The demand for high performance 'green' or 'sustainable' buildings is becoming increasingly important in the retail industry. Large construction companies in this sector have started to show leadership by working with their customers and supply chains towards sustainability in both products and operations. However, it remains associated risks be minimised, in order to add value and differentiate the output of retail construction. This paper reviews the practice of sustainable buildings within the context of retail construction, and also explores how the UK mainstream retail sector is currently addressing the challenges of sustainable retail buildings. The arguments are informed by a combination of literature review, a desk study of sustainability strategies of large client organisations and construction companies, and a case study with a leading construction company in the UK. The results demonstrate that businesses can benefit from embracing a sustainable approach while they need to adapt their business models to the rapidly changing environment. A demand-driven sustainability agenda is called for in the UK retail sector. The results also provide the basis for an in-depth, longitudinal case study to develop a framework to optimize process, energy and carbon efficiency in retail construction using sustainable technology. Such a framework should provide a sustainable technology model for retail customers to realize the full benefits of sustainable buildings and also assist construction companies and their professional advisors deliver green buildings more efficiently in the future.

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School of Art, Design and Architecture