Green Building, Green Behavior? An Analysis of Building Characteristics that Support Environmentally Responsible Behaviors

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Abstract

This study examines the environmentally responsible behaviors (ERBs) of undergraduates (n = 575). ERBs were measured in an online survey and the influence of situational context on behavior was explored at two scales: 1) green versus non-green building and 2) building characteristics. The Positive Sustainable Built Environments model was used to analyze three building characteristics: Prime, Permit, and Invite. Prime refers to characteristics that prepare occupants to adopt ERBs via communicating a sustainable ethos or restoring attentional capacity (e.g., use of natural materials and views to nature). Permit refers to features that allow occupants to conserve resources (e.g., operable light switches). Invite pertains to features that explicitly encourage ERBs (e.g., signage prompting occupants to turn off lights). Regression results demonstrated that living in a green building had no significant impact on ERBs. However, the Prime and Invite building characteristics significantly predicted improved Energy, Water, and Materials conservation. Results yield implications for designers seeking to create sustainable buildings that promote ERBs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-450
Number of pages42
JournalEnvironment and Behavior
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • architecture
  • environmentally responsible behavior
  • green building
  • pro-environmental behavior
  • situational context

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