne, Australia)
George Zillante (School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 19 August 2020

Issue publication date: 28 April 2021

462

Abstract

Purpose

There is an increasing level of recognition of the pressing issues associated with climate change and resource depletion. As a result, it is well recognised that higher education institutions bear responsibilities to promote “sustainable development”. Many universities have adopted green building practices in the construction of their building infrastructure. A variety of Green Building Rating Tools (GBRTs) have been designed to facilitate green building developments. Thus, the aim of this research is to identify mechanisms to improve current GBRTs in terms of waste management (WM) practices by using green star accredited educational buildings in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach was adopted in this study to achieve the research aim by conducting three case studies of educational buildings in South Australia. Thirty three interviews were carried out in a face-to-face, semi-structured manner and project documentations were reviewed. The participants were asked to provide their expert opinions on the GS initiative and its ability to minimise waste generation, the impact of the GS initiative on solid WM practices and problems associated with the implementation process of the GS initiative. Data was analysed using code-based content analysis using the NVivo software package. Tables and figures were used as the visualization technique to present an expedient understanding in a holistic manner.

Findings

Findings showed that the Green Star (GS) initiative drives change in the way current practices are performed in the Australian construction industry. However, this study revealed that WM targets outlined in the GS initiative are not challenging enough. Thus, suggestions are provided in this research to improve the WM aspects of GS initiatives by looking beyond a focus on “sustainability” and “waste minimisation” towards a focus on regenerative environments.

Originality/value

These findings are valuable for practitioners and policymakers seeking to improve WM practices and to address issues associated with climate change and resource depletion.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research project referred to in this paper is supported by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant and the following partners: Zero Waste SA; Australian Institute of Building Surveyors; Australian Institute of Building; Campbelltown City Council; Hodgkinson Architects; Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; Shenzhen Jianyi International Engineering Consultants Ltd; Shenzhen University and the University of Karlsruhe.

Citation

Udawatta, N., Zuo, J., Chiveralls, K. and Zillante, G. (2021), "From green buildings to living buildings? Rating schemes and waste management practices in Australian educational buildings", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 1278-1294. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-03-2019-0177

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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