The environmental crisis is a certainty (Dunlap & Catton, 1994; IPCC, 2007; South Africa Property Review, 2009:15) and requires change within the objective reality of everyday social life (Spaargaren, 1998). In this regard Gidden’s (1984) structuration theory was chosen as a suitable theoretical framework for this study as it emphasises that social reality is continually (re)produced and structured in space and time by competent actors in their everyday practices (Giddens, 1984; Nonaka & Toyama, 2003). In applying the underlying assumptions of this theory, building occupants of so called As Built Green Star SA certified office buildings are viewed as agents that interact within an environment that includes systems of provisions (i.e. social structures such as a built environment that facilitates pro-environmental office practices).
Although the right infrastructure is in place (i.e. systems of provision), the levels of commitment that the building occupants of a green building exhibit towards adjusting their behaviour and practices in it will eventually determine the actual final reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and the long-term cost reductions that are associated with greener technologies.
Too often, consumers’ operational practices in their occupancy of green buildings are in direct contrast to the main purpose and objectives of environmental friendly behaviour (Frost Sullivan, 2010). In addition, a large portion of the South African population are simply struggling to satisfy their most basic needs with the result that an environmental ‘ethos’ or concern among the general public has not yet developed to an extent where environmental issues are viewed as a serious priority (Barker, Hill, Bowen & Evans, 2004). In this quantitative study the focus was on how the building occupant’s practices reflect appropriate environmental knowledge and accompanying practical and discursive consciousness to engage in pro-environmental practices (e.g. energy saving, water saving as well as the waste reduction and recycling behaviour) in As Built Green Star SA certified buildings. For these reasons a purposive non-probability sampling approach was used to recruit 201 As Built Green Star SA certified building occupants. A structured questionnaire was developed and data was collected by means of electronic and paper-based survey questionnaires.
Dissertation (MConsumer Science)--University of Pretoria, 2015.