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Application of multi-attribute utility theory for sustainable energy decisions in commercial buildings: A case study

Tina Nikou (Glenn Department of Civil Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA)
Leidy Klotz (Glenn Department of Civil Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA)

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment

ISSN: 2046-6099

Article publication date: 11 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

Despite substantial advances in technologies enhancing the energy efficiency of buildings, they remain the largest consumers of energy in the USA compared with other sectors. In addition, the current rating systems for sustainable buildings do not reflect all potential energy savings during the design, construction, and occupancy of the built environment. The purpose of this paper is to examine the application of multi-attribute utility theory (MAUT) as a framework for quantifying energy decisions made during the design phase of a building construction project.

Design/methodology/approach

The MAUT method was applied to a case study, and the results were compared with subjective results from the decision makers. Analysis of the results suggested that MAUT is a decision analysis tool that could aid decision makers in communicating their decision criteria and expectations.

Findings

Findings from this research suggest that using an analysis method provides the decision makers with a systematic way to include their concerns and preferences and specific requirements of the project along with the criteria for sustainable energy and the built environment at the same time. Using a multi-criteria, decision-making method provides the decision makers with quantitative information, which facilitates the comparison of alternatives. MAUT enabled the various stakeholders of the project to collaborate on the inputs of the problems and allowed the decision makers to communicate their priorities and expectations more effectively.

Originality/value

The findings indicated that MAUT provides stakeholders with a quantitative and holistic approach to decision making in which they can track changes in parameters during the process. The implementation of MAUT as a decision analysis tool in designing construction projects ultimately could lead to better decision making for sustainable building designs.

Keywords

Citation

Nikou, T. and Klotz, L. (2014), "Application of multi-attribute utility theory for sustainable energy decisions in commercial buildings: A case study", Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 207-222. https://doi.org/10.1108/SASBE-01-2014-0004

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited