Drivers and barriers of sustainable design and construction: The perception of green building experience

Yong Han Ahn, Annie R. Pearce, Yuhong Wang, George Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


Sustainability in the built environment is becoming a strong force in the construction industry to achieve social and environmental benefits and to lower negative environment impacts. The research objectives of this study were to identify the main drivers and barriers of sustainable design and construction in the US construction industry and to prioritise the identified drivers and barriers with respect to implementation of sustainability in the construction industry. To achieve the research objectives, this study identified the main drivers and barriers of sustainable design and construction factors with a two-step process, including an in-depth literature review and an experts' review. The identified drivers and barriers were then prioritised using a survey research method using a survey instrument developed by the authors. The sample used in the survey was comprised of members in the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) North Carolina (NC) Triangle Chapter. USGBC NC Triangle Chapter members were selected for the survey because of their interest in sustainable design and construction practices in North Carolina. After collecting data from the survey participants, the authors developed descriptive statistics to rank the main drivers and barriers of sustainable design and construction. The result indicated that the most important driving factors of sustainable design and construction were energy conservation, improving indoor environmental quality, environmental/resource conservation, and waste reduction. In addition, the most significant barriers to sustainable design and construction were first cost premium of the project, long pay back periods from sustainable practices, tendency to maintain current practices, and limited knowledge and skills of subcontractors. Based on these findings, the study suggests the direction of sustainability policies and programmes as well as the direction of future research and development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Building Technology and Urban Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Construction industry
  • Green building
  • Sustainable design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction

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