Utopia for whom? Project and operational perspectives of energy efficient buidings
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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore project practice visions for energy efficient buildings within the definitive phased project approach, which is in contrast to the holistic perspective of sustainability as it disconnects from the operation of the building. In addition, there is examination of the discipline of facilities management as a potential integrative role for knowledge transfer in the project process in order to link energy efficiency goals to functionality and usability. Methodology: Case study approach of the energy reduction in a renovation of a care home in Norway. Discourse analysis on eight individual interviews and two focus group interviews with building owners, facilities managers, consultant engineers, an architect, residents and one staff member. Key findings: The definitive project phased approach enables disciplines to enact their own disciplinary driven utopian vision of energy efficiency projects, but they cannot see the impact of this perspective due to the phase and task orientation approach of the project process. Visions enacted in the project process to meet goals of energy efficiency can be in conflict to usability goals and the time limitations of the project reduces preparation for operation of the building. As a result, project participants return to fix unforeseen problems during the operational phase – leading to dystopia. Findings indicates that there needs to be presences of facilities management representation throughout the project process rather than just at the beginning. This will aid in reducing unforeseen problems and enable harmonious goals for attainable energy efficient targets and usable buildings in operation. Impact on either research, education or practice: The findings have implications on facility management practices in terms of needing to increase their integration in the project process. The work contributes to research in terms of highlighting what the limitations are of the time-oriented phased approach in project processes and the impact it has on operations. The study also has implications on study programs in facilities management in developing representation as part of the project process rather than in just the early stages (project definition) and the end stage of a project (handover).