Environmental indicators for buildings have the potential to serve as a means of making the environmental impacts (and possibly benefits) of buildings visible to all relevant actors. In addition, indicators facilitate the consideration and management of an array of environmental issues in the relevant decision-making situations. The broad acceptance of indicators across different groups of decision-makers in different phases of a building’s life cycle is especially important when indicators are not enforced in building regulation but are to be used in voluntary bottom-up initiatives. The objective of this study was to investigate if (and to what extent) consensus on environmental indicators for buildings as ‘a common language for green building’ can be reached among core actors in the Danish building sector and what such indicators could look like. Based on an analysis of current indicator systems and a qualitative investigation of the views of different actor groups on environmental indicators for buildings, the areas of consensus and lines of conflict between the actor groups were identified. Four different technological frames were used to identify four different perceptions of environmental indicators. Applying the theory of the social construction of technology (SCOT) in a prospective way (in contrast to a retrospective analysis of present or past technology), the findings show that a closure of the indicator-debate on the basis of an all-actors consensus within the near future is unlikely. Instead, three likely scenarios are described for the future development of the indicator debate and the directions are identified into which different actors need to move in order to establish indicators that can serve as a common language for green building.
Building Research and Information, 2006, Vol 34, Issue 4, p. 387-404