Sustainability in facilities management: an overview of current research

Susanne Balslev Nielsen*, Anna Liisa Sarasoja, Kirsten Ramskov Galamba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Climate adaptation, energy efficiency, sustainable development and green growth are societal challenges for which the Facilities Management (FM) profession can develop solutions and make positive contributions on the organisational level and with societal-level effects. To base the emerging sub-discipline of sustainable facilities management (SFM) on research, an overview of current studies is needed. The purpose of this literature review is to provide exactly this overview. Design/methodology/approach: This article identifies and examines current research studies on SFM through a comprehensive and systematic literature review. The literature review included screening of 85 identified scientific journals and almost 20,000 articles from the period of 2007-2012. Of the articles reviewed, 151 were identified as key articles and categorised according to topic. Findings: The literature review indicated that the current research varies in focus, methodology and application of theory, and it was concluded that the current research primary addresses environmental sustainability, whereas the current research which takes an integrated strategic approach to SFM is limited. The article includes lists of reviewed journals and articles to support the further development of SFM in research and practice. Research limitations/implications: The literature review includes literature from 2007 to 2012, to manage the analytical process within the project period. However, with the current categorisation and the access to the reviewed journals and articles, it is possible to continue with the latest literature. Practical implications: The article provides an overview of theoretical and practical knowledge which can guide: how to document and measure the performance of building operations in terms of environmental, social and economical impacts? How to improve the sustainability performance of buildings? What are the potentials for and barriers to integrating sustainability into FM on strategic, tactical and operational levels? Originality/value: The paper presents the most comprehensive literature study on SFM so far, and represents an important knowledge basis which is likely to become a key reference point for pioneers and scholars in the emerging sub-discipline of SFM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-563
Number of pages29
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2016
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Integrated strategic FM
  • Literature review
  • Property management research
  • Qualitative research
  • Quantitative research
  • Sustainable buildings

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