Buildings Research

Identifying and Mitigating Structural Barriers to Diffusion of Energy-Saving Technologies in the Building Industry

Raymond E. Levitt (PI), Erica L. Plambeck (PI), Dana Gavrieli (RA)

Energy-saving building technologies offer the best available opportunity to reduce GHG emissions with positive net present value and rapid payback. However, very little progress has been made in implementing them. There is no lack of energy-saving technologies with positive short term paybacks for both new and existing buildings. Rather, we hypothesize, the extremely slow diffusion of these impactful technologies is a result of the horizontally and vertically fragmented structure of the building industry, its susceptibility to extremely large fluctuations in demand, its tradition of partitioned competitive bidding, and the broken agency between decision-makers involved in capital vs. operating decisions in this industry. We propose a one-year seed research project to:

  1. Identify and document the key organizational, inter-organizational, and industry barriers to widespread adoption of energy-saving building technologies;
  2. Use case studies to document examples of governmental regulations or incentives and corporate strategies that have successfully overcome these barriers;
  3. Develop preliminary hypotheses about strategic and policy interventions that can overcome these barriers; and
  4. Prepare and submit one or more proposals for substantial external funding for follow-on research, industry outreach and executive education.

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Paper: Operations Management Challenges for some Cleantech Firms (579KB PDF)
Raymond E. Levitt (PI), Erica L. Plambeck (PI)

Project Abstract: Identifying and Mitigating Structural Barriers to Diffusion of Energy-Saving Technologies in the Building Industry (183KB PDF)
Raymond E. Levitt (PI), Erica L. Plambeck (PI)

Project Update: Identifying and Mitigating Structural Barriers to Diffusion of Energy-Saving Technologies in the Building Industry (466KB PDF)
Raymond E. Levitt (PI), Erica L. Plambeck (PI), Sara Tingley Rosenthal (GSB Case Writer)

Interim Update: Innovation in Modular Industries: Implementing Energy-Efficient Innovations in US Buildings (2.6MB PDF)
Dana A. Sheffer (Gavrieli)

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Table of Contents