Drivers of technology adoption - the case of nanomaterials in building construction

Sanjay K. Arora, Rider W. Foley, Jan Youtie, Philip Shapira, Arnim Wiek

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    44 Scopus citations


    With the building and construction sector contributing significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions, there is great demand for resource- and energy-efficient construction materials. Manufactured nanotechnology products (MNPs) are expected to realize resource and energy efficiency through performance improvements in the strength, lightness and insulating properties of construction materials. However, the actual adoption of MNPs has lagged. This article examines how the construction sector in the United States assesses MNPs for adoption. Through patent analysis and interviews, we gauge the supply of MNPs and identify actors' roles in technology adoption. Results indicate that awareness of MNPs is more extensive than anticipated. Yet, MNP adoption is limited by a multi-component technology assessment process focused primarily on the technology's applicability to project-based outcomes. We conclude that barriers to MNP adoption can be overcome through intermediary activities such as product certification, comprehensive technology assessments, and "real-world" demonstrations.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)232-244
    Number of pages13
    JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
    StatePublished - Sep 2014


    • Adoption
    • Building construction
    • Diffusion
    • Nanomaterials
    • Nanotechnology

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Applied Psychology
    • Management of Technology and Innovation


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