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

Up to 34 percent of energy used in buildings is wasted, despite available technologies. This project identified the key organizational, inter-organizational and industry barriers to widespread adoption of energy-saving technologies in the building industry.
Vertical, horizontal, and longitudinal fragmentation in the building industry
Year Started: 
2010

The project’s case study of the company ZETA Communities documented examples of government regulations and incentives, as well as corporate strategies, that have successfully overcome these barriers. ZETA Communities integrates architecture, engineering, functional construction to produce zero-net energy homes for 15–20 percent less cost than conventional homes. The project also developed preliminary hypotheses about strategic and policy interventions that can overcome these barriers. The project’s results showed that integration of supply chains from manufacture through maintenance can help overcome the barriers of the decentralized U.S. building industry. This represents a business opportunity for penetrating mature markets with integral innovations. The work also found that modular innovations are implemented almost three times as often as integral innovations. In follow-on work, researchers investigated strategies to increase implementation of integral innovations.

Working Paper: Fragmentation inhibits innovation: Overcoming professional and trade lock-in Stanford Global Projects Center, Scheffer, D., Levitt, R. (2012)

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