Academic journal article Global Journal of Business Research

Potential for Green Building Adoption: Evidence from Kenya

Academic journal article Global Journal of Business Research

Potential for Green Building Adoption: Evidence from Kenya

Article excerpt


The construction industry plays an important role in economic, environmental, and social development and sustainability. Several studies have demonstrated that green building evolution is key to promoting sustainability in the built environment. This paper is based on a recent research study that employed a mixed methods approach to explore the potential for adoption of green building in Kenya. The study unveiled a set of select green attributes that would provide best potential for adoption. Kenya stands out as a suitable case study because of its latitude as a leading economic hub in a region that is endowed with an abundance of natural resources, some of which could constitute renewable energy sources. Essentially, this study was timely in providing a preliminary platform for developing green building guidelines and best practices that would be meaningful to the Kenyan construction industry.

JEL: Q00, Y8, R00

KEYWORDS: Kenya, Green Building, Construction Industry, Adoption, Potential


This paper is based on a recent study which sought to determine what green building attributes provide the best potential for adoption in Kenya. As the green building concept continues to permeate the construction industry globally, preliminary findings of the study revealed that there were no green building guidelines in Kenya as of that time. However, there was an apparent interest in green building practices among stakeholders in Kenyan construction industry. This combination of findings underscores the need for the study.

The study utilized focus groups and personal interviews to identify and validate 26 green building rating attributes that could be adopted as a platform for developing a meaningful green building rating system for the context of Kenya without necessarily reinventing the wheel of other green building rating systems. Further, the study employed descriptive statistics to rank order the attributes in order of importance, as perceived by construction professionals in Kenya. Ideally, the 26 green building attributes are the 'low-hanging fruits' that would provide the best potential for adoption in Kenya.

Beyond Kenya's boundaries, this study provided a template that could be used to create green building standards and best practices in countries where economic, environmental and social geographies are similar to those in Kenya. Additionally, the tenets of this study would provide guidance for future research efforts dedicated to inquiry on similar subjects. In arguing that the construction industry has not done enough to reduce its environmental footprint, Horvath (1999) asserts that concerted national and international research and educational efforts are therefore needed to change the situation.

The next section of this paper provides a summary of some of the literature that was used to develop the background research. This is followed by an outline of the research methodology employed for data collection. Next are results and discussions. The paper closes with conclusions and directions for future research.


Extensive review of literature was conducted to provide a foundational understanding of what would be required to develop green building practices and a green building standard that is meaningful to Kenyan construction industry. Some of the literature review areas that were relevant to the theme of this research were: 1) definition of green building in regard to three pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental, and social; 2) an overview of the construction industry in Kenya, including its characteristics and the roles of key stakeholders; and 3) an examination of characteristics of select green building standards and their adoption in other countries.

The increasing adoption of green building practices is primarily driven by global efforts to build resilience to the negative impacts of the built environment on economic, environmental and social systems. …

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