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Barriers to “green operation” of commercial office buildings: perspectives of Australian facilities managers
journal contributionposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by S Rock, M. Reza HosseiniM. Reza Hosseini, B Nikmehr, Igor MartekIgor Martek, S Abrishami, S Durdyev
Purpose: The built environment is a major source of carbon emissions. However, 80 per cent of the damage arises through the operational phase of a building’s life. Office buildings are the most significant building type in terms of emission-reduction potential. Yet, little research has been undertaken to examine the barriers faced by building operators in transitioning to a green operation of the office buildings in their care. This study aims to identify those barriers. Design/methodology/approach: Building facilities managers with between 7 and 25 years’ experience in operating primarily Melbourne high-rise office buildings were interviewed. The sample was taken from LinkedIn connections, with ten agreeing to participate in semi-structured interviews – out of the 17 invitations sent out. Interview comments were recorded, coded and categorised to identify the barriers sought by this study. Findings: Seven categories of barriers to effecting green operation of office buildings were extracted. These were financial, owner-related, tenant-related, technological, regulatory, architectural and stakeholder interest conflicts. Difficulties identifying green operation strategies that improved cost performance or return on investment of buildings was the major barrier. Practical implications: Government, policymakers and facilities managers themselves have been struggling with how to catalyse a green transition in the operation of office buildings. By identifying the barriers standing in the way, this study provides a concrete point of departure from which remedial strategies and policies may be formulated and put into effect. Originality/value: The uptake of green operation of office buildings has been extremely slow. Though barriers have been hypothesised in earlier works, this is the first study, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, that categorically identifies and tabulates the barriers that stand in the way of improving the green operational performance of office buildings, drawing on the direct knowledge of facilities experts.