Cities are suggested as being the key level for shifts towards more sustainable modes of production and consumption. The building sector with its significant carbon footprint plays an important role in urban climate change adaptation strategies. Using the case study of Brisbane (Australia), the paper examines the place-specific contextualisation of green building transitions by analysing the co-evolution and interplay of building practices, policy making and involved actors. Drawing on theoretical approaches of Transition Studies and Evolutionary Economic Geography, we trace back and analyse policy and economic trajectories focusing on formative and hindering processes. The paper discusses ambivalent pathways and 'regime resistance' caused by local economic and political specificities. The analysis illustrates how crucial the continual support from both policy makers and industry actors can be when economic market mechanisms do not drive sustainability transitions. Regime actors can play a powerful role as 'transition detractors' and can determine the dynamics and the scope of sustainability transitions.