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Driving forces for low carbon technology innovation in the building industry: A critical review

: Lai, Xiaodong; Liu, Jixian; Shi, Qian; Georgiev, Georgi; Wu, Guangdong


Renewable & sustainable energy reviews 74 (2017), pp.299-315
ISSN: 1364-0321
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IBP ()

As a response to climate change, low carbon development has attracted a growing public attention. It is urgent to implement low carbon economy through technological innovation so that carbon emissions can be reduced effectively. The synergy and cooperation amongst the participants is required due to various challenges such as: multi-participants, multi-objectives and multi-technologies. These present significant challenges to the low carbon technology (LCT) innovation development. The objective of this study is to identify the relevant driving forces of LCT innovation and their interaction in the construction industry. This paper firstly analyzes the interrelationships of the participants via a methodology of system dynamics (SD) and questionnaire survey. The main driving forces and related influential factors are highlighted by means of a deductive method. Moreover, a SD model is established to examine the driving forces where government and private firms all play a role. The results show that LCT integration driving forces are significantly influenced by the continuous changes of a particular low carbon project as well as the number of participating enterprises. All the driving forces reflect an increasingly level of effectiveness. According to the model simulation, it will take a long period of time to transform traditional projects to low carbon projects. China needs at least 21 years that the quantity of low carbon buildings exceeds that of traditional ones. As a result, the building and construction industry is facing a significant challenge in terms of carbon emissions reduction. The numbers of enterprises participating in LCT innovation will not always increase with the enhancement of driving forces. Rather, it will keep at a stable level after a certain growth. A particular one single driving force has limited impact on the growth of low carbon projects and participating enterprises. System integration plays a crucial role to achieve the low carbon development.