Eun kyu Lee

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Studies and Public Affairs


Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs

First Advisor

Simons, Robert

Subject Headings

Urban Planning


In an effort to apply the sustainability movement to the built environment, sustainable construction has gained substantial strength and momentum in global society. A growing body of literature reveals the positive effects of sustainable, or green, buildings in terms of real estate market premiums, energy cost savings, employee productivity, and regional economic growth. In this context, my dissertation examines three research topics pertaining to sustainable buildings, and does so in three separate chapters.

The first study discusses the effect of lease structure on the tenant’s willingness to pay for energy-efficient building features, and compares the tenant’s stated willingness to pay with the revealed rental value of those building features. According to the statistical outputs from various regression models, the effect of Triple Net (NNN) lease on the tenant’s willingness to pay for energy-efficient building attributes is positive and statistically significant. Specifically, the NNN tenants were 1.6 times more likely to have greater than or equal to the 2 percent willingness to pay than the Full Service Gross (FSG) tenant group.

The second study examines the relationship between sustainable building features and employee productivity. The findings indicate that 58 percent of the tenant respondents recognize that a building’s environment influences their productivity. When it comes to individual features, the analysis reveals that those who are willing to pay more for better access to daylight, improved indoor air quality, individual temperature control, and green (non-toxic) cleaning are more likely to agree with the proposition that workplace environments increase productivity.

The third study finds an association between sustainable building projects and regional green economies. The statistical results from the panel data regression analysis support my initial idea that the diffusion of green construction projects is positively associated with a metro area’s economic performance in term of the number of green jobs. However, the magnitude of the impact is still minimal.

Although a growing body of literature has addressed various issues pertaining to green buildings, fewer studies have shed light on the role of green buildings in sustainable urban planning and development. In this regard, my dissertation addresses the topic of green buildings within the urban studies context, by incorporating socio-economic, demographic, and political factors that affect green building practices.