Chapter 14. The Triple Bottom Line Approach to Sustainable Buildings


Vinod Bijlani
Sustainability and Smart Cities Expert, Melbourne, Australia

Part of the book: Sustainable and Healthy Building Environments


Abda Three hundred years ago, only about 5% of the earth’s land was being used by humans; those numbers have close to doubled today (Montgomery, 2019). With urban areas comprising 3% of the earth’s surface (JRC, 2008) and only 0.6% of earth’s surface area artificially covered (FAO – GLC, 2014), it is alarming that buildings alone generate 38% (UNEP, 2020) of the total greenhouse gases (GHGs), the largest from any single sector globally. This has hastened the mandate to transform these concrete structures into sustainable green entities. Buildings that are responsible for high carbon emissions consume large amounts of energy and natural resources, adversely impacting the entire climate ecosystem. The Triple Bottom Line (3BL) approach to sustainability suitably adopted to the buildings industry can help cure the carbon catastrophe and make a shift towards long-term climate care. With the triple pillars of people, planet, and profitability at its core, the 3BL framework can help us reverse-engineer the concept of sustainability of buildings for better quality of life on a greener planet.

Keywords: people-planet-profits, ESG, Sustainable green buildings, Smart buildings, healthy occupants, employee wellbeing, return on investments, net zero, climate positivity


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