Barriers to ‘green operation’ of office buildings: perspectives of Australian facilities managers

Stephanie Rock, M. R. Hosseini, Bahareh Nikmehr, Igor Martek, Sepehr Abrishami, Serdar Durdyev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose - The built environment is a major source of carbon-emissions. However, 80% of the damage arises through the operational phase of a building’s life. Office buildings are the most significant building type in terms of emission reduction potential. Yet, no study has been undertaken to examine the barriers faced by building operators in transitioning to a green operation of the office buildings in their care. This study sets out to identify those barriers.

Design/methodology/approach - Building facilities managers with between 7 to 25 years’ experience in operating primarily high-rise Melbourne office buildings were interviewed. The sample was taken from LinkedIn connections, with 10 responding from 17 invitations given. Interview comments were recorded, coded, and categorised to identify the barriers sought by this study.

Findings - Seven categories of barriers to effecting green operation of office buildings were extracted. These were: financial, owner related, tenant related, technological, regulatory, architectural, and stakeholder interest conflicts. Difficulties identifying green operation strategies that improved cost-performance or return on investment (ROI) of buildings was the major barrier.

Practical implications - Government, policy makers, as well as facilities managers themselves have been struggling with how to catalyse a green transition in the operation of office buildings. By identifying the barriers standing in the way, this study provides a concrete point of departure from which remedial strategies and policies may be formulated and put into effect.

Originality/value - The uptake of green operation of office buildings has been very slow. Though barriers have been hypothesised in earlier work, this is the first study that categorically identifies and tabulates the barriers that stand in the way of improving the green operational performance of office buildings, drawing on the direct knowledge of facilities experts.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date19 Jun 2019
Publication statusEarly online - 19 Jun 2019


  • Green building
  • Energy efficiency
  • Sustainability assessment
  • Asset management
  • Building maintenance
  • Commercial properties


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