Sustainability aspects and its relevance in purchasing decisions in the construction sector

Main Presenter: Alexandra Weniger 

Co-Authors: Pamela del Rosario Jana Backes Marzia Traverso

Session: Poster Session 1

The objective of this research is to determine the influence of sustainability-related aspects on consumer behavior using the example of the construction industry. Globally, there is growing concern about the state of the environment relating to climate change, with the construction industry making a significant contribution to resource and energy consumption.
A written online survey with 306 participants was used to determine the consumers’ understanding of the term sustainability and how they identify and measure the sustainability of a building product. A focus was placed on private individuals, who could potentially be facing a purchasing decision as consumers in the German construction industry. It was investigated whether consumers have an interest in buying sustainable building products and how relevant sustainability criteria are for consumers when making purchasing decisions. Attention was paid to the extent to which the respondents’ engagement with the issue of sustainability and their personal understanding of sustainability influences the ranking of criteria for a purchase decision.
The results show that there is an interest in using sustainable products in the construction sector. However, the problem arises that consumers do not have a holistic view of the concept of sustainability. The focus is clearly on the environmental aspects, and the social and economic aspects tending to be neglected. Despite a fundamental interest in sustainable products, it is evident that since private individuals as consumers of building products rarely make purchasing decisions in that sector, there are gaps in knowledge or insufficiently broad assessments in many areas. The use of sustainability certificates and labels could potentially help improve this issue. Indeed, it is the task of the entire construction industry to establish a system in which consumers can quickly and easily obtain understandable information about sustainable products.
It can be concluded that with their purchasing decisions, consumers have a great influence on sustainable development in the construction industry, but they need support from experts. Consumers alone are not in a position to drive sustainable development in the construction industry. Furthermore, consumers’ willingness to pay and interest in a sustainable construction industry must be addressed. In particular, a support system for simple and sustainable purchasing decisions must be created by the industry itself.

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