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The characteristics and evolution of business model for green buildings: a bibliometric approach

Xiaojing Zhao (School of Management and Economics, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China) (Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China)
Wei Pan (Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 22 September 2021

Issue publication date: 7 December 2022




The wide uptake of green building is hindered by factors such as limited market demand and high up-front cost despite substantial policy incentives. Successful business models (BMs) help facilitate the diffusion of sustainable innovation and have attracted increasing attention. However, little attention has been paid to examining the adoption of green building from the perspective of BM. This paper aims to identify the characteristics of BM that companies adopted to deliver green building projects and examine the evolution path of BM for green buildings.


A total of 744 interdisciplinary bibliographic records related to BM and green buildings from the Web of Science Core Collection database have been identified from the Web of Science Core Collection and analyzed through co-author analysis, co-word analysis and co-citation analysis.


BM research mainly focuses on five subjects, namely, environmental science, engineering, business, economics, science and technology. Keywords “strategy”, “capability”, “perspective” and “design” receive the highest centrality index, which suggests that the strategy design and corporate capability are indispensable elements when designing or innovating a company's BM. “BM canvas” and “resource based view” received the burst citations in the recent decade. Twelve research clusters are identified, including performance evaluation, waste management, energy efficiency, BM, project business, professional capital, leadership and product innovation. These topics highlight three evolution direction for green building projects, i.e. life cycle-oriented value proposition, collaborative value delivery and innovative cost and revenue structure.


The findings contribute to a systematic understanding of the underlying mechanisms of BM for green buildings and illuminate the development trend of business strategies for sustainability.



The authors acknowledge and appreciate that this study is funded by the Seed Funding scheme for young scholars in Beijing Institute of Technology (No: 3210012222005).

Data availability: The datasets related to this article can be found at the Web of Science Core Collection. Data generated or analyzed during the study are available from the corresponding author by request.


Zhao, X. and Pan, W. (2022), "The characteristics and evolution of business model for green buildings: a bibliometric approach", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 29 No. 10, pp. 4241-4266.



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