A review of building / infrastructure sustainability reporting tools (SRTs)

Date : June 2013

Authors : Renard Siew (University of New South Wales, Sydney), Maria Balatbat (University of New South Wales, Sydney) and David Gordon Carmichael (University of New South Wales, Sydney)

Buildings/infrastructure are recognised to have a significant impact on the environment and the community, and hence there is pressure on industry practitioners to incorporate environmental and social considerations in addition to the traditional cost, time and quality. The development of sustainability reporting tools (SRTs) to assist in the management of “green” building/infrastructure projects is pivotal in informing on progress in sustainability practices. However, the rapid growth of SRTs in the last decade, with different criteria and methodology, has created complications for stakeholders.The paper provides a comprehensive review of tools to guide practitioners, property investors, policy makers and developers towards making informed choices in“green” building/infrastructure projects. Comparative analyses, benefits and limitations of these tools are discussed in the paper. Some of the findings from the analysis of SRTs include: an emphasis on environmental issues; scoring which does not account for uncertainty or variability in assessors’ perceptions; lack of published reasoning behind the allocation of scores; inadequate definition of scales to permit differentiation among projects; and the existence of non-scientific benchmarks. The paper departs from earlier reviews to include a discussion on infrastructure SRTs, life cycle tools, and issues broader than the environment. Changes and additions, subsequent to earlier reviews, have been made to SRTs, making the updated review provided here useful.

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