Slacks-based data envelopment analysis for eco-efficiency assessment in the Australian construction industry

Xiancun Hu, Chunlu Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Eco-efficiency as an important indicator for sustainability assessment can describe an integrated manner of economic growth, resource conservation and environmental protection. However, the current research could not correctly assess eco-efficiency and mostly utilize qualitative methods. This paper presents a new method called slacks-based Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to assess eco-efficiency based on directly and systematically dealing with the slacks of reducing resource consumption and minimizing environmental impacts, together with adding production value. Two DEA models are respectively, defined using inter-temporal and window benchmark techniques, so as to compare eco-efficiency results in temporal and spatial dimensions and then identify production benchmarks and gaps. Efficiency change and technological change, which are two driving forces for eco-efficiency change, are also investigated through a production-theoretical decomposition analysis. Data from the Australian construction industry from 1990 to 2013 are employed to specify the two DEA models. The research results illustrate that the construction industries in the Australian regions showed significant increases in eco-efficiency during the research period, but the gaps among them were increased due to the severe underperformance of technological change. This research primarily provides a innovative pathway for accurate eco-efficiency assessment and quantitative identification of reducing resource consumption, minimizing environmental impacts and adding production value. The developed research framework is generic and can assist worldwide construction projects, organizations and industries to measure, compare and assess eco-efficiency systematically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-706
Number of pages14
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


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