Cleaner Production Promotion Unit - Doctoral Theses

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    Project delivery configuration for satisficing building energy renovation activities
    (University College Cork, 2018) Dunphy, Niall P.; Menzel, Karsten; Cork University Foundation; Seventh Framework Programme
    The essence of this thesis is a transdisciplinary exploration of value within building energy renovation projects. How it is understood, from which activities it is derived, who is responsible for its creation, how it is distributed. The temporary multi-firm configurations that coalesce to deliver such renovations are central to the research. Adopting a life cycle perspective and selecting three primary measures of success – energy savings, avoided greenhouse gas emissions and financial return – the thesis examines how achieving these objectives can be incentivised. It looks at how project success (and increased renovation market capacity) can be encouraged through delivering adequate value, in whatever shape that may take, to key stakeholders in the value chain(s) associated with buildings and their renovation. This research required understanding of both construction activities, and the groups of entities that deliver energy renovations. This is achieved through the application of a transdisciplinary methodology that combines engineering and social scientific knowledge. In addition to knowledge about the construction activities, it requires the use of methodological understandings and approaches from the human and social sciences which are used to theorise, conceptualise, contextualise, and actualise the required research. This thesis posits that these groups are fundamentally social constructs, albeit guided by ‘rules’ in the form of contracts or governmental regulations. Acknowledging the social nature of the configurations, the research in the thesis draws on an anti-foundationalist ontology, and adopts a social-constructivist epistemology. Accordingly, in addition to significant review of the literature, qualitative data gathering and analysis techniques are used to understand the objectives of building energy renovation projects, the nature of the groups of stakeholders that deliver them, and the workings of the value chains within which the stakeholders operate. To understand construction and related functions involved with renovation projects, the lifecycle of a building was disaggregated to identify all the various activities which occur throughout a building’s life. These undertakings were then grouped into six phases of activity, which are labelled hubs of activity. This model was used to map stakeholders across the lifecycle of a building, this identification and characterisation facilitated an in-depth engagement with key stakeholders throughout the value chains that deliver building energy renovation. This engagement constituted face-to-face semi-structured interviews i.e., comprising open-ended questions which allow respondents to tell ‘their story’. The interviews were recorded and transcribed to form a valuable qualitative dataset. The interview transcripts were thematically analysed as a means of understanding stakeholder interactions, determining how key stakeholders define ‘value’ and to exploring ‘flows’ through the energy supply chain, including value, practices, norms and influences. The need to develop business models for building renovation which offer adequate value (i.e., satisfice) for stakeholders is recognised, as is the imperative that key stakeholders be incentivised to align their objectives with that of the energy renovation project. Simon (1955, 1956) coined the term ‘satisfice’, a combination of the words satisfy and suffice, for an alternative decision-making strategy that seeks to find an acceptable choice under a limited set of considered options. Findings from the interviews are presented with an exploration of the stakeholder relationships, power flows, drivers, conflicts, and potential synergies within building energy renovation projects. These findings are then discussed in the context of configuring project delivery of building energy renovation activities, such that the interests of all (important) stakeholders are satisficed and that they are appropriately incentivised to align their objectives with that of the project and in doing so deliver successful renovation projects.