Assessing the Impact of IPD on Adoption of Innovations Related to Energy Efficiency

Principal Investigators

Dr. Raymond Levitt, Dr. Martin Fischer

Research Staff

Afroz Algiers, Daniel Hall, Prithvi Padachuri, Christine Li

Engineering/Business Problem Scenario

41% of GHG emissions, 40% of primary energy use, and 74% of electricity consumption come from U.S. buildings. The adoption of sustainable innovations could reduce builiding consumption up to 30% and save up to $130 billion annually. Yet many of these innovations have failed to diffuse throughout the AEC industry.

The innovation story is more nuanced, however. Certain energy-efficient innovations that fit withing the existing divisions of work and specialization and have standardized interfaces diffuse. However, integral innovations that cross professional and trade specializations, redefine how work is done in the industry, and break industry standards are more difficult to implement in AEC and are significantly less likely to be adopted. 

Project Proposal

The building sector is the single largest energy consumer and GHG emitter. Energy-efficient technologies are continually being developed, but the most impactful technologies have diffused very slowly through the building sector. Innovations such as intelligent building management systems offer significant energy savings, but they are integral - i.e., they introduce new modules and redefine how existing modules (e.g., windows, fans, boiles, chillers, sensor networks) fit together and are installed in buildings. The horizontally, vertically, and longitudinally fragmented AEC industry has been shown to pose high barriers to diffusion of these kinds of integral innovations. Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) powerfully integrates project teams to address industry fragmentation, and thus should remove these barriers to adoption of integral innovations that affect energy efficiency, water reuse, and other aspects of sustainability. We propose to investigate whether IPD facilitates the adoption of integral sustainability-enchancing innovations in buildings; and if so, how, and to what extent. 

Test Cases

An ethnographic deep-dive has been performed for 4 IPD projects. The research team has focused on theory building to determine what factors of IPD facilitate implementation of integral innovations. 


CIFE Seed Proposal 2012-03_final-without-budget.pdf1.03 MB

Last modified Fri, 21 Feb, 2014 at 15:30