Sustainable development in the construction industry: The role of frugal innovation

Ebolor A, Agarwal N, Brem A (2022)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2022


Book Volume: 380

Article Number: 134922

DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.134922


The journey towards sustainable development is largely limited by practices in the construction industry, which is a significant generator of wastes and other anthropogenic emissions. It therefore follows that a transition to cleaner construction technologies and methods through the deployment of innovations that minimize the use of resources and anthropogenic pollutants such as greenhouse gasses (GHG), aerosols, carbon dioxide, sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, benzene, and other emissions which adversely affect humans and impact the environment will foster the sustainable development goals. To sustainably develop, it is imperative for the construction industry as a hub of economic development to look inwards for solutions that are frugal, pragmatic, and inclusive. The tools for understanding the phenomena investigated are derived from the theories of frugal innovation, sustainable construction, and appropriate technology. The case of Hydraform was studied to understand how it contributes to sustainable development. Semi-structured interviews with industry experts and stakeholders provide qualitative insights into the phenomena investigated. The findings indicate that frugal innovation (FI) in the construction industry is shaped by large institutional players such as state governments, and non-profit organizations (NGOs), while a segment of the target user-groups interpret the innovation as lower-class status artifacts. Specifically, this study contributes to an understanding of how locally-engineered technology can foster development in the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) economies. Practitioners also gain through knowledge of the diffusion inhibitors, and how to navigate the diffusion barriers.

Authors with CRIS profile

Involved external institutions

How to cite


Ebolor, A., Agarwal, N., & Brem, A. (2022). Sustainable development in the construction industry: The role of frugal innovation. Journal of Cleaner Production, 380.


Ebolor, Alexander, Nivedita Agarwal, and Alexander Brem. "Sustainable development in the construction industry: The role of frugal innovation." Journal of Cleaner Production 380 (2022).

BibTeX: Download