The aim of this paper is to propose and demonstrate an approach for exploring diffusion barriers specific to innovative green building products. Innovative green building products aim at reducing environmental impacts during a product's entire life-cycle, helping mitigate the substantial environmental degradation caused by current construction patterns. Few studies establish attributes that differentiate such products within the construction market, a key facet to increasing adoption. For key stakeholders, product attributes can affect the rate of adoption and the nature of use. Toward that end, this work: 1) Collects attributes common to all innovative building products through literature review in residential construction innovation, diffusion and adoption attributes, and green products; 2) utilizes a survey of certified green home builders as a sample population and Structural Insulated Panels as a “control” product to identify which product attributes specifically influence the use of green building products; and 3) Evaluates the relative influence of attributes on product adoption during initial trial of the product and for continued use of the product. Identifying attributes of green building products that influence adoption could enhance product development through reducing barriers to diffusion and commercialization across the residential construction industry. This work focuses on one specific product, Structural Insulated Panel systems (SIPS), from the standpoint of a population of green builders. As such, it attempts to serve as a scalable basis for future research.

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Author notes


Assistant Professor, Department of Building Construction, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA. Email: [email protected] (corresponding author)


Assistant Professor, Department of Construction Management, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC USA. Email: [email protected] (corresponding author)


Associate Professor, Department of Building Construction, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA. Email: [email protected]