Realizing Sustainability in Facilities Management: a pilot study at the Technical University of Denmark

Susanne Balslev Nielsen, Jacob Steen Møller, Stefan Jäschke, Keith Alexander

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

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Purpose: The research project “Sustainability in Facilities Management” addresses the challenge of integrating sustainability in facilities management of existing facilities, to achieve measured improvement of environmental and social performance, to fulfil strategic responsibilities and create shared value. The paper presents a pilot case study on sustainability in facilities management and is intended for a mixed audience of practitioners and researchers. It draws upon the case study findings to establish a baseline of performance and presents practical management implications of integrating sustainability in facilities management (FM).
Design, methodology and approach: The approach uses an action-oriented research methodology as a means of co-generation of knowledge on realization of sustainability in FM. Case studies take a phased, multi-method approach including organizational profiling, stakeholder interviews, focus groups, usability evaluations and practice-research workshops. The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is the pilot case of an international collaboration, and more studies are planned to follow.
Findings: The paper presents a framework for qualitative research on Sustainable Facilities Management (SFM), which can guide future research on Sustainability in FM and increase comparability between case studies. The research identifies the challenges and opportunities for integrating ecological, social and economical sustainability in university FM. The paper presents the analysis and conclusions of the pilot case study in the period 2011-2012, including reflections of the case study framework and methodology.
Practical implications: FM can play an important role in the transition towards sustainable FM, and this paper presents the lessons learned in the pilot study with conclusions drawn from both practice and research. The lessons learned at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) are particularly relevant for universities and other public building owners, their Facilities Managers and consultants.
Research limitations and implications: The paper is based on literature studies, qualitative research and the preliminary analysis of a single, pilot case study of The Technical University of Denmark. Progress with the other complementary cases will be included in the presentation. The cases should be supplemented by more research on sustainable facilities management.
Originality and value: The paper is based on action research to establish a collaborative framework in late 2011 and the findings of the pilot study, and have not been published before.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th EuroFM Research Symposium
Publication date2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event11th EuroFM Research Symposium (EFMC 2012) - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 23 May 201224 May 2012


Conference11th EuroFM Research Symposium (EFMC 2012)


  • Action research
  • Environmental
  • Social and economical sustainability
  • Existing buildings


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