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Sustainability Patterns and Tradeoffs through a Graphical Sustainability Index

Sustainable construction has been receiving growing attention around the world. However, the desire to chase sustainable rating systems often stems from a company’s competitive marketing edge and revenue boosting goals, which is reflected through the selection of easily applicable sustainability features at the least cost. This research addresses the question of whether sustainability is perceived as a marketing tool or a serious environmental commitment through developing a comprehensive graphical sustainability index that combines all criteria adopted in commonly used rating systems under four categories (social, economic, environmental, and practice) in a simplified graphical format. The developed index is used to assess some sustainable projects in the Lebanese market in order to identify its particular sustainability patterns and tradeoffs. Findings show that satisfying the practice, social and environmental pillars comes at the expense of the economic dimension, which affirms that the perception of higher costs associated with sustainable construction still prevails.

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