Environmental Assessment Methodologies for Commercial Buildings: An Elicitation Study of U.S. Building Professionalsâ€™ Beliefs on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
Voluntary environmental programs (VEPs) have become increasingly popular around the world to address energy efficiency issues that mandatory building codes have not been able to tackle. Even though the utility of voluntary schemes is widely debated, they have become a de facto reality for many professionals in the building and construction sector. One topic that is neglected, however, in both academic and policy discussions, relates to how professionals (architects, engineers, real estate developers, etc .) perceive the rise of voluntary rating schemes. In order to fill this gap in the literature, the present study investigates beliefs underlying adoption behavior regarding one of the most prominent voluntary assessment and certification programs in the U.S. building industry, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) scheme. In this paper, an elicitation study, based on 14 semi-structured interviews with building professionals in the North East of the United States, was conducted to analyze this question. Building on the Reasoned Action Approach, this paper shows that, in addition to more conventional factors such as financial calculations and marketing aspects, the understanding of beliefs held by building professionals offers important insights into their decisions to work with Voluntary Environmental Assessment and Rating Programs.
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