Mitigating climate change in the building sector: Integrating the unique characteristics of built facilities with emissions trading schemes

Tsun Ip Lam, Hon Wan Edwin Chan, Tit Wan Yu, Wynn C.N. Cam, Jack S. Yu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to investigate how unique features of built facilities would affect the application of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions trading, and to explore what adaptive measures may be taken for emissions trading to be applied to the built environment. Emissions trading is a financial tool to encourage GHG emissions reduction in various industries. As the building sector is responsible for a large amount of GHG emissions, it is valuable to explore the application of emissions trading in built facilities. Design/methodology/approach: The analysis is based on a comparative study reviewing the current emissions trading schemes (ETSs) in Australia, Japan and the UK covering the building industry, and to evaluate the approaches adopted by the schemes to tackle the problems related to buildings and facilities management. Findings: The research findings reveal that the small energy savings of individual building units, the large variety of energy-saving technologies and the split incentives and diverse interests of building owners and tenants would be the barriers hindering the development of emissions trading. To overcome these barriers, an ETS should allow its participants to group individual energy savings, lower the complexity of monitoring and reporting approaches and allow owners and tenants to benefit from emissions trading. Originality/value: This article provides a comprehensive overview of the current emissions trading practices in the built environment. Besides, it raises the attention and consciousness of policymakers to the need that building characteristics and facilities management should be taken into consideration when designing an ETS for the building sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-364
Number of pages23
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Building energy saving
  • Emissions trading
  • Facilities
  • Sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction

Cite this