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Environmental performance indicators for assessing sustainability of projects in the Ghanaian construction industry

Kofi Agyekum (Department of Construction Technology and Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)
Seth Yeboah Botchway (Department of Construction Technology and Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)
Emmanuel Adinyira (Department of Construction Technology and Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)
Alex Opoku (Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London Bartlett, London, UK)

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment

ISSN: 2046-6099

Article publication date: 28 May 2021

416

Abstract

Purpose

Recent reports based on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) have revealed that no country is in line with achieving the targets of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, with the slowest progress being witnessed mainly on goals that are focused on the environment. This study examines environmental performance indicators for assessing the sustainability of building projects.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses an explanatory sequential design with an initial quantitative instrument phase, followed by a qualitative data collection phase. An extensive critical comparative review of the literature resulted in the identification of ten environmental sustainability indicators. One hundred and sixty-seven questionnaire responses based upon these indicators from the Ghanaian construction industry were received. Data were coded with SPSS v22, analysed descriptively, and via inferential analysis. These data were then validated through semi-structured interviews with six interviewees who are fellows of their respective professional bodies, a senior academic (professor in construction project delivery) and a government official. Data obtained from the semi-structured validation interviews were analysed through the side-by-side comparison of the qualitative data with the quantitative data.

Findings

The findings from the study suggest that all the indicators were important in assessing building projects' environmental sustainability across the entire life cycle. Key among the identified indicators is the effects of the project on “water quality, air quality, energy use and conservation, and environmental compliance and management”. The interviewees further agreed to and confirmed the importance of these identified indicators for assessing the environmental sustainability of building projects in Ghana.

Originality/value

Compared to existing studies, this study adopts the exploratory sequential design to identify and examine the critical indicators in assessing the environmental sustainability across the entire lifecycle of building projects in a typical developing country setting, i.e. Ghana. It reveals areas of prime concern in the drive to place the local construction industry on a trajectory towards achieving environmental sustainability.

Keywords

Citation

Agyekum, K., Botchway, S.Y., Adinyira, E. and Opoku, A. (2021), "Environmental performance indicators for assessing sustainability of projects in the Ghanaian construction industry", Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/SASBE-11-2020-0161

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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