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Constructing Green

Constructing Green: The Social Structures of Sustainability

Rebecca L. Henn
Andrew J. Hoffman
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Constructing Green
    Book Description:

    Buildings are the nation's greatest energy consumers. Forty percent of all our energy is used for heating, cooling, lighting, and powering machines and devices in buildings. And despite decades of investment in green construction technologies, residential and commercial buildings remain stubbornly energy inefficient. This book looks beyond the technological and material aspects of green construction to examine the cultural, social, and organizational shifts that sustainable building requires, examining the fundamental challenge to centuries-long traditions in design and construction that green building represents.The contributors consider the changes associated with green building through a sociological and organizational lens. They discuss shifts in professional expertise created by new social concerns about green building, including evolving boundaries of professional jurisdictions; changing industry strategies and structures, including the roles of ownership, supply firms, and market niches; new operational, organizational, and cultural arrangements, including the mainstreaming of environmental concerns; narratives and frames that influence the perception of green building; and future directions for the theory and practice of sustainable construction. The essays offer uniquely multidisciplinary insights into the transformative potential of green building and the obstacles that must be overcome to make it the norm.ContributorsLauren Barhydt, Clayton Bartczak, Lyn Bartram, Olivier Berthod, Nicole Woolsey Biggart, Lenora Bohren, Bertien Broekhans, William Browning, Zinta S. Byrne, Michael Conger, Jennifer E. Cross, David Deal, Beth M. Duckles, Brian Dunbar, Robert Eccles, Amy Edmondson, Bill Franzen, Ronald Fry, Rebecca L. Henn, Jock Herron, Stephen Hockley, Andrew J. Hoffman, Kathryn B. Janda, Nitin Joglekar, Gavin Killip, Alison G. Kwok, Larissa Larsen, Michelle A. Meyer, Christine Mondor, Monica Ponce de Leon, Nicholas B. Rajkovich, Stuart Reeve, Johnny Rodgers, Garima Sharma, Geoffrey Thün, Ellen van Bueren, Kathy Velikov, Rohit Verma, Robert Woodbury, Jeffrey G. York, Jie Zhang

    eISBN: 978-0-262-31538-8
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Foreword: Integrating the Social into the Built Environment
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Nicole Woolsey Biggart

    In the 1950s in the United States, air quality in some metropolitan areas was so poor that it was literally difficult to see nearby urban landscapes. At first, air pollution was dismissed as a visible and annoying factor of city life, an accompaniment to postwar economic growth and urbanization. But by the 1960s, air pollution was increasingly a matter of public concern. Smoky fog—“smog”—a chemical reaction of sunlight and the chemical products of the internal combustion engine and industrial production was blamed increasingly for respiratory problems, eye irritation, and other health issues. Although air pollution has a number...

  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-32)
    Rebecca L. Henn and Andrew J. Hoffman

    In 1941, German bombs completely destroyed the British House of Commons. In 1943, Prime Minister Winston Churchill implored the members of Parliament to rebuild the House of Commons Chamber, quite specifically to the same shape and dimensions of the original because the “survival of Parliamentary democracy” relied on the room’s historic and intimate configuration. Churchill’s petition exposes the deep connection between society and its material objects. Though research in technology studies and sociotechnical systems acknowledges this direct relationship (Bourdieu 1990; Molotch 2003; Rip and Kemp 1998), studies of our built environment rarely do. And yet, buildings are critically important cultural...

  5. I Emerging Professions and Expertise

    • 2 Building Expertise: Renovation as Professional Innovation
      (pp. 35-56)
      Kathryn B. Janda and Gavin Killip

      The built environment must undergo dramatic changes to meet climate change targets. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD 2009) calls for a worldwide building sector energy reduction of 77 percent below projected 2050 levels. In Britain, the residential sector is the largest consumer of energy and the main emitter of CO2. Although energy policy in the UK has emphasized energy efficiency in housing (e.g., DTI 2003; DEFRA 2007), the country now recognizes that more radical and transformative changes are needed, particularly for existing homes (DECC 2009). Killip (2008) estimates that transforming the entire UK housing stock by 2050...

    • 3 LEED, Collaborative Rationality, and Green Building Public Policy
      (pp. 57-76)
      Nicholas B. Rajkovich, Alison G. Kwok and Larissa Larsen

      While collaborative practices predate green building and the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, contractual relationships have traditionally established a hierarchical and adversarial process among the architect, owner, and contractor. More recently, the introduction of new standard contracts by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the emergence of new technologies such as Building Information Modeling¹ have helped to create a shift in practice. Most designers now recognize that they cannot produce a high-performance green building if they do not collaborate with other stakeholders. Collaboration is central to the design of green buildings.

      This chapter discusses how...

    • 4 Beyond Platinum: Making the Case for Titanium Buildings
      (pp. 77-100)
      Jock Herron, Amy C. Edmondson and Robert G. Eccles

      In the first half of the twenty-first century, smarter, more sustainable buildings and cities have the potential to play a key role in shaping the global environment. In the years since the first Earth Day in 1970, the world’s attentiveness to and technical grasp of environmental dynamics have both expanded considerably. Environmental progress in industrial countries has been made on a number of important fronts: rivers are cleaner; air quality is better; and cars, furnaces, and appliances are more energy efficient. Yet, critical gaps remain. In particular, progress is slow in the realm of buildings and construction, where there are...

  6. II Market Structures and Strategies

    • 5 Why Multinational Corporations Still Need to Keep It Local: Environment, Operations, and Ownership in the Hospitality Industry
      (pp. 103-126)
      Jie J. Zhang, Nitin R. Joglekar and Rohit Verma

      While the goal of environmental sustainability offers positive global impact, its implementation must consider the inherent variations in the local environmental, social, and economic contexts. For instance, EnerNOC, a U.S. firm engaged in demand-side management of energy consumption, employs a business model that reduces aggregate energy demand during peak loads, and passes the savings to clients who respond to its conservation calls by reducing their energy demand (Healy 2007). EnerNOC has been successful in signing up key accounts including large corporations, governmental agencies, hotels, hospitals, and universities, yet its growth is limited by the ability of its sales force to...

    • 6 The Evolution of the Green Building Supply Industry: Entrepreneurial Entrants and Diversifying Incumbents
      (pp. 127-144)
      Michael Conger and Jeffrey G. York

      The pursuit of ecological sustainability by entrepreneurs, existing corporations, and nonprofit organizations has triggered the emergence of diverse new industries (Sine and Lee 2009; Weber, Heinze, and DeSoucey 2008); green building, renewable energy, biofuel, and organic foods are a few well-known examples. These emerging, ecologically relevant industries are important drivers of the replacement of environmentally damaging practices, and raise questions for traditional theories of economics. Better understanding of these new sectors may help us build on theories of industry emergence, see how the social and economic focus of firms affects the evolution and legitimacy of the industrial field, and, specifically,...

    • 7 Individual Projects as Portals for Mainstreaming Niche Innovations
      (pp. 145-168)
      Ellen van Bueren and Bertien Broekhans

      In the first decade of the twenty-first century, many innovative projects demonstrated that green construction can equal conventional ways of construction in terms of costs and quality (DBR 2010). Nevertheless, there are several organizational, institutional, and psychological barriers to sustainable construction that slow down and obstruct the mainstreaming of sustainable, construction (van Bueren and de Jong 2007; Hoffman and Henn 2008; Williams and Dair 2007, van Bueren 2009). The terms “sustainable construction” and “green construction” are used interchangeably in this chapter. Also, “building” and “construction” are used as synonyms, unless stated otherwise. Theories on strategic niche management help in understanding...

  7. III Operational, Organizational, and Cultural Change

    • 8 Empowering the Inhabitant: Communications Technologies, Responsive Interfaces, and Living in Sustainable Buildings
      (pp. 171-196)
      Kathy Velikov, Lyn Bartram, Geoffrey Thün, Lauren Barhydt, Johnny Rodgers and Robert Woodbury

      The deeply resonant statement of Winston Churchill, “We shape our buildings and thereafter they shape us,” foregrounds the significance of the feedback loops that individuals have with their built environment and the active coevolution that they necessarily share, creating a context for considering the agency of both inhabitants and buildings as complex hybrids (McMaster and Wastell 2005). In the design of environmentally sustainable buildings, the concept of building/inhabitant/environment as a coevolving system can be mobilized by designers to promote social change, not only to increase the “intelligence” of building systems, but also to increase the intelligence of their inhabitants as...

    • 9 Building Up to Organizational Sustainability: How the Greening of Places Transforms Organizations
      (pp. 197-218)
      Christine Mondor, David Deal and Stephen Hockley

      The rapid market uptake of green building has transformed the design and construction industries, yet little attention has been given to how a green building project transforms the organizations for which the project was built. As architects and green building consultants, we began with a simple observation that seemed widespread throughout our many projects—organizations that begin sustainability efforts with tactical green building goals, such as saving energy or achieving a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, frequently widen their scope to include broader sustainability goals within the organization. We questioned whether place-based sustainability initiatives are cause or...

    • 10 Green School Building Success: Innovation through a Flat Team Approach
      (pp. 219-238)
      Michelle A. Meyer, Jennifer E. Cross, Zinta S. Byrne, Bill Franzen and Stuart Reeve

      Green schools cost less to operate, freeing up resources to truly improve students’ education. Their carefully planned acoustics and abundant daylight make it easier and more comfortable for students to learn. Their clean indoor air cuts down sick days and gives our children a head start for a healthy, prosperous future. And their innovative design provides a wealth of hands-on learning opportunities.

      —U.S. Green Building Council 2010

      With over 130,000 schools nationwide and 20 percent of the population of school age, green schools have large-scale environmental consequences and also provide numerous benefits supporting the educational mission of school districts. Political...

    • 11 Generativity: Reconceptualizing the Benefits of Green Buildings
      (pp. 239-260)
      Ronald Fry and Garima Sharma

      What are the benefits of green buildings? How are these benefits generated? Who receives these benefits? Despite the interest of practitioners and scholars in the advantages of green buildings, most work to date describes these in operational and tactical terms such as energy efficiency or productivity gains. There is growing interest in moving to strategic or value-added measures for a “far reaching relationship between the buildings and strategic performance” (Heerwagen 2002, 35). But this shift does little to explain the path from green buildings to value addition. Moreover, this view maintains the narrow focus that the benefits accrue for the...

  8. IV Perceptions, Frames, and Narratives

    • 12 Conveying Greenness: Sustainable Ideals and Organizational Narratives about LEED-Certified Buildings
      (pp. 263-284)
      Beth M. Duckles

      Toward the end of a tour of a LEED- (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified corporate office building, my guide ran through a list of the building’s sustainable features. He had already discussed the environmentally friendly carpeting, low VOC paints and adhesives, LED lighting, and furniture made from reused materials. When we passed a men’s bathroom, he cracked a joke about waterless urinals. But as we finished, the guide kept saying his organization needed to “tell the building’s story” better. While there was a plaque from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) proclaiming the building’s LEED status in the...

    • 13 Challenging the Imperative to Build: The Case of a Controversial Bridge at a World Heritage Site
      (pp. 285-306)
      Olivier Berthod

      Certification schemes—most notably the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification—dominate the debate on environmental sustainability in construction projects. This debate, however, concerns itself with construction projects whose necessity has already been demonstrated. In other words, LEED asks the question “How do we build green?” and ignores the question “Do wereallyhave to build in the first place?” Donovan Rypkema, a dedicated advocate of heritage preservation and sustainable restoration, goes so far as to translate LEED into “Lunatic Environmentalists Enthusiastically Demolishing.” Joking aside, this provocative statement alludes to a crucial issue in the nascent debate on...

    • 14 Incorporating Biophilic Design through Living Walls: The Decision-Making Process
      (pp. 307-330)
      Clayton Bartczak, Brian Dunbar and Lenora Bohren

      Over the past several thousand years people have constructed increasingly complex structures to shield themselves from the outside world. However, in recent times this shielding seems to have come at a price to their physical and psychological well-being. In many instances, buildings trap high concentrations of contaminants, imprisoning occupants in an atmosphere of toxins that often make them sick (Hansen and Burroughs 1999; Hines et al. 1993; Wolverton 1996). Some indoor environments also detach occupants from the world’s natural elements by confining them to uninspiring indoor spaces, proven detrimental to psychological health (Heerwagen and Hase 2001; Joye 2007; Lohr, Pearson-Mims,...

  9. V Perspectives on the Future

    • 15 Constructing Green: Challenging Conventional Building Practices
      (pp. 333-340)
      Monica Ponce de Leon

      From the onset of industrialization, material production in the various design fields—from industrial design to the design of environments and buildings—has had and continues to have a devastating effect on the planet. Given the magnitude and complexity of the problem, how can designers participate in the solution? The answer to this question is complex. Building is at the center of many disciplines, and therefore no one field can provide effective alternatives. Addressing the environmental impact of buildings will demand that educators and practitioners in many fields think differently about their missions, their histories, and their purposes. Voluntary programs...

    • 16 Constructing the Biophilic Community
      (pp. 341-350)
      William Browning

      Although the effects of our communities on ecosystems cannot be understated, we must recognize that the design of human communities also affects human health and productivity. An increasing body of research onbiophilia, the concept first framed by biologist E. O. Wilson (1984) to describe humanity’s innate need for and connection to nature and natural systems, has shown that the current design of many of our buildings and communities negatively affects human health. By separating humanity from natural systems, we have harmed both. In the continuing evolution of the sustainable design movement, we need to expand our scope beyond how...

  10. About the Contributors
    (pp. 351-360)
  11. Index
    (pp. 361-400)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 401-404)