Overcoming the social and psychological barriers to green building

Andrew J. Hoffman, Rebecca Henn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

282 Citations (SciVal)


The green building movement has overcome formidable, technical, and economic hurdles in recent years, yet adoption of green building practices within the design and construction field remains low. Major corporations now offer products and services at a scale that is bringing costs down to competitive levels, but environmental sustainability in building design and delivery remains at the early stages of the adoption s-curve. This article argues that environmental progress in the building design and construction industry will continue to stall if the significant social and psychological barriers that remain are not addressed. After surveying the three levels of barriers-individual, organizational, and institutional-the article concludes with strategies for overcoming them. Seven specific strategies are elaborated, namely, issue framing, targeting the right demographic, education, structural and incentive change, indemnifying risk, green building standard improvements, and tax reform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-419
Number of pages30
JournalOrganization and Environment
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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