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Winston Churchill’s statement highlights the duality of the green building imperative. We all want to live and work in a healthy environment. However, to create healthy environments we must re-examine the principles from which buildings grow. This conference will explore the strategies, relationships, and opportunities inherent in green building, as a technological, industrial, institutional and cultural shift. Our goal is to discuss and encourage the advancement of organizational theories to understand the field and its impacts. 

The built environment creates substantial environmental and economic impacts. Buildings consume 40% of the world’s materials, 12% of all freshwater, 40% of the world’s energy and 71% of US electricity, produce 40% of US nonindustrial waste, and create 36% of the carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change. Simultaneously, buildings have a profound impact on human productivity and well-being. We spend more than 90% of our time in buildings, locales that contribute to organizational and employee identity, working arrangements, and quality of workspace. They also function as cultural artifacts imbued with meaning.

And yet, while buildings garner little attention in organizational research, the norms of practice are in flux. Deciding to build with either “green” or conventional techniques has become a requisite choice in new construction or the renovation of existing structures, particularly on college campuses. As a result, green building has become an emerging opportunity for rich scholarly study. Green building presents a fundamental challenge to centuries-long traditions and routines relied on by the design and construction industry. At the most basic level, architects, contractors, and clients create the minimum triumvirate of the temporary organziation from which our buildings emerge. Concerns for environmental sustainability alter the goals, skill sets and political arrangements within this process, thereby altering fundamental meaning associated with our built environment. In this conference, we intend explore a wide range of facets related to the relationship between green building and organizational scholarship.

The conference will be held May 20-22, 2010 and hosted by the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan www.erb.umich.edu in Ann Arbor. We are receptive to a wide range of research perspectives and methodologies. We also invite practitioners of the craft to join the discussion and help us hone and refine our research questions, design and conclusions. This event is open for registration regardless of whether you are submitting a paper for consideration.

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