Assessing Economic, Social and Environmental Implications of Implementing Sustainability in the Built Environment

C. S. Goh, Shamy Y. M. Chin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The building and construction sector has been acknowledged as a main contributor to the global carbon emission. In addition to environmental implications, the built environment also has implications in the social and economic development. However, the social and economic implications are often sidelined in the past studies. It therefore calls for a need to investigate the implications of sustainability within the context of built environments. The objective of the paper is to determine the extent to which the three pillars of sustainability are adopted in the built environment and explore their environmental, social and economic implications in a holistic manner. A questionnaire was used to solicit information from a range of construction stakeholders to capture different stakeholder viewpoints on the implications of sustainability. The results showed that more than 80% of respondents considered they have implemented the three pillars of sustainability in their practice. The environmental pillar has the highest level of implementation followed by the social and economic pillars. This result reinforced literature by showing that the environmental sustainability is still predominant in sustainability practice, with an emphasis on energy efficiency and renewable or recyclable resources. Surprisingly, the social implications are greatly acknowledged where a sustainable built environment is perceived to creating a healthier environment and increasing user comfort and satisfactions. Construction stakeholders are however less convinced by the positive economic implications due to an absence of strong evidence of reduced life cycle cost associated with sustainable built environments. This paper provides an empirical insight into the implications of implementing sustainability in the built environment and offers an indication of a transition from the existing environmental-oriented system to a more socio-environmental context in the pursuit of sustainability. Future studies shall integrate more socio-environmental aspects in assessing sustainable built environments to reveal the complex relationships of the three pillars in the pursuit of sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTowards a Carbon Neutral Future
Subtitle of host publicationThe Proceedings of The 3rd International Conference on Sustainable Buildings and Structures
EditorsKonstantinos Papadikis, Cheng Zhang, Shu Tang, Engui Liu, Luigi Di Sarno
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)97898199-9653
ISBN (Print)9789819979646, 9789819979677
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes
EventICSBS2023: the 3rd international conference on sustainable buildings and structures: towards a carbon neutral future - Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China
Duration: 18 Aug 202320 Aug 2023

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Civil Engineering
ISSN (Print)2366-2557
ISSN (Electronic)2366-2565


ConferenceICSBS2023: the 3rd international conference on sustainable buildings and structures
Internet address

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