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Perceptions of Sustainable Construction in Large U.S. Construction Companies

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Title:
Perceptions of Sustainable Construction in Large U.S. Construction Companies
Creator:
BARNES, JAIME L. ( Author, Primary )
Copyright Date:
2008

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Construction industries ( jstor )
Employment statistics ( jstor )
Job titles ( jstor )
Professional certification ( jstor )
Project management ( jstor )
Ratings ( jstor )
Recycling ( jstor )
Subcontractors ( jstor )
Sustainable development ( jstor )
Waste management ( jstor )

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University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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Copyright Jaime L. Barnes. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Embargo Date:
8/31/2006
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495636471 ( OCLC )

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PERCEPTIONS OF SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION IN LARGE U.S. CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES By JAIME L. BARNES A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

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Copyright 2005 by Jaime L. Barnes

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my parents (all four of you!) for your support throughout my entire college career. I could not have come this far without your loveor your money! I truly appreciate all of the sacrifices you have made on my behalf, and I will make you all proud. I would also like to thank Dr. R. Raymond Issa for his guidance and advice, as well as Dr. Robert F. Cox and Dr. Charles J. Kibert for their assistance and valuable input throughout the entire process of writing this thesis. iii

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................vii LIST OF FIGURES .........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT ......................................................................................................................xii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.............................................................................................3 2.1 Background.............................................................................................................3 2.2 Sustainability and the Construction Industry..........................................................8 3 METHODOLOGY.....................................................................................................13 4 RESULTS...................................................................................................................16 4.1 Overview...............................................................................................................17 4.1.1 Background Information............................................................................17 4.1.1.1 Annual volume.................................................................................17 4.1.1.2 Percentage of annual volume attributed to sustainable construction...............................................................................................17 4.1.1.3 Type of construction.........................................................................17 4.1.1.4 Number of LEED certified employees.............................................19 4.1.1.5 Highest LEED certification achieved...............................................19 4.1.1.6 Job title.............................................................................................20 4.1.1.7 Hobbies.............................................................................................21 4.1.2 Knowledge..................................................................................................21 4.1.2.1 Question 1........................................................................................22 4.1.2.2 Question 2........................................................................................24 4.1.3 Perceptions.................................................................................................27 4.1.3.1 Question 3........................................................................................27 4.1.3.2 Question 4........................................................................................28 4.1.3.3 Question 5........................................................................................28 iv

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4.1.3.4 Question 6........................................................................................29 4.1.4 Attitudes.....................................................................................................30 4.1.4.1 Question 7........................................................................................30 4.1.4.2 Question 8........................................................................................31 4.1.4.3 Question 9........................................................................................31 4.1.4.4 Question 10......................................................................................32 4.1.5 Interest........................................................................................................33 4.1.5.1 Question 11......................................................................................33 4.1.5.2 Question 12......................................................................................34 4.1.5.3 Question 13......................................................................................34 4.1.5.4 Question 14......................................................................................35 4.1.5.5 Question 15......................................................................................38 4.2 Analysis................................................................................................................40 4.2.1 Background.................................................................................................40 4.2.1.1 Annual volume.................................................................................40 4.2.1.2 Percentage of annual volume attributed to sustainable construction...............................................................................................41 4.2.1.3 Number of LEED accredited professionals......................................42 4.2.1.4 Highest level of LEED certification achieved..................................43 4.2.1.5 Job titles............................................................................................45 4.2.2 Knowledge..................................................................................................46 4.2.2.1 Question 1........................................................................................46 4.2.2.2 Question 2........................................................................................50 4.2.3 Perceptions.................................................................................................54 4.2.3.1 Question 3........................................................................................54 4.2.3.2 Question 4........................................................................................56 4.2.3.3 Question 5........................................................................................57 4.2.3.4 Question 6........................................................................................58 4.2.4 Attitudes.....................................................................................................60 4.2.4.1 Question 7........................................................................................60 4.2.4.2 Question 8........................................................................................61 4.2.4.3 Question 9........................................................................................62 4.2.4.4 Question 10......................................................................................64 4.2.5 Interest........................................................................................................65 4.2.5.1 Question 11......................................................................................65 4.2.5.2 Question 12......................................................................................66 4.2.5.3 Question 13......................................................................................68 4.2.5.4 Question 14......................................................................................69 4.3 Relationship between Perceptions and Attitudes..................................................75 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.....................................................77 5.1 Conclusions...........................................................................................................77 5.2 Recommendations.................................................................................................80 v

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APPENDIX A LETTER OF CONSENT............................................................................................82 B SURVEY....................................................................................................................83 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................85 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................87 vi

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 5-1: Comparison of groups...............................................................................................78 5-2: Comparison of job titles............................................................................................78 vii

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1 Distribution of annual volume (N=26).....................................................................17 4-2 Distribution of annual sustainable construction volume (N=20).............................18 4-3 Distribution of types of construction (N=25)...........................................................18 4-4 Distribution of the number of LEED Accredited Professionals (N=27)..................19 4-5 Distribution of certification (N= 15)........................................................................20 4-6 Distribution of job titles (N=28)...............................................................................21 4-7 Distribution of hobbies (N=22)................................................................................22 4-8 Familiarity with LEED (N=28)................................................................................23 4-9 Familiarity with USGBC (N=28).............................................................................23 4-10 Familiarity with ISO 14001 (N=28).........................................................................24 4-11 Familiarity with green building (N=28)...................................................................25 4-12 Familiarity with sustainable development (N=28)...................................................25 4-13 Familiarity with smart growth (N=28).....................................................................26 4-14 Familiarity with waste management (N=28)............................................................26 4-15 Correlation between average rate and meaning.......................................................27 4-16 Question 3 (N=27)....................................................................................................28 4-17 Question 4 (N=28)....................................................................................................29 4-18 Question 5 (N=28)....................................................................................................29 4-19 Question 6 (N=28)....................................................................................................30 4-20 Question 7 (N=28)....................................................................................................31 viii

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4-21 Question 8 (N=26)....................................................................................................32 4-22 Question 9 (N=28)....................................................................................................32 4-23 Question 10 (N=27)..................................................................................................33 4-24 Question 11 (N=26)..................................................................................................34 4-25 Question 12 (N=28)..................................................................................................35 4-26 Question 13 (N=26)..................................................................................................35 4-27 Question 14A (N=28)...............................................................................................36 4-28 Question 14B (N=28)...............................................................................................37 4-29 Question 14C (N=28)...............................................................................................37 4-30 Question 14D (N=28)...............................................................................................38 4-31 Question 15 (N=53)..................................................................................................39 4-32 Annual volume.........................................................................................................40 4-33 Annual sustainable volume based on annual volume...............................................41 4-34 Number of LEED accredited professionals based on annual volume......................42 4-35 Annual sustainable volume based on number of LEED AP’s.................................43 4-36 Highest LEED certification based on annual volume..............................................44 4-37 Highest LEED Certification based on number of LEED AP’s................................44 4-38 Job titles of participants based on annual volume....................................................45 4-39 Question 1A based on annual volume......................................................................46 4-40 Question 1A based on job title.................................................................................47 4-41 Question 1B based on annual volume......................................................................48 4-42 Question 1B based on job title.................................................................................48 4-43 Question 1C based on annual volume......................................................................49 4-44 Question 1C based on annual sustainable volume...................................................50 4-45 Question 2A based on annual volume......................................................................51 ix

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4-46 Question 2B based on annual volume......................................................................51 4-47 Question 2B based on number of LEED AP’s.........................................................52 4-48 Question 2C based on annual volume......................................................................53 4-49 Question 2C based on annual sustainable volume...................................................53 4-50 Question 2D based on annual volume......................................................................54 4-51 Question 3 based on annual volume.........................................................................55 4-52 Question 3 based on highest achieved LEED certification......................................56 4-53 Question 4 based on annual volume.........................................................................57 4-54 Question 5 based on annual volume.........................................................................58 4-55 Question 6 based on annual volume.........................................................................59 4-56 Question 6 based on highest achieved LEED certification......................................60 4-57 Question 7 based on annual volume.........................................................................61 4-58 Question 8 based on annual volume.........................................................................62 4-59 Question 9 based on annual volume.........................................................................63 4-60 Question 9 based on number of LEED AP’s............................................................63 4-61 Question 9 based on highest achieved LEED certification......................................64 4-62 Question 10 based on annual volume.......................................................................65 4-63 Question 11 based on annual volume.......................................................................66 4-64 Question 12 based on annual volume.......................................................................67 4-65 Question 12 based on number of LEED AP’s..........................................................68 4-66 Question 13 based on annual volume.......................................................................69 4-67 Question 14A based on annual volume....................................................................70 4-68 Question 14A based on number of LEED AP’s.......................................................70 4-69 Question 14A based on annual sustainable volume.................................................71 4-70 Question 14B based on annual volume....................................................................72 x

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4-71 Question 14B based on annual sustainable volume.................................................72 4-72 Question 14C based on annual volume....................................................................73 4-73 Question 14C based on annual sustainable volume.................................................73 4-74 Question 14D based on annual volume....................................................................74 4-75 Student’s two-tailed t-test results.............................................................................75 4-76 Significantly different data sets................................................................................76 xi

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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Building Construction PERCEPTIONS OF SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION IN LARGE U.S. CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES By Jaime L. Barnes August 2005 Chair: R. Raymond Issa Cochair: Robert F. Cox Major Department: Building Construction Construction activities can have a devastating effect on the health of the environment. Construction processes damage the actual job site by altering floodplains, compacting surface soil and reducing the ability of the ground to absorb rainwater, clearing wildlife habitats, and polluting nearby receiving waters. Yet this is not the only impact. In order to build structures, energy and materials are needed, the extraction of which is also a major contributor to the destruction of the environment. It is important for these reasons to try to mitigate the negative impact of construction processes, through the implementation of sustainable construction measures. This paper presents the level of awareness of construction industry professionals with regard to sustainable construction. A survey of members of Engineering News Record’s top 400 construction firms was xii

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conducted, resulting in an analysis of 28 completed surveys. The results of this survey indicate a predominantly positive outlook for the future of sustainable construction, showing that the majority of respondents have taken steps to incorporate sustainable construction measures and are learning more about the subject. Data indicate that the construction firms with the highest level of awareness were those with the most LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professionals. In addition, the companies who had achieved higher levels of LEED certification on projects were also those with the most LEED Accredited Professionals (APs) and they too maintained a higher level of awareness with regard to sustainable construction issues. xiii

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The construction industry is responsible for a substantial portion of the energy and materials consumed in the United States, and its processes can have a considerable negative impact on the health of the environment. A study by Gutowski et al. (2005) showed that the United States is lagging globally in its efforts to contribute to the sustainable development movement. Is this because people are unaware of sustainable development issues? Do they disagree with the need for sustainable development? Do they harbor misconceptions that are harmful to the implementation of sustainable development practices, or are they just uninterested in sustainability? According to Rohracher (2001), “sustainable development as an effort to integrate ecological, economic and social dimensions of our future activities has one of its touchstones in the issue of sustainable buildings.” He also says that in order to develop successful policies aimed at making the construction sector more sustainable, it is important to involve the “perspectives, strategies and rhetoric of actors involved,” (Rohracher 2001). The purpose of this study to establish the level of knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, and interest of construction professionals regarding sustainable construction by distributing a survey to a random sample of 200 of Engineering News Record’s top 400 contractors. The findings of this investigation are meant to add to the body of knowledge by determining how aware individuals in U.S. companies are of sustainable development and more specifically sustainable construction. 1

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2 Chapter 2 will present a literature review of sustainable development and sustainable construction. Chapter 3 describes the methodology used in the study. Chapter 4 presents an analysis of the results of the survey, and Chapter 5 contains the conclusions of the study and recommendations for future research. Next the literature review will be discussed in Chapter 2.

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Chapter 2 is divided into two sections. The first section gives an overview of sustainable development—how it began, why it is necessary, and the United States’ participation in the movement. The second section discusses the construction industry with regard to sustainability. The environmental impact of construction, an approach to achieving sustainable construction, and the barriers to sustainable construction are topics covered. 2.1 Background By now almost everyone has heard about the grim future of the planet, predicted by scientists, due to current industrial activities and population growth. The United Nations has made reducing our negative impact upon the earth an issue of global concern. In 1987, Gro Harlem Brundtland, then Prime Minister of Norway, chaired the World Commission on Environment and Development (Spangenberg et al. 2002). The outcome of this commission was a report, “Our Common Future,” in which the concept of sustainable development was first introduced. Lester Brown defined sustainable development as “leaving sufficient resources for future generations to have a quality of life similar to ours” (Miyatake 1996). McMichael et al. (2003) in the article “New Visions for Addressing Sustainability” claim that the impetus for sustainability lies in the fact that we are “living beyond Earth’s means” resulting in such negative impacts as “changing atmospheric composition and depleting biodiversity, soil fertility, ocean fisheries, and freshwater supplies.” A major 3

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4 reason for human kind living beyond Earth’s means is the quadrupling of the population experienced in the twentieth century. In developed nations, people are living longer and consuming more resources. Even if we can come up with technological solutions to mitigate the negative effects of modern society, according to Seiffert and Loch (2005), it is still a problem of “numeric pressure on a fixed base of natural resources.” In addition to the problem of population, there is the issue of global warming. It is no longer a prediction, but a reality. Attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions world-wide, such as the Kyoto Protocol are a step in the right direction. There is a call for more action, innovation, lifestyle change, and regulation in order to avoid serious consequences, (“Take Out the Garbage” 2005). Energy supplies are another area of concern. Prices are rising as drills dig deeper to meet global demand for oil. Finding alternative energy sources is an idea we now have to consider seriously. Yet even alternative energy consumption at the current North American rate will still “pose conservation and ecological challenges” (Paehlke 2005). Finally, there is the issue of waste. According to Cohen-Rosenthal (2004) “the major product of most human activity is prodigious amounts of ‘waste.’” In the United States, for example, every 100 pounds of product manufactured results in 3200 pounds of waste. A large contributor to the waste stream is the construction industry. The construction of buildings consumes resources which are then converted into vast quantities of debris when the building reaches the end of its useful life (Miyatake 1996). As many of the problems facing the world today are a consequence of economic development, some see sustainable development as an economic threat. Paehlke (2005) refers to Newton and Freyfogle who speculate that sustainability “suggests a life that is

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5 stagnant or repetitive.” Yet Paehlke points out that repetition is not always a bad thing. Maintaining current standards of health and economic wellbeing are good examples of when stagnation and repetition are beneficial. Even though sustainability has been a difficult concept for some to accept, the time has come for “recognition that the current growth of human activity cannot continue without significantly overwhelming critical ecosystems” (Cabezas et al. 2005). The United States has embraced the sustainable development concept, though not to the degree that some would like to see. Being a global leader as well as a leader of pollution, green house gas emissions and energy consumption, the United States is in a position to do considerable good through leading by example, but it is the examples set by Northern Europe and Japan that are outshining American efforts. The 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index ranked 146 nations based on indicators such as “available natural resources, pollution levels, environmental management efforts, contributions to protecting the global commons, and the capacity to improve environmental performance.” The United States ranked 45 th , with Finland and Norway taking the top two positions (“Ranking Sustainability” 2005). The authors of the report admit that the evaluation is not without its flaws, accounting for the fact that Russia ranked higher than the United States. Because of its size, Russia, which has a remarkable level of pollution in the Western region, also has large regions that remain pristine, thus boosting its score. Because of comparison difficulties such as this, the panel performed a second analysis, which grouped similar countries, making the collections more comparable. Even in this fairer evaluation, the Organization of American States (OAS) still ranked below the halfway mark (Barringer 2005). In “Environmentally Benign

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6 Manufacturing: Observations from Japan, Europe and the United States” Gutowski et al. (2005) gave some insight as to why the United States ranks so poorly. The research project was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. The goal was to “understand the competitiveness of the U.S. with respect to environmental issues.” Although this paper focused on the efforts of the automotive and electronics industries, it is reasonable to expect that these industries are good representations of national efforts as a whole across industries. The goal was to identify the most advanced examples of sustainability in the leading firms of three targeted regions: Northern Europe, Japan, and the United States. Their competitiveness was rated based on “the intensity and leadership shown by the region,” for particular issues. Overall, the United States performed poorly when compared to Northern Europe and Japan, and “the panel felt that there is a strong need for environmental leadership in the United States” (Gutowski et al. 2005). The “high level of public awareness of environmental issues” is one attribute that contributes to the success of Northern Europe in this evaluation. They have made considerable strides in the area of take-back infrastructure, and according to Gutowski et al., they are responsible for the development of design for environment and lifecycle assessment software. Neither Japan, nor the United States exhibited the level of collaboration found to exist between the government, industry, and universities in Northern Europe when developing and carrying out sustainability objectives (Gutowski et al. 2005). Japan’s sustainability focus is on industrial activity. This concentration is understandable since Japan’s economic success is built on manufacturing. Since Japan

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7 has few natural resources they are acutely aware of the need for conservation in their manufacturing processes (Gutowski et al. 2005). They are also adept at dramatically reducing waste and instituting aggressive recycling programs in their plants, as Japan is a nation with precious little land area to devote to landfills (Gutowski et al. 2005) and (Miyatake 1996). The United States excels at protecting media such as water and air, but that is about the only area in which the United States stands out. It was noted that the U.S. meets environmental directives with a degree of skepticism that is absent in Northern Europe and Japan. The report also revealed that, “the U.S.’s response to environmental issues is often fragmented and contentious” also noting that, “the almost exclusive U.S. reliance on free market drivers can put the recycling system at risk compared to the other regions visited” (Gutowski et al. 2005). The report by Gutowski et al. (2005) is not the only one to suggest that the United States’ free market approach is detrimental not only to the environment, but to its own economic interests as well. One of the main reasons President Bush declined to join the Kyoto Protocol was because of worries that its limitations would harm the American economy. Instead of reducing American emissions, the government has proposed trading emissions. Yet, there are also problems with this market approach. According to the article, “Take Out the Garbage:” Trading works around the problem rather than correcting its basic causes. Second, delay makes any future adjustment all the more difficult to attain, both economically and politically. Third, it prevents speeding up the pace of reduction required to make a real difference in halting climate change. (“Take Out the Garbage” 2005)

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8 In his article, “They Paved Paradise,” Pearce (2002) refers to a United Nations report which denounces the position taken by the United States and the World Trade Organization who “claim markets will generate the wealth to solve environmental ills,” and feel that “a bad environment is an economic millstone.” Pearce maintains that a “markets first” attitude will lead to an increase in oil and coal consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. By his estimate, it would also increase urban sprawl to a point where “almost 3 percent of the land would be covered in concrete.” This means more habitat loss and natural disasters (Pearce 2002). In addition to these environmental consequences of the free market approach is the economic threat that other nations could impose upon the United States. The New Economics Foundation feels that by not participating in the Kyoto Protocol, the United States is enjoying a “free ride.” The organization is pushing the European Union to levy a tariff on imports from the United States in order to keep prices competitive (“Europe” 2004). “The capacity of humans to negatively affect nature, including those parts essential to our own prosperity and health, is constantly growing as human numbers expand and human technologies evolve.” The need for implementation of sustainable development principles is clear, and it is also clear that there is still a need to reconcile environmental goals with economic goals (Paehlke 2005). Human society, the economy, and government should “promote the persistence of the structures and operation of the [natural environment] and vice versa” (Cabezas et al. 2005). 2.2 Sustainability and the Construction Industry In the past, the construction process has mostly been a linear one. It consisted of taking the earth’s resources and using them to produce buildings and large quantities of

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9 waste (Miyatake 1996). The individual processes used to construct buildings, and the wastes that they create are proven to cause environmental degradation (“Environmental Assessment” 2002). “All industries, including construction, now face an inescapable challenge posed by the term ‘sustainability’. . .until only recently the world’s businesses have given too little thought to the environmental aspects of their activities, and their own sustainability” (Miyatake 1996). This section of the paper will explore the adverse impacts of construction on the natural environment, discuss principles of sustainable construction, and discuss some of the barriers limiting implementation of sustainability measures in the construction industry. Two of the ways in which construction impacts the natural environment is through the introduction of contaminants and alteration of the physical characteristics of the land. The consequences of these actions are diminished water quality in nearby water bodies due to runoff, which decreases the ability of underground aquifers to recharge their water supply, destruction of aquatic life habitats, and enlargement of flood plains (“Environmental Assessment” 2002). The first phase of construction involves clearing the land and grading and compacting the ground’s surface to prepare for the structure. With no tree, shrub, or grass roots to keep the soil in place, sediment is transported to streams by surface runoff when it rains. Once sediment arrives in streams it is considered a pollutant. There are three categories of sediment pollution: suspended solids, turbidity (refers to “the ability of light to penetrate the water”) and dissolved solids. Together they are referred to as total suspended solids. The presence of dissolved solids in the water degrades the quality of drinking water. Turbidity can suppress the growth of submerged aquatic vegetation

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10 and impair the ability of fish to breathe. A study calculated that 80 million tons of sediment is transported each year into receiving waters from construction sites (“Environmental Assessment” 2002). Habitat degradation and pollution are not the only unfavorable effects of the construction process. Buildings require copious amounts of energy to build, roughly 40% of the nation’s total energy consumption. Building construction is also responsible for approximately 25% of material moved through the economy. The extraction of the resources and materials is also harmful to the environment (Rohracher 2001). It is of paramount importance to reform construction practices and mitigate harmful effects attributed to the industry. Yasuyoshi Miyatake asserts that “conventional linear industrial processes have been using or consuming . . . resources without considering nature’s capability of replenishment.” In his view, the realization of sustainable construction is contingent upon the implementation of a cyclical construction process in which the use of recycled, renewed, and reused resources is essential. Miyatake refers to the seven principles of sustainable construction, put forth by Dr. Charles Kibert of the University of Florida, as “practical indications of what we should actually do when implementing cyclical construction processes” (Miyatake 1996). Those principles are: 1. Minimize resource consumption (Conserve) 2. Maximize resource reuse (Reuse) 3. Use renewable or recyclable resources (Renew/Recycle) 4. Protect the natural environment (Protect Nature) 5. Create a healthy, non-toxic environment (Non-Toxics) 6. Apply Life Cycle Cost Analysis and True Costs (Economics) 7. Pursue quality in creating the built environment (Quality) (Kibert 1994)

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11 Even though the construction industry has a large role to play in sustainable development, greening construction processes is not something they can do alone. According to Miyatake: The construction industry does not stand alone in society. No R&D for new materials can be implemented without collaboration with manufacturing industries; no recycling of materials can be achieved without collaborations of industries accepting and reprocessing them; no new structural system can be established without help from high-tech industries. (Miyatake 1996) The transition to sustainable construction will not be easy. Differing perspectives among the various actors involved in the construction of a building will make collaboration difficult (Rohracher 2001). Besides the issue of collaboration, there are obstacles preventing wide-scale implementation of sustainable construction. A study conducted by Van Bueren and Priemus (2002) sought to determine exactly what these barriers are at the institutional level. The study took place in the Netherlands; however, the findings are relevant to the construction industry world-wide. Van Bueren and Priemus (2002) state that sustainable construction in the Netherlands has failed to reach the desired level of application despite the fact that “in the Netherlands, sustainable construction is an established policy issue” with the building sector as the main target group. They decided to investigate what factors influenced the decision of whether or not to implement sustainable construction measures. They found that the fragmented nature of the institutional structure contributed to decentralized decision making. The professional codes, rules, and cost efficiency goals of various phases of the decision making process are linked. All of the participants need to support decisions to include sustainable construction measures for them to be effective. The decisions of the actors from one phase to another are thus linked, and Van Bueren and

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12 Priemus found that the further down an actor was in the chain, the fewer their chances to participate in the decision of whether or not to implement sustainable construction measures. However, there is still an opportunity at this level to hinder the efforts made by others. Overall, it was noted that the main barriers to the application of sustainable construction measures were due to “gaps between interactions and decisions at various points in the process of construction and management. Yet there was another reason mentioned in the report. Sustainable construction efforts are often labor intensive, and labor is taxed at a rate that renders sustainable measures quite expensive. Van Bueren and Priemus (2002) conclude by saying that improving communication between designers, builders, and real estate professionals, improving the structure of these sectors, and “greening” the tax system are the only ways to make sustainable construction worthwhile. They go on to say that by delaying these changes sustainable construction efforts will be thwarted. They conclude by warning of disappointing results and failures, which diminish the enthusiasm of all involved. Next Chapter 3 will discuss the methodology used in conducting this study.

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CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Literature pertaining to sustainability abounds, yet there is little data regarding industry receptivity. This study was conducted in order to determine the level of knowledge and participation, attitudes, and perceptions of construction firms with respect to sustainability. To begin this study, a review of periodicals pertaining to the subject of sustainability was conducted, and internet websites were consulted as well. A survey was developed with questions falling into six categories; company information, personal information, knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, and interest. The questionnaire consisted of three types of questions; those that required written answers, multiple choice questions, which allow the respondent to check all applicable choices, and statements where the respondent is asked to rate his/her level of agreement with the statement on a five-point Likert scale with 1 indicating total disagreement and 5 indicating total agreement. After each question, there was space provided for comment or clarification. In order to produce an effective survey, it was necessary to refine the survey several times. That process produced a two-page survey consisting of 15 questions not including the sections relating to company and personal information. It was essential to include a letter of consent to participate to be sent with the survey detailing the privacy protocol and the intent of the questionnaire. The survey and consent form were then submitted to the Institutional Review Board for approval. After receiving authorization (see Appendix A), the survey and letter of consent were electronically mailed to a 13

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14 random selection of Engineering News-Record magazine’s top 400 construction firms with instructions for their return via facsimile. The type of information gathered in each section of the survey is as follows: 8. Company Information: this section requests data such as annual volume, number of employees, type of construction, and number of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified employees. This section provided basic information helpful to the assessment of the survey. 9. Personal Information: this section consisted mainly of contact information, but the relevant question in this section asked the participant to list his/her hobbies. The reason for this question was to determine the level of involvement and therefore importance of the environment within the participant’s life regardless of his/her attitudes and perceptions toward sustainability. This allowed for the determination of whether there is a possible disconnect between the concepts of enjoying outdoor hobbies and preserving the very setting in which they occur. 10. Knowledge: this section was designed in order to determine the level of familiarity with various terms and organizations related to sustainable construction. 11. Perceptions: this segment aimed to gauge the participant’s assessment regarding implementation of sustainable construction measures. 12. Attitudes: the questions under this category elicited answers from participants that would give insight as to their feelings about how important sustainability was to them and whether or not they felt it was a worthwhile cause. 13. Interest: this section was designed to figure out if participants were more likely to implement sustainable construction if certain actions were to take place making it easier to put into practice, and to find out the level at which they currently implement sustainable construction practices. The final reason for this category was to determine whether or not companies were interested in learning more about sustainable construction. Before sending out the surveys, it was necessary to determine the sample size. The formula used to calculate the sample size is shown below. n= (t*s) 2 /(x avg *CV) 2 t=2.052 (95% confidence level and 27 degrees of freedom) s=1.45 x avg =3.17 CV=.15

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15 The estimated sample size was calculated to be 40. With the assumption that one out every five surveys would be completed and returned, 200 surveys were distributed via electronic mail. Twenty-three of the email addresses were invalid. After the initial survey was sent, a period of 2 weeks went by when the response rate decreased, a second round of surveys was sent out to remind recipients to participate in the study. Another week passed when, yet again, the response rate fell, and it was necessary to terminate the study period and proceed with the analysis even though the sample size was less than expected. A total of 28 surveys were completed and returned by facsimile. The data that the surveys contained were then input into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for analysis. The maximum, minimum, and average responses were calculated. Then the results were stratified, according to similar responses, in order to compare answers among the different categories identified. Again, maximum, minimum, and average responses were calculated for each category and used for comparison. Finally, a two-tailed student’s t-test was performed on the data pertaining to the attitudes and perceptions of respondents to determine if any correlation exists between the two sets of data. Next Chapter 4 will analyze the results of this study.

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CHAPTER 4 RESULTS The results of this study are presented in three sections. Section 4.1 reviews the responses to each survey question; the average, maximum, and minimum responses are also reported. Section 4.2 analyzes the data based on the size of the construction firms (determined from their annual volume), and where relevant compares this set of responses to those based on the volume of sustainable construction, number of LEED accredited professionals, etc. Section 4.3 discusses the statistical analysis of the relationship between respondent’s attitudes and perceptions using a student’s t-test. Two questions from the survey could not be analyzed because the answers were inconsistent. The information supplied regarding the number of employees was given on two different scales. Some respondents provided the total number of employees company-wide, while others gave the total number of employees in their particular office. Because of this inconsistency, the responses were incomparable. The other question that was not analyzed is the one regarding respondent’s hobbies. Twenty-seven of the twenty-eight respondents had hobbies that depended on the health of the environment for their enjoyment; therefore, even if their responses to this question affected the rest of their answers, the effect could not be contrasted with the responses of the group that did not have outdoor hobbies, since there was only one representative of that group. Since there were only 28 respondents instead of the 40 needed to have a 95% confidence level for this study, the confidence level was re-calculated using N=28, the new confidence level is 90%. 16

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17 4.1 Overview 4.1.1 Background Information 4.1.1.1 Annual volume As shown in Figure 4-1, there were 26 responses to this question with $275.5 million as the average. The maximum amount listed was $1 billion, and the minimum amount was $1 million. Figure 4-1: Distribution of annual volume (N=26) 4.1.1.2 Percentage of annual volume attributed to sustainable construction As shown in Figure 4-2, twenty respondents answered this question. Just over 16% was the average answer with a maximum of 90% and a minimum of 0%. 4.1.1.3 Type of construction As shown in Figure 4-3, the vast majority of the twenty-five respondents (64%) were commercial construction firms. Twelve percent described themselves as general contractors, while 8% were industrial construction firms. The remaining 16% consisted of a residential high-rise builder, a design-build firm, a retail construction firm, and an educational facility contractor.

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18 Figure 4-2: Distribution of annual sustainable construction volume (N=20) Figure 4-3: Distribution of types of construction (N=25)

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19 4.1.1.4 Number of LEED certified employees As shown in Figure 4-4, twenty-seven respondents responded to this question. Forty-nine percent reported zero LEED certified employees, 44% of respondents had between one and thirty LEED professionals, and only 7% had thirty or more LEED certified employees. The maximum number reported was 128 employees, and the average number of LEED APs was nine. Figure 4-4: Distribution of the number of LEED Accredited Professionals (N=27) 4.1.1.5 Highest LEED certification achieved As shown in Figure 5-5, only fifteen answers to this question were reported. A silver rating accounted for 39% of the total, while certified and gold accounted for 27% each. A platinum rating accounted for the remaining 7%.

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20 Figure 4-5: Distribution of certification (N= 15) 4.1.1.6 Job title There was a range of job titles reported. As shown in Figure 4-6, they were divided into five categories: (A) President, (B) Vice President, (C) Director, (D) Project Manager, and (E) Other. The Other category was created for positions that were only listed once; otherwise it would be impossible to compare them. This category is comprised of an architect/engineer, a chief estimator, a LEED accredited professional, an office manager, a recruiting coordinator, and a safety coordinator. The chart in Figure 4-6 shows that the majority of respondents were vice presidents, followed by directors and the miscellaneous members in the other category. Project managers and presidents were the least well represented groups.

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21 Figure 4-6: Distribution of job titles (N=28) 4.1.1.7 Hobbies The purpose of this question was to determine if the respondents regularly took part in activities whose enjoyment is dependent upon the health of the environment. The answer to this question could reveal discrepancies between answers or correlations with other answers. As shown in Figure 4-7, all but one respondent’s hobbies were related to the environment. 4.1.2 Knowledge This section of the survey deals with respondent’s familiarity with organizations, standards, and terms related to sustainability. The participant’s level of knowledge regarding sustainable construction is discussed in this section.

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22 Figure 4-7: Distribution of hobbies (N=22) 4.1.2.1 Question 1 Are you familiar with any of the following organizations or standards? Please mark all that apply. (A) Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), (B) U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) (C) ISO 14001 As shown in Figure 4-8, 24 out of the 28 respondents were familiar with LEED, representing 86% of respondents.

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23 Figure 4-8: Familiarity with LEED (N=28) As shown in Figure 4-9, familiarity with the USGBC elicited 25 positive responses, corresponding to 89% of respondents. Figure 4-9: Familiarity with USGBC (N=28)

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24 As shown in Figure 4-10, participants were least familiar with the ISO 14001 standard with only four (14%) reporting that they were familiar with the standard. Figure 4-10: Familiarity with ISO 14001 (N=28) 4.1.2.2 Question 2 Are you familiar with any of the following terms? Please mark all that apply. (A) Green Building (B) Sustainable Development (C) Smart Growth (D) Waste Management As shown in Figure 4-11, this question elicited responses from all 28 respondents, with twenty-seven (96%) indicating that they had heard of green building.

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25 Figure 4-11: Familiarity with green building (N=28) Seventy-nine percent or 22 respondents (see Figure 4-12) indicated familiarity with the term sustainable development. Figure 4-12: Familiarity with sustainable development (N=28)

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26 Overall, respondents were the least familiar with smart growth, but as shown in Figure 4-13, those that knew of it, 16 ( 57%), still represented a majority of respondents. Figure 4-13: Familiarity with smart growth (N=28) Finally, as shown in Figure 4-14, 23 (82%) respondents expressed familiarity with the term waste-management. Figure 4-14: Familiarity with waste management (N=28)

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27 4.1.3 Perceptions This section was developed to ascertain the respondent’s perceptions of sustainable construction. They read statements and were asked to rate the degree to which they agreed with the statement from one to five on a Likert scale. One signifies total disagreement, two implies that a respondent tends to disagree, three connotes that he somewhat agrees, four means that he tends to agree, and five represents total agreement. The averages of the ratings were calculated for ease of comparison, and the methodology shown in Figure 4-15 was developed to determine the meaning of the average. The gray bars represent a gray area where it is hard to say with certainty what the exact level of agreement is. Figure 4-15: Correlation between average rate and meaning 4.1.3.1 Question 3 Sustainability is a pressing issue. Twenty-seven out of twenty-eight respondents responded to this question. As shown in Figure 4-16, the average answer was 3.93, which indicates that respondents

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28 tend to agree that sustainability is a pressing issue; however, the majority of respondents totally agreed. Figure 4-16: Question 3 (N=27) 4.1.3.2 Question 4 It is a lot of trouble to implement green building practices. The number of responses to this statement was 28. As shown in Figure 4-17, the average of the ratings was 2.79, signifying that respondents somewhat agreed with this statement. The majority of respondents also somewhat agreed. 4.1.3.3 Question 5 It is expensive to implement green building practices. There were 28 responses to this statement as well. As shown in Figure 4-18, the average response was 3.29, which corresponds to the somewhat agree category. The majority of respondents tend to agree that green building is expensive.

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29 Figure 4-17: Question 4 (N=28) Figure 4-18: Question 5 (N=28) 4.1.3.4 Question 6 It is labor intensive to implement green building practices. All twenty-eight respondents rated this statement. As shown in Figure 4-19, the overall rating fell into the somewhat agree category with an average rating of 3.07. The majority of respondents somewhat agree that green building is labor intensive.

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30 Figure 4-19: Question 6 (N=28) 4.1.4 Attitudes Arriving at respondent’s attitudes toward sustainable construction was the purpose of this section. It too was comprised of a series of statements to which respondents responded by rating their level of agreement on a scale from one to five. 4.1.4.1 Question 7 It is more trouble than it is worth to implement green building practices. As shown in Figure 4-20, the average rating for this statement was 1.93, which places it in the category of tend to disagree. All 28 respondents rated this statement. The majority of the respondents also tended to disagree with the statement that green building is not worth the effort.

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31 Figure 4-20: Question 7 (N=28) 4.1.4.2 Question 8 My company would implement green building practices only if laws or regulations were instituted which required us to do so. Twenty-six of twenty-eight respondents rated this statement. As shown in Figure 4-21, the average of those ratings was 2.38. This average falls in a gray area between tends to disagree and somewhat agreeing. It could easily be attributed to either category, though it is closer to tending to disagree. Figure 4-21 shows that the majority of responses tended to disagree. 4.1.4.3 Question 9 We have a corporate and social responsibility to conduct our business in such a way as to cause the least amount of harm to the environment as possible. Every respondent rated this statement. As shown in Figure 4-22, the average of all of the ratings is 4.04, putting the average response in the “tend to agree” category. The majority also tended to agree with this statement.

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32 Figure 4-21: Question 8 (N=26) Figure 4-22: Question 9 (N=28) 4.1.4.4 Question 10 My company would like to incorporate green building practices. There were a total of 27 responses to this statement. With an average rating of 3.70, respondents tend to agree. Figure 4-23 shows that the majority of respondents also tended to agree with this statement.

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33 Figure 4-23: Question 10 (N=27) 4.1.5 Interest This section utilized two techniques aimed at determining the respondent’s level of interest with regard to pursuing implementation of sustainable construction. They were given statements just as in sections 4.1.3 and 4.1.4, with directions to rate their level of agreement, and they were also asked to mark a selection of green building practices indicating those in which they have participated. 4.1.5.1 Question 11 My company would be more likely to implement green building practices if the government would subsidize some of the cost. Twenty-six respondents rated this statement. The average of the ratings was 3.46, placing the average response in a gray area between somewhat agree and tend to agree. Figure 4-24 shows that the majority of respondents tended to agree with this statement.

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34 Figure 4-24: Question 11 (N=26) 4.1.5.2 Question 12 My company is learning more about green building. All 28 respondents rated this statement. As shown in Figure 4-25, their average response was a 4.04, making the average response “tend to agree,” however; the category with the majority of responses was “totally agree.” 4.1.5.3 Question 13 My company is interested in implementing green building practices, but is unsure how to begin a program. Twenty-six of the respondents rated this statement. The average answer was “tend to disagree” at 2.19. The majority of respondents in the study tended to disagree with this statement.

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35 Figure 4-25: Question 12 (N=28) Figure 4-26: Question 13 (N=26) 4.1.5.4 Question 14 My company has already incorporated green building practices, such as the following: (Please mark all that apply) (A) Establishing a waste management program

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36 (B) Requesting waste management plans from subcontractors (C) Job-site recycling (D) Negotiating with manufacturers to send back waste for reuse in the manufacturing process (E) Other:_______________ As shown in Figure 4-27, 18 (64%) respondents indicated that they had established a waste management program, while Figure 4-28 shows that 10 (36 %) respondents indicated that they requested waste management plans from their subcontractors. As shown in Figure 4-29, when asked about job-site recycling, 18 (64%) respondents replied that they had recycling programs. As shown in Figure 4-30 9 (32%) respondents indicated that they sent back waste for re-use in manufacturing processes. Figure 4-27: Question 14A (N=28)

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37 Figure 4-28: Question 14B (N=28) Figure 4-29: Question 14C (N=28)

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38 Figure 4-30: Question 14D (N=28) Respondents were also asked to list any other sustainable construction activities in which they participated. This part of the question only elicited six responses, two of which were variations on job-site recycling (recycling concrete and off-site recycling of construction waste). The rest of the responses varied, they were: in-house education programs, utilizing constructed wetlands on projects to handle and help purify run-off, using low odor paints, and purchasing hybrid vehicles for employees. 4.1.5.5 Question 15 Please list three things that would encourage more implementation of green building practices within your organization. This question elicited 53 responses out of a possible maximum of 84 (28x3=84). Out of the range of answers, six categories of answers were identified: those that were client driven, those that referred to education issues, those that referred to cost issues, those calling for more interest from related professions, those referring to government

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39 requirements, and those that wanted the process simplified. Figure 4-31 shows the breakdown of responses. The majority of respondents intimated that client interest is the number one factor that would encourage them to implement more green building practices. Reduced implementation costs and increased interest on the part of other professionals involved in the building process tie for the second most frequently mentioned factors. Items mentioned in the professional interest category are: designers stipulating sustainable techniques or specifying green products, more green products on the market, and interest on the part of subcontractors. The third most frequently mentioned factor is simplification of the process. Reducing and simplifying paperwork for LEED certification, clarification of standards, and establishing local recycling facilities were examples of comments in that category. The category that appeared the least was government requirements. Respondents were vague with their comments in this category, simply stating “government requirements,” however, one respondent did clarify that it is mandates and not subsidies that are required. Figure 4-31: Question 15 (N=53)

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40 4.2 Analysis This section examines three subcategories within the category Annual Volume. These are the basis of the comparative analysis. The subcategories are: (A) companies whose annual volume is less than $300 million, (B) companies whose annual volume is between $300 million and $500 million, and (C) companies whose annual volume is more than $500 million. The responses of these groups are analyzed and compared with responses based on the percentage of sustainable construction volume, the number of LEED accredited professionals, the highest LEED certification attained, and/or the job titles of the respondents to see if these variables affected the data. 4.2.1 Background 4.2.1.1 Annual volume The average volume of companies whose annual volume is less than $300 million is $134.3 million per year. Mid-sized companies (for the purposes of this study) had an average annual volume of $370 million, and the largest companies’ average annual volume was $697.5 million. Figure 4-32 shows the distribution of annual volumes. Figure 4-32: Annual volume

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41 4.2.1.2 Percentage of annual volume attributed to sustainable construction Companies who make less than $300 million annually, on average, have the highest volume of sustainable construction; according to them, an average of 18.75% of their annual volume is sustainable construction. The largest companies, making over $500 million, have the lowest average percentage of sustainable work out of the three at 10.83%. This does not truly reflect the actual amount of sustainable construction that each performs though; 18.75% of $134.3 million is $25.2 million dollars worth of sustainable construction annually performed by Group A. Similarly, 10.83% of $697.5 million is $75.5 million dollars in annual sustainable construction volume for Group C. So, even though Group A has a higher percentage of their annual volume devoted to sustainable construction, Group C still performs the most sustainable construction per year. Figure 4-33: Annual sustainable volume based on annual volume

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42 4.2.1.3 Number of LEED accredited professionals. Figure 4-34 shows that Group A, with the highest sustainable construction volume has the least number of LEED professionals, while Group C, having the lowest sustainable construction volume, has the most LEED accredited employees. This discrepancy can also be attributed to the fact that Group C actually performs the most sustainable construction, and there could be a correlation between their actual sustainable construction volume and the large number of LEED APs associated with this group. Their average number of LEED accredited professionals is 54, whereas the smallest companies, under $300 million, have an average of one. Group B has double the average of LEED APs than Group A, 2:1, yet this group has a smaller percentage of their annual volume dedicated to sustainable construction than Group A. Figure 4-34: Number of LEED accredited professionals based on annual volume Figure 4-35 shows the relationship between the numbers of LEED APs working for a company and the average percentage of annual volume attributed to sustainable

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43 construction. One can see that as the number of LEED APs increases, so does the volume of sustainable construction. Figure 4-35: Annual sustainable volume based on number of LEED APs 4.2.1.4 Highest level of LEED certification achieved The distribution of LEED certification based on annual volume is pictured in Figure 4-36. It is hard to accurately compare categories based on this criterion, partly because it is not necessarily up to the contractor to decide what certification should be sought, yet it is still valuable information to be able to visualize. It can be seen that Group C, performing the most sustainable construction and boasting the most LEED APs, is the only group to receive a platinum LEED certification. Also, everyone in this group has achieved a level of certification higher than certified. Group B has the most companies whose highest level of attainment was certified (the lowest level possible), and they also perform the least amount of sustainable construction.

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44 Figure 4-36: Highest LEED certification based on annual volume Figure 4-37 illustrates the link between the number of LEED professionals and a company’s highest achieved LEED certification for a project. It is difficult to compare this data as well, because the fact that there were only two companies that had more than 30 LEED APs may render it statistically invalid. However, that group was the only group to achieve platinum certification. Figure 4-37: Highest LEED Certification based on number of LEED APs

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45 4.2.1.5 Job titles As shown in Figure 4-38, the group of smallest companies is mainly comprised of vice presidents; it is also worthwhile to mention that all of the company presidents who participated in this study are in this category. The mid-sized companies are made up predominantly of project managers and vice presidents. The final group, those who make over $500 million, consists mostly of department directors. It is important to know the job titles of the respondents as this could have an effect on their knowledge of the subject, perceptions, attitudes, and interest. Those who are responsible for making decisions for the company regarding the implementation of sustainable construction might be more aware of sustainability issues than those who are out in the field, or those who do not necessarily have anything to do with the decision process or implementation of sustainable construction. Figure 4-38: Job titles of respondents based on annual volume

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46 4.2.2 Knowledge 4.2.2.1 Question 1 Are you familiar with any of the following organizations or standards? Please mark all that apply. (A) Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) (B) U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) (C) ISO 14001 As shown in Figure 4-39, all of the respondents in Group B (between $300 million and $500 million) and Group C (over $500 million) knew of LEED, whereas 81% of the respondents in Group A (under $300 million) were familiar with it. It is somewhat surprising that Group A is the least familiar with LEED, since it is the group associated with the highest average percentage of annual volume ascribed to sustainable construction. This could be a consequence of the job title of the respondents. Figure 4-39: Question 1A based on annual volume

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47 Figure 4-40 shows the distribution of responses based on job title. The chart demonstrates that presidents were the least aware of LEED. Recall that Group C was predominantly directors, Group B consisted mainly of vice presidents and project managers, and Group A was comprised mostly of vice presidents and had all of the presidents whose low score for awareness of LEED accounts for the lower percentage shown in Figure 4-39. As shown in Figure 4-41, when asked about USGBC, the answers were similar to those questions 1A. Figure 4-40: Question 1A based on job title

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48 Figure 4-41: Question 1B based on annual volume Figure 4-42 shows that company presidents were the least familiar with the USGBC, thus bringing down the average for Group A. Figure 4-42: Question 1B based on job title

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49 ISO 14001 is a set of standards related to the environment. Group B was not at all familiar with the standard, and only 6% of Group A knew of it. Fifty percent of respondents in Group C indicated familiarity with ISO 14001; there is no apparent relationship between the answers to this question and the job titles of the respondents or the number of LEED professionals working for the firms. Figure 4-43: Question 1C based on annual volume There is, however, a connection between this question and sustainable volume. Figure 4-44 shows that the respondents whose sustainable volume contributed to more than one quarter of their company’s annual volume were more familiar with ISO 14001 than the respondents of companies whose sustainable volume was less than 25% of their annual volume.

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50 Figure 4-44: Question 1C based on annual sustainable volume 4.2.2.2 Question 2 Are you familiar with any of the following terms? Please mark all that apply. (A) Green Building (B) Sustainable Development (C) Smart Growth (D) Waste Management As shown in Figure 4-45, Group A was the least familiar with the term green building out of the three groups, however, 94% is still an overwhelming majority within the category. One hundred percent of Groups B and C were familiar the term.

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51 Figure 4-45: Question 2A based on annual volume As shown in Figure 4-46, Group A was also the least familiar with the term sustainable development with 69% of the respondents, still more than half, stating that they knew of the term. Eighty-three percent of respondents in Group B were familiar with sustainable development, and all of the respondents in Group C have heard of sustainable development. The Group A responses could be the result of a workplace that is practically devoid of LEED APs. Figure 4-46: Question 2B based on annual volume

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52 Figure 4-47 shows that half of the respondents who had zero LEED APs at their firms knew of sustainable development. Figure 4-47: Question 2B based on number of LEED APs Smart growth, a term that refers to the sustainable development of cities, is less well known among all of the respondents. Figure 4-48 shows that 50% of the respondents whose companies’ annual volume is less than $300 million knew what smart growth meant. The situation is the same for the companies whose annual volume is between $300 and $500 million. Group C is still the most knowledgeable, with 75% of respondents recognizing the term, however, even the members of this group were not as familiar with smart growth as with the other terms.

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53 Figure 4-48: Question 2C based on annual volume Figure 4-49 shows that the firms with a higher volume of sustainable construction were slightly more familiar with smart growth than the others. Figure 4-49: Question 2C based on annual sustainable volume

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54 Waste management was the final term in question two. As shown in Figure 4-50, eighty-one percent of the members of Group A had heard of waste management, while 67% of those in Group B had heard of it. Once again, 100% of Group C’s members were familiar with term. Figure 4-50: Question 2D based on annual volume Group C is clearly the most knowledgeable of the three regarding sustainability terminology. As previously mentioned this is possibly related to the fact that Group C has the most LEED certified employees and performs the greatest amount of sustainable construction. 4.2.3 Perceptions 4.2.3.1 Question 3 Sustainability is a pressing issue. Figure 4-51 shows the distribution of responses. The average response of Group A was a four—tends to agree. Members of Group B somewhat agreed with this statement; their average rating was a 3.33. The respondents in Group C totally agreed with this

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55 statement; their average response was 4.75. Note that Group C has the highest number of LEED accredited professionals. Figure 4-51: Question 3 based on annual volume As shown in Figure 4-52, when the data for this question, based on highest level of LEED certification, is analyzed it is immediately apparent that the majority of respondents from companies with silver, gold, and platinum certifications totally agreed with this statement.

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56 Figure 4-52: Question 3 based on highest achieved LEED certification 4.2.3.2 Question 4 It is a lot of trouble to implement green building practices. As shown in Figure 4-53, Group A somewhat agreed with this statement, with an average rating of 2.88. Group B had the highest average rating of 3, they also somewhat agree with this statement. Group C’s average rating was a 2.5. This puts their rating in a gray area between tending to disagree and somewhat agreeing.

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57 Figure 4-53: Question 4 based on annual volume 4.2.3.3 Question 5 It is expensive to implement green building practices. As shown in Figure 4-54, the average rate associated with companies whose average annual volume is less than $300 million is 3.19 implying that overall they somewhat agree with this statement. These respondents may have responded this way because they are from the firms with the smallest annual volume, and perhaps the cost associated with green building is felt more acutely. Companies whose annual volume is between $300 million and $500 million tend to agree with this statement with an average of 4. This group also has the highest percentage of respondents who totally agree with this statement. The respondents from companies whose annual volume is over $500 million have an average rating of 2.5 putting them in the gray area between tending to disagree and somewhat agreeing, however, the majority of respondents tended to disagree. This response could be due to the fact that these respondents are from the

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58 largest companies where the cost of sustainable construction techniques may not be significant enough to be labeled too expensive. Figure 4-54: Question 5 based on annual volume 4.2.3.4 Question 6 It is labor intensive to implement green building practices. As shown in Figure 4-55, Group A had an average rating of 3, which means that they somewhat agree with this statement. This response could also reflect upon their rating for the previous statement, as labor is costly. The same applies to Group B, whose average response was a 4—tend to agree—they also indicate strong concerns about the cost of green building. Group C, however, tended to disagree with this statement. They had an average rating of 2; perhaps it is a coincidence that they were not as concerned as the others with the cost of green building.

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59 Figure 4-55: Question 6 based on annual volume There is an association between the above data and the data for this question based upon highest LEED certification. Basically, the higher a company’s certification level, the more likely it was to disagree with this statement. Figure 4-56 shows the distribution of ratings. The average rating for the certified category was a 3.75—they tended to agree that sustainable construction is labor intensive. The silver group’s average was 2.83, indicating that this group somewhat agreed with this statement. Those in the gold classification had an average rating of 2.5. They were in the gray area between tending to disagree and somewhat agreeing, however, their average rate was still lower than that of the silver group. Finally, the one respondent who had received a platinum certification tended to disagree with this statement.

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60 Figure 4-56: Question 6 based on highest achieved LEED certification In general Group C has the most positive association with sustainable construction, whereas Group B is the most skeptical and pessimistic. Group A shows concern over some issues, such as cost, yet they still dedicate much of their annual volume to sustainable construction. 4.2.4 Attitudes 4.2.4.1 Question 7 It is more trouble than it is worth to implement green building practices. As shown in Figure 4-57. Group A had the highest average rating of the three groups; a 2.06 (tend to disagree). Group B who, according to the perceptions section, gave the highest rating pertaining to green building being a lot of trouble also tended to disagree with this statement, but their average rating was 1.83. Group C was between total disagreement and tending to disagree. Their average rating was 1.5, the lowest rating, which is not surprising given their positive association with green building.

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61 Overall, the respondents felt that sustainable construction is worthwhile, even those who said that it is a hassle. Figure 4-57: Question 7 based on annual volume 4.2.4.2 Question 8 My company would implement green building practices only if laws or regulations were instituted which required us to do so. As shown in Figure 4-58, Group A had the highest average rating.69. This rating puts Group A in between tending to disagree and somewhat agreeing categories, though the majority of the respondents tended to disagree. Group B’s average response was 2.5 signifying that they were also between tending to disagree and somewhat agreeing with the majority of respondents tending to disagree. Group C’s respondents, on average, were caught between totally disagreeing and tending to disagree, yet the majority of the respondents totally disagreed. The data reflect the response to question 15 (refer to Figure 4-31), which shows that client interest is the primary reason for implementation of sustainable construction—not government mandates.

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62 Figure 4-58: Question 8 based on annual volume 4.2.4.3 Question 9 We have a corporate and social responsibility to conduct our business in such a way as to cause the least amount of harm to the environment as possible. As shown in Figure 4-59, Group A’s average rating was 3.88. Even though they tend to agree with this statement, they have the lowest average rating for this question. Group B had an average of 4; they also tended to agree with this statement. Finally, Group C’s average rating was 4.75, indicating that they totally agree with this statement; this is possibly a reflection of the large number of LEED accredited professionals working for these firms.

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63 Figure 4-59: Question 9 based on annual volume Figure 4-60 shows that there is a connection with the number of LEED APs. The firms with less than thirty LEED professionals tended to agree with the statement, while those with thirty or more LEED accredited employees totally agreed that they have a responsibility toward the environment. Figure 4-60: Question 9 based on number of LEED APs

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64 There is also a correlation with the level of LEED certification achieved. Figure 4-61 shows how the companies in the gold and platinum categories gave higher ratings for this statement. The responses were all positive for this statement, never the less, the groups with higher LEED certification gave the highest ratings. Figure 4-61: Question 9 based on highest achieved LEED certification 4.2.4.4 Question 10 My company would like to incorporate green building practices. As shown in Figure 4-62, the average response of Group A was 3.63—between somewhat agree and tend to agree. Group B’s average rating was 3.20, meaning they somewhat agreed with this statement. Group C totally agreed with this statement on average with a 4.75 average rating. This could be a result of the extraordinary number of LEED certified employees associated with this group.

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65 Figure 4-62: Question 10 based on annual volume 4.2.5 Interest 4.2.5.1 Question 11 My company would be more likely to implement green building practices if the government would subsidize some of the cost. Figure 4-63 shows that Group A somewhat agrees with this statement with an average rating of 3.2. Group B is between tending to agree and totally agreeing at 4.4; this is the highest average rate among the three, reinforcing the fact that Group B is most concerned with the cost of green building. Group C’s average was 3.25, indicating that they somewhat agree that government subsidies would encourage them to do more, signifying that cost is not a major factor for them.

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66 Figure 4-63: Question 11 based on annual volume 4.2.5.2 Question 12 My company is learning more about green building. As shown in Figure 4-64, the average response for Group A is 3.94, meaning that this group tends to agree with this statement. Group B’s average response is a 4, which indicates that they also tend to agree with this statement. Every one of the respondents in Group C signified that they totally agree this statement. Again this could be a reflection of the influence of the many LEED certified professionals on their companies’ cultures. This response also correlates to Group C’s total agreement with statement nine (responsibility toward the environment).

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67 Figure 4-64: Question 12 based on annual volume Figure 4-65 shows the correlation between interest in learning about green building and the number of LEED accredited professionals. The average for the group with zero LEED professionals is 3.58—between somewhat agreeing and tending to agree. The average for the group with between one and thirty LEED APs was 4.33, between tending to agree and totally agreeing. The group with 30 or more LEED professionals had an average response of five, signifying their total agreement with the statement. As the number of LEED employees rises so does interest in green building, or perhaps as a company becomes more interested in green building, the more LEED APs they hire to help them.

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68 Figure 4-65: Question 12 based on number of LEED APs 4.2.5.3 Question 13 My company is interested in implementing green building practices, but is unsure how to begin a program. Overall, as shown in Figure 4-66, all of the groups suggested that their company knows how to implement a green building program. Groups B and C both tended to disagree with this statement with average responses of 2.2 and 2 respectively. Group A fell between the categories of tend to disagree and somewhat agree, however the majority of responses tended to disagree.

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69 Figure 4-66: Question 13 based on annual volume 4.2.5.4 Question 14 My company has already incorporated green building practices, such as the following: (please mark all that apply.) (A) Establishing a waste management program (B) Requesting waste management plans from subcontractors (C) Job-site recycling (D) Negotiating with manufacturers to send back waste for reuse in the manufacturing process. As shown in Figure 4-67, 50% of the respondents in Group A have waste management systems in place. Eighty-three percent of Group B’s members have waste management plans, and all of the respondents in Group C indicated that they have a waste management program. A possible connection could be drawn between the frequency of established waste management plans and the number of LEED professionals in each

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70 group. Figure 4-68 shows this connection. The more LEED professionals a company has, the more likely they are to have a waste management program. Figure 4-67: Question 14A based on annual volume Figure 4-68: Question 14A based on number of LEED APs

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71 As shown in Figure 4-69, there is also a connection between a company’s sustainable construction volume and the incidence of waste management programs. Companies whose annual volume owes more than 25% to sustainable construction are more likely to have established waste management programs than are those whose sustainable construction volume is less than a quarter of their gross annual volume. Figure 4-69: Question 14A based on annual sustainable volume One-fourth of Group A reported requiring subcontractors to submit a waste management plan; one-third of the members in Group B said that they required one. Three-fourths of Group C’s members stated that they request waste management plans from subcontractors. A relationship exists between these responses to this question and the volume of sustainable construction. Figure 4-70 shows that 60% of the respondents whose annual sustainable construction volume is more than one-fourth of their gross annual volume request waste management plans from subcontractors, while as shown in Figure 4-71, only 27% of respondents whose sustainable construction volume is less than a quarter of gross annual volume request them.

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72 Figure 4-70: Question 14B based on annual volume Figure 4-71: Question 14B based on annual sustainable volume As shown in Figure 4-72, 50% of the respondents in Group A said that they recycle waste on-site, while 67% of respondents in Group B recycle on-site. Every one of the respondents in Group C said that they have established a job-site recycling program.

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73 There is also a relationship between job-site recycling rates and sustainable construction volume. Figure 4-73 shows that companies whose sustainable construction volume is 25% or more of their annual volume, have a higher rate of job-site recycling than companies whose sustainable construction volume is less than 25% of annual volume. Figure 4-72: Question 14C based on annual volume Figure 4-73: Question 14C based on annual sustainable volume

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74 As shown in Figure 4-74, one-fourth of both Group A’s and Group C’s respondents stated that they sent back waste for re-manufacturing, while one-third of the members in Group B do so. Figure 4-74: Question 14D based on annual volume In general, there appears to be a correlation between the size of a company and its sustainability IQ. The larger companies performed more sustainable construction than did smaller companies, they employed more LEED accredited professionals, they were most familiar with sustainable development terminology, they had achieved the highest levels of LEED certification, had a higher rate of implementation of green building practices, and had the most positive associations with sustainable construction. This study was not without its biases, however, and it is important to mention them here. The fact that the respondents held varied positions within their companies could have affected the way they answered the questions relative to each other. To truly compare responses, it would have been helpful to have surveyed a representative from

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75 only one position at each company. It is also important to be aware of the fact that LEED APs have different backgrounds, and their opinions can vary widely from one another. 4.3 Relationship between Perceptions and Attitudes It was decided to test respondent’s consistency with respect to how they answered questions in the perceptions and attitudes sections. In order to see if the sets of data for each section were significantly different a two-tailed Student’s t-test was performed. With a confidence level of 95% and 27 degrees of freedom, t p =2.052. The two-tailed t-test produced a t value of 0.125. Since t
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76 Figure 4-76: Significantly different data sets The results of this study are summarized in Chapter 5.

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CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 5.1 Conclusions The results of this study reveal the perception of the respondents about the topic of sustainable construction. They also expose the degree to which construction firms are implementing sustainable construction measures and how knowledgeable they are about the subject. Figure 5-1 shows how the ratings were developed. Tables 5-1 and 5-2 show which issues were the most important to different categories of respondents. An issue was marked with an X only if the average answer was 3.5 or higher. Figure 5-1: Average rate and meaning 77

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78 Table 5-1: Comparison of groups Note: X=3.5 or higher Table 5-2: Comparison of job titles Note: X=3.5 or higher

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79 Table 5-1 shows that all respondents generally regarded sustainability as a pressing issue. They also indicated that they agreed that they had a corporate and social responsibility to conduct business in such a way as to cause the least amount of harm to the environment, and indicated that they would like to incorporate green building practices. Finally, respondents said that their companies are learning more about sustainability. Group A’s and C’s average answers reflect those of the sample population as a whole. Group B, however, was the only group that did not really agree that sustainability was a pressing issue, and the only group to indicate that they think it is expensive and labor intensive to implement. They did, however, agree that their companies had a responsibility to the environment. They were also the only group to say that they would accept financial help from the government as an incentive to implement sustainable construction techniques, which is probably because of their belief that implementation is expensive. They also said that their companies were learning more about sustainable construction. It is also interesting to see the breakdown of answers according to job title, shown in Table 5-2. Remember that the respondents in Group A were mostly Vice Presidents, and the answers the Vice Presidents gave completely match up with those found in the Group A column of Table 5-1, except for the fact that they said they would like the government to subsidize some of the cost associated with green building. The respondents in Group B were mostly Vice Presidents and Project Managers. The Project Manager’s responses are reflected in Table 5-1 under the Group B column

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80 because they were the only ones to indicate that they thought sustainable construction measures were expensive and labor intensive to implement. The rest of the answers provided by the Vice Presidents and the Project Managers coincide with the answers given by Group B. Group C consisted mainly of Directors, and one can see by comparing the answers of the Directors in Table 5-2 to those of Group C in Table 5-1 that the answers are consistent with one another. Overall, the industry recognizes the shift toward sustainable construction, and the industry is making an effort to learn more about it. Companies of every size (within this study) have already begun to implement sustainable construction measures, and the indications for the future of green building are positive. However, the rate at which companies make this shift could be increased with more public awareness regarding sustainability. According to the answers given by respondents, client interest is the main driver for the implementation of sustainable construction. 5.2 Recommendations This was a relatively small study reviewing responses from a total of twenty-eight participants. A larger sample is recommended in order to get a more accurate picture of how the construction industry is truly responding to sustainable construction. A larger sample could also offset some of the responses given by one of the largest companies, which could have skewed the average response of that group. This company had a total of 128 LEED APs and an annual volume of $1,000,000,000; far exceeding the levels of those in its own group. Also more respondents might have made comparisons between the three categories based on annual volume more fair by making the number of companies in each group more even. Perhaps with the data provided, two categories with

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81 an almost equal number of respondents would have been a better approach than three uneven categories. Also a seven-point scale is recommended for future studies, as some of the average responses to questions were ambiguous. A seven-point scale would allow a more definitive view point to be expressed. It is important to reiterate that all of the companies surveyed were large firms. In order to get a sense of how truly small and medium sized companies respond to the issue of sustainable construction, it would be necessary to conduct a study that is not restricted to members of Engineering News Record’s Top 400 contractors. A possible variation of this study would be to only survey LEED APs and see how they respond to the questions in this study and how their answers vary.

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APPENDIX A LETTER OF CONSENT 82

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APPENDIX B SURVEY 83

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84

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LIST OF REFERENCES Barringer, Felicity. “Nations Ranked as Protectors of the Environment.” New York Times 24 Jan. 2005. Cabezas, Heriberto, Christopher W. Pawlowski, Audrey L. Mayer, and Theresa N. Hoagland. “Sustainable Systems Theory: Ecological and Other Aspects.” Journal of Cleaner Production 13.5 (2005): 455-467. Cohen-Rosenthal, Edward. “Making Sense Out of Industrial Ecology: A Framework for Analysis and Action.” Journal of Cleaner Production 12.8-10 (2004): 1111-1123. Viewed 23 May 2005. “Environmental Assessment for Proposed Effluent Guidelines and Standards for the Construction and Development Category.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency . June 2002. (accessed 23 May 2005). “Europe.” Earth Island Journal 19.1 (2004): 7-8. Gutowski, Timothy, Cynthia Murphy, David Allen, Diana Bauer, Bert Bras, Thomas Piwonka, Paul Sheng, John Sutherland, Deborah Thurston, and Egon Wolff. “Environmentally Benign Manufacturing: Observations from Japan, Europe and the United States.” Journal of Cleaner Production 13.1 (2005): 1-17. Kibert, C.J. “Sustainable Construction: What does it mean and how do we achieve it?” Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Sustainable Construction, November 6-9, 1994: Principles of Sustainable Construction. Tampa, Florida, pp. 1-8. McMichael, A.J., C.D. Butler, and Carl Folke. “New Visions for Addressing Sustainability.” Science 302.5652 (2003): 1919-1920. Miyatake, Yasuyoshi. “Technology Development and Sustainable Construction.” Journal of Management in Engineering 12.4 (1996): 23-27. Paehlke, Robert. “Sustainability as a Bridging Concept.” Conservation Biology 19.1 (2005): 36-38. Pearce, Fred. “They Paved Paradise.” New Scientist 174.2344 (2002). “Ranking Sustainability.” Environment 47.2 (2005): 7. 85

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86 Rohracher, Harald. “Managing the Technological Transition to Sustainable Construction of Buildings: A Socio-Technical Perspective.” Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 13.1 (2001): 137-150. Seiffert, Mari E. B., and Carlos Loch. “Systemic Thinking in Environmental Management: Support for Sustainable Development.” Journal of Cleaner Production 13.12 (2005): 1197-1202. Spangenberg, Joachim H., Stephanie Pfahl, and Kerstin Deller. “Towards Indicators for Institutional Sustainability: Lessons from an Analysis of Agenda 21.” Ecological Indicators 2.1-2 (2002): 61-77. “Take Out the Garbage.” Editorial, America 3 (2005): 3. Van Bueren, Ellen M., and Hugo Priemus. “Institutional Barriers to Sustainable Construction.” Environment & Planning B: Planning & Design 29.1 (2002): 75-86.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jaime L. Barnes was born in Tampa, Florida, to Joe A. Barnes and Judith L. Barnes. After her high school graduation in 1999, she attended the University of Florida’s Interior Design program. She earned her Bachelor of Design in 2003, and in the same year began the Master of Science in Building Construction pr ogram also at the University of Florida. Upon completion of her master’s she plans to move to Chicago, Illinois, where she will pursue a career in interior design. 87