Panel Paper: Business Interest Groups and Urban Building Energy Policies

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Building 3, Room 212 (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

J.C. Martel, University of Kansas

This study examines the power of interest groups in driving green and energy efficient building in cities as mechanisms to achieve their sustainability goals. It analyzes the effects of two types of organized interest groups – traditional construction industry representatives and ‘green’ business professionals - on policy processes. The unit of analysis is building energy codes, the policies that govern the energy efficiency and renewable energy component of the design and construction of buildings. Ordinal logistic regression is used to explain the probability of code stringency given differences in the presence of trade association members across cities while controlling for demographic, social, and political factors.
To date, sustainability research has examined policy activity in an aggregate fashion, grouping initiatives from multiple sectors together to better understand why some governments pursue sustainability, and others do not. While this provides valuable insight, as the field of inquiry grows, it is important to more deeply explore specific sectors to better understand decision-making. The actor groups that are responsible for many aspects of the policy processes are overlooked because they are sector-specific. This research adds a building block to sectoral research intended to be nested within broader sustainability research. Building codes in particular hold considerable promise for reducing GHG emissions, and yet, the politics and interest group mobilization is understudied.

Full Paper: