Organisational background to environmental impacts - Field study on housing management in Gothenburg
Today, there is a rich variety of technical solutions for environmental improvements of buildings. Nevertheless, the environmental performance of for example residential buildings has not been changed since the 1980s. Management initiative is needed for the introduction of technical solutions for environmental improvements. Why are managerial actions lacking? Environmental research on environmental management systems (EMS) is not enough. There is a need for environmental research on general management.
This thesis is an environmental systems’ study on general management in housing management organisations. The question is whether or not organising processes have an influence on the environmental performance. The thesis consists of a theoretical (framework and model) and an empirical part (field study). In the theoretical part, a framework for conducting studies within the environmental assessment of organising (EAO) has been developed. Technology has been identified as a central relation between the organisational and environmental aspects. The environmental assessment tool Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was adapted to the field of housing management. Instead of one dimension (environment), the adapted LCA model implies three dimensions (environmental, organisational, time). The organisational part of the framework focuses on management of technology and organisational processes related to technology. In the empirical part, the adapted LCA model is tested in the form of a comparative study of two housing management organisations in the Gothenburg area, HSB and FAMBO, both with similar buildings, County Governor style apartment blocks. Sufficient for the research questions is the study of ’local‘ organisational processes and their relation to consumption data instead of LCA data. Time series over a 10-year period of consumption data (energy and water) were performed. Findings show that organisational differences between HSB and FAMBO lead to 25 - 30 %, occasionally even up to 50 % differences in energy and water use. The results indicate that HSB’s flexible planning and controlling can meet new demands on energy efficiency better than FAMBO’s rigid cycles.
It is concluded that organising processes have an influence on environment performance. ’Local‘ organisational processes of managing technical systems can explain environmental performance. Organisational aspects influencing environmental performance that were identified were focus of management, flexible maintenance plans, operational measures, as well as renovation.
VK-salen, Sven Hultinsgata 6, Chalmers tekniska högskola
Opponent: Dr Remke Bras-Klapwijk, STT, Den Haag, Holland