Examining indicators coverage in a sample of sustainable building assessment systems

Jamal Al-Qawasmi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This research examines the usage of indicators and the attributes of sustainability they measure in 11 renowned sustainable building (SB) assessment systems from various regions of the world.  The work develops and uses a “Comprehensive List of Sustainable Building Indicators (CLoSBI)” as a base-case to examine the indicators’ usage in different SB assessment systems and to what extent these systems are consistent in their coverage of sustainability attributes. The results reveal a deep variation between examined practices, and a lack of consensus not only on the type and the optimal number of indicators used in a system, but also on the depth and breadth of coverage of various SB attributes. The results shows that, in general, most of the examined systems reflect a low to adequate comprehensive coverage, the highest of which is found in the environmental followed by social categories. On the other hand, the most of the examined systems reveal a very low representative coverage, which suggests that a large portion of important SB attributes across the three core dimensions of sustainability are not covered by any indicator. The economic dimension of building's sustainability reflects severe lack of comprehensive and representative coverage in all examined systems. The results also suggest that deep coverage of some SB attributes comes, in many cases, at the cost of underrepresenting some other important sustainability attributes. Furthermore, the research results demonstrate the usefulness of using the coverage analysis framework as a structured and efficient approach to evaluate the appropriateness of a set of indicators to assess the various aspects of SB attributes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-120
Number of pages20
JournalArchitectural Engineering and Design Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 4 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the National Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation (MAARIFAH) – King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology – through the science and technology unit at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Award number (13-BUI2192-04).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • SB assessment systems
  • SB rating systems
  • Sustainable buildings
  • green buildings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Business, Management and Accounting (all)


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