Information or Marketing? Lessons from the history of private-sector green building labelling.

Palgrave Macmillan
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Sustainable Real Estate: Multidisciplinary approaches to an evolving system, 2018, pp. 115-163
Issue Date:
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What can we learn from a quarter century of voluntary green building labelling? Market competition forcertification has evolved two dominant labelling strategies, which we classify and describe as “voluntaryenvironmental building codes” and “measured building performance audits”. The former creates a structuredframework to support claims of environmental and human health design intentions while the latter supportsclaims of environmental performance in operation. Empirical research on green building labelling concludesthat while labels are often associated with higher property values, there is a growing literature on thesystematic disconnect between design intentions and operational performance outcomes, implying thatconsumers of labels are either primarily interested in the marketing value of certification or unaware of beingmisinformed. This chapter calls for an integrated certification process across all phases of building design,construction, and operation in order to align incentives between building designers and occupants.
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