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Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 10 (October 2015), Pages 12974-14426

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Open AccessArticle The Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Power Generation from Lignocellulosic Biomass
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 12974-12987; doi:10.3390/su71012974
Received: 5 August 2015 / Revised: 8 September 2015 / Accepted: 17 September 2015 / Published: 24 September 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (709 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order to solve the energy crisis and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), renewable energy resources are exploited for power generation. Because lignocellulosic biomass resources are abundant and renewable, various technologies are applied to using lignocellulosic biomass to derive biofuel and electricity.
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In order to solve the energy crisis and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), renewable energy resources are exploited for power generation. Because lignocellulosic biomass resources are abundant and renewable, various technologies are applied to using lignocellulosic biomass to derive biofuel and electricity. This paper focuses on power generation from lignocellulosic biomass and comparison of the effects of different feedstocks, transportation, and power generation technologies evaluated through life cycle assessment (LCA). The inputs and boundaries of LCA vary with different feedstocks, such as forestry wood, agricultural residues, and fast-growing grass. For agricultural residues and fast-growing grass, the transportation cost from field to power plant is more critical. Three technologies for power generation are analyzed both with and without pelletization of lignocellulosic biomass. The GHG emissions also vary with different feedstocks and depend on burning technologies at different plant scales. The daily criteria pollutant emissions of power generation from different lignocellulosic biomass were evaluated with a life cycle assessment model of GREET.net 2014. It is concluded that bio-power generation is critical with the urgency of greenhouse effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Mapping Thermal Energy Resource Potentials from Wastewater Treatment Plants
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 12988-13010; doi:10.3390/su71012988
Received: 31 May 2015 / Revised: 7 September 2015 / Accepted: 17 September 2015 / Published: 24 September 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2659 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Wastewater heat recovery via heat exchangers and heat pumps constitutes an environmentally friendly, approved and economically competitive, but often underestimated technology. By introducing the spatial dimension in feasibility studies, the results of calculations change considerably. This paper presents a methodology to estimate thermal
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Wastewater heat recovery via heat exchangers and heat pumps constitutes an environmentally friendly, approved and economically competitive, but often underestimated technology. By introducing the spatial dimension in feasibility studies, the results of calculations change considerably. This paper presents a methodology to estimate thermal energy resource potentials of wastewater treatment plants taking spatial contexts into account. In close proximity to settlement areas, wastewater energy can ideally be applied for heating in mixed-function areas, which very likely have a continuous heat demand and allow for an increased amount of full-load hours compared to most single-use areas. For the Austrian case, it is demonstrated that the proposed methodology leads to feasible results and that the suggested technology might reduce up to 17% of the Austrian global warming potential of room heating. The method is transferrable to other countries as the input data and calculation formula are made available. A broad application of wastewater energy with regard to spatial structures and spatial development potentials can lead to (1) increasing energy efficiency by using a maximum of waste heat and (2) a significant reduction of (fossil) energy consumption which results in a considerable reduction of the global warming potential of the heat supply (GWP) if electricity from renewables is used for the operation of heat pumps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Developing Planning Measures to Preserve Farmland: A Case Study from China
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13011-13028; doi:10.3390/su71013011
Received: 15 August 2015 / Revised: 12 September 2015 / Accepted: 14 September 2015 / Published: 24 September 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (5716 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Farmland preservation is a national issue in modern China. Most studies have focused on farmland preservation policies in the agricultural, commercial and financial industries but have devoted relatively little attention to land use planning. Land use planning is crucial for farmland preservation. This
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Farmland preservation is a national issue in modern China. Most studies have focused on farmland preservation policies in the agricultural, commercial and financial industries but have devoted relatively little attention to land use planning. Land use planning is crucial for farmland preservation. This paper selected Dachang County, a typical rural county bordering Beijing, as the study area and reviews previous management policies, analyzes changes in farmland management and the socio-economic background over the past ten years. Next, this study presents land use planning decisions regarding farmland preservation measures. These measures included the establishment of farmland preservation zones and the creation of construction expansion zones and land consolidation zones. All of the findings would be useful for researchers as a reference for the study of land resource management and planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Urban External Service Function Development for Building the International Megalopolis in the Pearl River Delta, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13029-13054; doi:10.3390/su71013029
Received: 24 July 2015 / Revised: 17 September 2015 / Accepted: 18 September 2015 / Published: 24 September 2015
PDF Full-text (3540 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This study is about the urban economic service function characteristics and the regional economic contact from the perspectives of region and industries. This paper analyzes the location quotient (LQ), urban external function capability (UEFC), and the characteristics and distribution of urban economic flow
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This study is about the urban economic service function characteristics and the regional economic contact from the perspectives of region and industries. This paper analyzes the location quotient (LQ), urban external function capability (UEFC), and the characteristics and distribution of urban economic flow intensity (UEFI) of cities in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region of Guangdong Province, China. Results show: (1) the proportion of the UEFI of Guangzhou and Shenzhen in the PRD region decreased while the one of Foshan and Dongguan increased from 2005 to 2013; (2) the UEFI of Foshan gained the largest increase (532%) and Zhuhai showed the smallest increase (76%) from 2005 to 2013; (3) LQs of manufacturing in all cities were greater than one, indicating the overall external service capability of this sector was strong in the PRD region; (4) the numbers of cities whose LQs of tertiary sectors were greater than one reduced from 2005 to 2013, reflecting the urban external service capabilities of the tertiary sectors tended to be concentrated to fewer cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Assessing the Atmospheric Oxygen Balance in a Region of Rapid Urbanization: A Case Study in the Pearl River Delta, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13055-13072; doi:10.3390/su71013055
Received: 25 June 2015 / Revised: 17 September 2015 / Accepted: 17 September 2015 / Published: 24 September 2015
PDF Full-text (1451 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Oxygen is a product of photosynthesis and is essential for human survival. It also has a profound effect on ecosystems as the atmospheric oxygen balance is the basis for regional ecological sustainability. The Pearl River Delta (PRD) has experienced rapid urbanization and has
[...] Read more.
Oxygen is a product of photosynthesis and is essential for human survival. It also has a profound effect on ecosystems as the atmospheric oxygen balance is the basis for regional ecological sustainability. The Pearl River Delta (PRD) has experienced rapid urbanization and has become one of China’s three major urban agglomerations. This study focused on the oxygen balance of the PRD in 2011, and established a model to calculate the oxygen balance that was suitable for a region of rapid urbanization by applying remote sensing gross primary production data via the C-Fix model. The influencing factors for the oxygen imbalance were analyzed and it was suggested that more attention be paid to the management of oxygen emissions than oxygen consumption. The results indicated that the oxygen balance capacity of the PRD was weak, with an oxygen consumption 9.37 times that of its oxygen emission. Zhaoqing and Huizhou are the main sources of oxygen in the PRD, with an oxygen emission density more than 4.67 times that of Dongguan or Zhuhai. Guangzhou and Shenzhen are the main oxygen sinks, with a total oxygen consumption more than 5.49 times that of Zhaoqing. Moreover, the oxygen balance of the PRD is more sensitive to oxygen emissions than consumption. Therefore, it could be inferred that the land urbanization has a stronger influence on the oxygen balance than the population urbanization. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Ecological Vulnerability under Oil Spill Stress
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13073-13084; doi:10.3390/su71013073
Received: 16 July 2015 / Revised: 19 August 2015 / Accepted: 31 August 2015 / Published: 24 September 2015
PDF Full-text (1452 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Using the constituent elements of vulnerability, an evaluation index system for the ecological vulnerability of coastal areas under oil spill stress is established based on “Sensitivity–Adaptive Capacity-Exposure”. After selecting a gulf in China as the main case study in this work, the cluster
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Using the constituent elements of vulnerability, an evaluation index system for the ecological vulnerability of coastal areas under oil spill stress is established based on “Sensitivity–Adaptive Capacity-Exposure”. After selecting a gulf in China as the main case study in this work, the cluster analysis and reference method were applied in grading and value assigning for all indexes. In addition, the analytic hierarchy process and expert evaluation method were used to determine the index weighting. Finally, a comprehensive evaluation method was adopted in the evaluation studies on the ecological vulnerability of the gulf coastal zone under oil spill stress. Results show the differences between the gulf area and areas that belong to different ecologically-vulnerable areas under oil spill stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Informatics in Resource Management & Sustainable Ecosystem)
Open AccessArticle A Mathematical Programming Approach to the Optimal Sustainable Product Mix for the Process Industry
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13085-13103; doi:10.3390/su71013085
Received: 1 July 2015 / Revised: 16 September 2015 / Accepted: 18 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1020 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The increasing concerns about the environment and the depletion of natural resources are the main drivers for the growing interest in sustainability. Manufacturing operations are frequently considered to have an adverse effect on the environment. Hence, the sustainable operation of manufacturing facilities is
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The increasing concerns about the environment and the depletion of natural resources are the main drivers for the growing interest in sustainability. Manufacturing operations are frequently considered to have an adverse effect on the environment. Hence, the sustainable operation of manufacturing facilities is a vital practice to ensure sustainability. The aim of this paper is to find the optimum product mix of a manufacturing facility to maximize its sustainability. A mixed integer non-linear programming model is developed to specify the product mix in order to maximize a proposed sustainability index (SI) of a manufacturing facility. The sustainability index comprises the economic, environmental and social pillars of sustainability in a weighted form using the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). The model results allow the identification of the prospective improvements of manufacturing sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitive and Sustainable Manufacturing in the Age of Globalization)
Open AccessArticle Natural and Artificial Methods for Regeneration of Heat Resources for Borehole Heat Exchangers to Enhance the Sustainability of Underground Thermal Storages: A Review
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13104-13125; doi:10.3390/su71013104
Received: 22 June 2015 / Revised: 11 September 2015 / Accepted: 18 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1969 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The concept of borehole heat exchanger (BHE) field exploitation is described, along with problems regarding the sustainability of heat resources in rock masses. A BHE field sometimes has problems with the stability of the heat carrier temperature during long-term exploitation. The main reason
[...] Read more.
The concept of borehole heat exchanger (BHE) field exploitation is described, along with problems regarding the sustainability of heat resources in rock masses. A BHE field sometimes has problems with the stability of the heat carrier temperature during long-term exploitation. The main reason for this is an insufficient heat stream with which to transfer heat by conduction in rock. Possibilities for the regeneration of heat in rock masses, based on experiences at the Geoenergetics Laboratory (Drilling, Oil and Gas Faculty, AGH University of Science and Technology), are described. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Network Analysis Model for Selecting Sustainable Technology
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13126-13141; doi:10.3390/su71013126
Received: 29 June 2015 / Revised: 20 September 2015 / Accepted: 21 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (977 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Most companies develop technologies to improve their competitiveness in the marketplace. Typically, they then patent these technologies around the world in order to protect their intellectual property. Other companies may use patented technologies to develop new products, but must pay royalties to the
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Most companies develop technologies to improve their competitiveness in the marketplace. Typically, they then patent these technologies around the world in order to protect their intellectual property. Other companies may use patented technologies to develop new products, but must pay royalties to the patent holders or owners. Should they fail to do so, this can result in legal disputes in the form of patent infringement actions between companies. To avoid such situations, companies attempt to research and develop necessary technologies before their competitors do so. An important part of this process is analyzing existing patent documents in order to identify emerging technologies. In such analyses, extracting sustainable technology from patent data is important, because sustainable technology drives technological competition among companies and, thus, the development of new technologies. In addition, selecting sustainable technologies makes it possible to plan their R&D (research and development) efficiently. In this study, we propose a network model that can be used to select the sustainable technology from patent documents, based on the centrality and degree of a social network analysis. To verify the performance of the proposed model, we carry out a case study using actual patent data from patent databases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle How Much Will I Pay for Freeway Real-Time Traffic Information?
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13142-13153; doi:10.3390/su71013142
Received: 10 July 2015 / Revised: 21 September 2015 / Accepted: 22 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
PDF Full-text (733 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although there is research focused on real-time traffic information, in terms of types of information, timing of provision and drivers’ acceptance, not much is related to quantifying real-time traffic information and its perceived value, i.e., amount of information and willingness to pay
[...] Read more.
Although there is research focused on real-time traffic information, in terms of types of information, timing of provision and drivers’ acceptance, not much is related to quantifying real-time traffic information and its perceived value, i.e., amount of information and willingness to pay (WTP) for that information. In this study, freeway drivers’ preferred types of real-time traffic information and their willingness to pay for them are investigated. Due to traffic information having the property of non-market goods, a contingent valuation method is applied. A computer-aided survey was conducted in rest areas along freeways to obtain the samples needed. A Spike model is used to overcome the serious biases that would otherwise be caused by numerous zero WTPs in samples when logit and probit models are used. Finally, freeway drivers’ WTP for different types of real-time traffic information can be obtained from the estimation results. The results may be of importance in pricing different types of traffic information more realistically in the future. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Study on the Estimation Method of Risk Based Area for Jetty Safety Monitoring
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13154-13168; doi:10.3390/su71013154
Received: 13 August 2015 / Revised: 21 September 2015 / Accepted: 22 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2663 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recently, the importance of safety-monitoring systems was highlighted by the unprecedented collision between a ship and a jetty in Yeosu. Accordingly, in this study, we introduce the concept of risk based area and develop a methodology for a jetty safety-monitoring system. By calculating
[...] Read more.
Recently, the importance of safety-monitoring systems was highlighted by the unprecedented collision between a ship and a jetty in Yeosu. Accordingly, in this study, we introduce the concept of risk based area and develop a methodology for a jetty safety-monitoring system. By calculating the risk based areas for a ship and a jetty, the risk of collision was evaluated. To calculate the risk based areas, we employed an automatic identification system for the ship, stopping-distance equations, and the regulation velocity near the jetty. In this paper, we suggest a risk calculation method for jetty safety monitoring that can determine the collision probability in real time and predict collisions using the amount of overlap between the two calculated risk based areas. A test was conducted at a jetty control center at GS Caltex, and the effectiveness of the proposed risk calculation method was verified. The method is currently applied to the jetty-monitoring system at GS Caltex in Yeosu for the prevention of collisions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Various Retrofitting Concepts of Building Envelope for Offices Equipped with Large Radiant Ceiling Panels by Dynamic Simulations
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13169-13191; doi:10.3390/su71013169
Received: 31 July 2015 / Revised: 9 September 2015 / Accepted: 18 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4069 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order to achieve significant savings in energy and an improved level of thermal comfort in retrofitted existing buildings, specific retrofitting concepts that combine new technologies and design need to be developed and implemented. Large radiant surfaces systems are now among the most
[...] Read more.
In order to achieve significant savings in energy and an improved level of thermal comfort in retrofitted existing buildings, specific retrofitting concepts that combine new technologies and design need to be developed and implemented. Large radiant surfaces systems are now among the most promising future technologies to be used both in retrofitted and in new low-energy buildings. These kinds of systems have been the topic of several studies dealing with thermal comfort and energy utilization, but some specific issues concerning their possible use in various concepts for retrofitting are still poorly understood. In the present paper, some results of dynamic simulations, with the transient system simulation tool (TRNSYS) model, of the retrofitted offices equipped with radiant ceiling panels are presented and thoroughly analysed. Based on a precise comparison of the results of these simulations with actual measurements in the offices, certain input data for the model were added, so that the model was consequently validated. The model was then applied to the evaluation of various concepts of building envelopes for office retrofitting. By means of dynamic simulations of indoor environment it was possible to determine the benefits and limitations of individual retrofitting concepts. Some specific parameters, which are relevant to these concepts, were also identified. Full article
Open AccessArticle Declining Energy Intensity in the U.S. Agricultural Sector: Implications for Factor Substitution and Technological Change
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13192-13205; doi:10.3390/su71013192
Received: 7 August 2015 / Revised: 10 September 2015 / Accepted: 23 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (331 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examines factor substitution and energy intensity in the U.S. agricultural sector. Not only does this study focus on the substitution possibilities between energy and non-energy factors, but it also attempts to identify the factors that determine energy intensity. For the empirical
[...] Read more.
This study examines factor substitution and energy intensity in the U.S. agricultural sector. Not only does this study focus on the substitution possibilities between energy and non-energy factors, but it also attempts to identify the factors that determine energy intensity. For the empirical analysis, a system of share equations for capital, energy and labor is estimated to calculate the price elasticities of factor demand. The findings reveal that energy demand is more elastic than the demand for capital and labor, and factor substitution possibilities exist across farm production regions. Moreover, the growth rate of energy intensity is decomposed into various driving forces, such as changes in budget, factor substitution, output and technology. The findings show that the budget and output effects are the major driving forces behind the reduced energy intensity, while there are few factor substitutions and technological improvements to reduce energy intensity in the U.S. agricultural sector. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Evaluation of Water Footprints and Sustainable Water Utilization in Beijing
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13206-13221; doi:10.3390/su71013206
Received: 5 June 2015 / Revised: 24 August 2015 / Accepted: 22 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (826 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The water footprint approach is superior to the traditional approaches applied in water management. The water footprint can be regarded as a comprehensive indicator of freshwater resources appropriation, next to the traditional and restricted measure of water withdrawal. This study took the megacity
[...] Read more.
The water footprint approach is superior to the traditional approaches applied in water management. The water footprint can be regarded as a comprehensive indicator of freshwater resources appropriation, next to the traditional and restricted measure of water withdrawal. This study took the megacity of Beijing in North China as a case study to evaluate the sustainability of water utilization by calculating the water footprint in 2007 and 2010, based on real and virtual water consumption. The results show that the water footprint of the inhabitants of Beijing is decreasing, while the degree of water import dependency is increasing. Although the pressure of water scarcity in Beijing was slightly alleviated, the current situation of water shortage remains an enormous challenge, as the water footprint per capita is nearly 10 times higher than the water resources available. Therefore, water utilization in Beijing remains unsustainable. The improvement of water resources utilization efficiency, that encompasses water saving, is proposed as a key measure in the mitigation of water shortage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprints and Sustainable Water Allocation)
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Open AccessArticle Development of Benchmarks for Operating Costs and Resources Consumption to be Used in Healthcare Building Sustainability Assessment Methods
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13222-13248; doi:10.3390/su71013222
Received: 28 July 2015 / Revised: 16 September 2015 / Accepted: 17 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2962 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the last decade of the twentieth century, the healthcare industry is paying attention to the environmental impact of their buildings and therefore new regulations, policy goals, and Building Sustainability Assessment (HBSA) methods are being developed and implemented. At the present, healthcare is
[...] Read more.
Since the last decade of the twentieth century, the healthcare industry is paying attention to the environmental impact of their buildings and therefore new regulations, policy goals, and Building Sustainability Assessment (HBSA) methods are being developed and implemented. At the present, healthcare is one of the most regulated industries and it is also one of the largest consumers of energy per net floor area. To assess the sustainability of healthcare buildings it is necessary to establish a set of benchmarks related with their life-cycle performance. They are both essential to rate the sustainability of a project and to support designers and other stakeholders in the process of designing and operating a sustainable building, by allowing the comparison to be made between a project and the conventional and best market practices. This research is focused on the methodology to set the benchmarks for resources consumption, waste production, operation costs and potential environmental impacts related to the operational phase of healthcare buildings. It aims at contributing to the reduction of the subjectivity found in the definition of the benchmarks used in Building Sustainability Assessment (BSA) methods, and it is applied in the Portuguese context. These benchmarks will be used in the development of a Portuguese HBSA method. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Method for Development of Ecomuseums in Taiwan
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13249-13269; doi:10.3390/su71013249
Received: 31 July 2015 / Revised: 5 September 2015 / Accepted: 22 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3557 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
One component of the new museology is the ecomuseum, which is intended to preserve cultural/natural heritage and the local landscape in situ, and involves community participation and needs associated with community development. Since the ecomuseum concept originated in Western Europe, ecomuseums must
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One component of the new museology is the ecomuseum, which is intended to preserve cultural/natural heritage and the local landscape in situ, and involves community participation and needs associated with community development. Since the ecomuseum concept originated in Western Europe, ecomuseums must be adapted or localized to various socio-economic environments. In the 2000s, two mining ecomuseums were established in New Taipei City—the Gold Museum and the Houtong Coal Mine Ecological Park. In the early 2010s, two more ecomuseums were established—the Daxi Wood Art Ecomuseum and the Togo Art Museum. More than the mining ecomuseums, the Daxi Wood Art Ecomuseum emphasized community participation and the vision of the Togo Art Museum was led by the community. Based on an analysis of the Houtong Coal Mine Ecological Park, the Daxi Wood Art Ecomuseum and the Togo Art Museum, this study elucidates the various mechanisms of the development of ecomuseums in Taiwan. Ecomuseums should be interconnected with the community and the environment. The three major functions of ecomuseums (community participation, local development, and in-situ preservation) can promote sustainable development. This study uses the “creativity triangle” concept with a three-year cycle of development as an analytical tool. The concept was modified to include three stages of development, which are “estimation”, “preparation”, and “operation”; six steps and 11 tasks are proposed. Despite the unique circumstances of each ecomuseum, this study provides an overview of the development processes and provides a basis for making recommendations for establishing other ecomuseums in Taiwan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecotourism and Sustainability Strategy)
Open AccessArticle Willingness to Pay and Public Acceptance for Hydrogen Buses: A Case Study of Perugia
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13270-13289; doi:10.3390/su71013270
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 11 September 2015 / Accepted: 24 September 2015 / Published: 28 September 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (736 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability transportation is characterized by a positive externality on the environment, health, social security, land use and social inclusion. The increasing interest in global warming has caused attention to be paid to the introduction of the hydrogen bus (H2B). When introducing new environmental
[...] Read more.
Sustainability transportation is characterized by a positive externality on the environment, health, social security, land use and social inclusion. The increasing interest in global warming has caused attention to be paid to the introduction of the hydrogen bus (H2B). When introducing new environmental technologies, such as H2B, it is often necessary to assess the environmental benefits related to this new technology. However, such benefits are typically non-priced due to their public good nature. Therefore, we have to address this problem using the contingent valuation (CV) method. This method has been developed within environmental economics as a means to economically assess environmental changes, which are typically not traded in the market. So far, several big cities have been analyzed to evaluate the perceived benefit related to H2B introduction, but to the best of our knowledge, no one has performed a CV analysis of a historical city where smog also damages historical buildings. This paper presents the results obtained using a multi-wave survey. We have investigated user preferences to elicit their willingness to pay for H2B introduction in Perugia, taking into account all types of negative externalities due to the traffic pollution. The results confirm that residents in Perugia are willing to pay extra to support the introduction of H2B. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Cities and the Contribution of Historical Urban Green Spaces: A Case Study of Historical Persian Gardens
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13290-13316; doi:10.3390/su71013290
Received: 21 July 2015 / Revised: 1 September 2015 / Accepted: 3 September 2015 / Published: 29 September 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2421 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Growing populations and rapid worldwide urbanization are recognized as constituting one of the most complex processes in the world and have raised concerns about the sustainability of cities. Sustainable development, a widely accepted strategic framework in city planning, singles out urban green spaces
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Growing populations and rapid worldwide urbanization are recognized as constituting one of the most complex processes in the world and have raised concerns about the sustainability of cities. Sustainable development, a widely accepted strategic framework in city planning, singles out urban green spaces as a primary solution for addressing these issues. Growing empirical evidences indicate that the presence of natural areas contributes to a better quality of life in many ways. Urban green spaces serve as places of identity, memory, and belonging; enrich human life with meaning and emotions by providing important social and psychological benefits; and enhance the quality of life of citizens, which is a key component of sustainability. Despite our understanding of the benefits of urban green spaces, little is known about the benefits of historical urban green spaces. To highlight their importance with regard to environmental sustainability and citizens’ well-being, this study analyzes a number of historical Persian gardens that are still actively used by urban residents. The findings suggest that historical Persian gardens could accommodate many social functions and address many of the psychological issues relating to urban dwelling. It has been generally acknowledged that sense of community and place attachment is pivotal to creating sustainable urban environments. Historical gardens as physical components can cohesively weave together many parts of cities of any cities while providing places for public congregation as well as attracting a variety of local economic activities. All these attributes can make historical Persian gardens as a valuable municipal resource and a key ingredient for city’s living sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainability of Culture and Heritage)
Open AccessArticle Stabilization of Organic Matter by Biochar Application in Compost-amended Soils with Contrasting pH Values and Textures
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13317-13333; doi:10.3390/su71013317
Received: 17 August 2015 / Revised: 18 September 2015 / Accepted: 24 September 2015 / Published: 29 September 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1687 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Food demand and soil sustainability have become urgent concerns because of the impacts of global climate change. In subtropical and tropical regions, practical management that stabilizes and prevents organic fertilizers from rapid decomposition in soils is necessary. This study conducted a short-term (70
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Food demand and soil sustainability have become urgent concerns because of the impacts of global climate change. In subtropical and tropical regions, practical management that stabilizes and prevents organic fertilizers from rapid decomposition in soils is necessary. This study conducted a short-term (70 days) incubation experiment to assess the effects of biochar application on the decomposition of added bagasse compost in three rural soils with different pH values and textures. Two rice hull biochars, produced through slow pyrolization at 400 °C (RHB-400) and 700 °C (RHB-700), with application rates of 1%, 2%, and 4% (w/w), were separately incorporated into soils with and without compost (1% (w/w) application rate). Experimental results indicated that C mineralization rapidly increased at the beginning in all treatments, particularly in those involving 2% and 4% biochar. The biochar addition increased C mineralization by 7.9%–48% in the compost-amended soils after 70 days incubation while the fractions of mineralized C to applied C significantly decreased. Moreover, the estimated maximum of C mineralization amount in soils treated with both compost and biochar were obviously lower than expectation calculated by a double exponential model (two pool model). Based on the micromorphological observation, added compost was wrapped in the soil aggregates formed after biochar application and then may be protected from decomposing by microbes. Co-application of compost with biochar may be more efficient to stabilize and sequester C than individual application into the studied soils, especially for the biochar produced at high pyrolization temperature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Water Infrastructure Asset Management: A Gap Analysis of Customer and Service Provider Perspectives
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13334-13350; doi:10.3390/su71013334
Received: 5 June 2015 / Revised: 24 September 2015 / Accepted: 24 September 2015 / Published: 29 September 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2007 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The ultimate goal of urban water infrastructure asset management may be sustainable water supply with satisfaction for customers. In this work, we attempted to evaluate the gaps between the perspectives of customers and service providers in Korea’s water infrastructure asset management. To evaluate
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The ultimate goal of urban water infrastructure asset management may be sustainable water supply with satisfaction for customers. In this work, we attempted to evaluate the gaps between the perspectives of customers and service providers in Korea’s water infrastructure asset management. To evaluate the customers’ perspective, a hierarchical questionnaire survey was conducted to estimate the weights of influence for six customer values and their attributes on Korean water utility management. To evaluate the service providers’ perspective, an AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process) analysis was performed to estimate the weights of influence for the customer values and their PIs (performance indicators). The gap analysis results show that customers place higher value on customer service satisfaction (emotion and information) than do the service providers (managers), whereas the managers place more value on affordability than do the customers. The findings from this work imply that improving customer service is effective in satisfying the desirable water LOS (level of service) for customers. Recommendations have also been provided for administrators and engineers to develop integrated decision-making systems that can reflect customer needs regarding the improvement of their water infrastructure asset management. The findings from this work may be helpful for the Korean government and water supply utilities in improving the sustainability of their water infrastructure asset management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle LEED Credit Review System and Optimization Model for Pursuing LEED Certification
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13351-13377; doi:10.3390/su71013351
Received: 25 August 2015 / Revised: 22 September 2015 / Accepted: 24 September 2015 / Published: 29 September 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (6178 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Incorporating sustainability in construction can result in desirable building attributes and project life cycle. The Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design (LEED®) Rating System helps project teams make the right green building decisions for their projects through a process. However, in
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Incorporating sustainability in construction can result in desirable building attributes and project life cycle. The Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design (LEED®) Rating System helps project teams make the right green building decisions for their projects through a process. However, in current practice, project teams do not have a systematic procedure or tool for choosing the LEED credits appropriate for a particular project. The researchers have developed a tool, which support the LEED integrative process during a charrette, and developed an optimization model that can be utilized to assist project teams determine which credits to pursue for LEED certification, taking into account potential benefits associated with any LEED credit. The tool enables owners to incorporate sustainability in construction by helping the project teams make the right green building decisions for their projects through an integrated procedure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
Open AccessArticle Quantitative Analysis of Urban Pluvial Flood Alleviation by Open Surface Water Systems in New Towns: Comparing Almere and Tianjin Eco-City
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13378-13398; doi:10.3390/su71013378
Received: 5 July 2015 / Revised: 13 September 2015 / Accepted: 22 September 2015 / Published: 29 September 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4423 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increased surface runoff generated in urban areas due to larger proportion of impervious surfaces has, in many cases, exceeded the capacity of urban drainage systems. In response to such challenge, this paper introduces the quantitative analysis of pluvial flood alleviation by open surface
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Increased surface runoff generated in urban areas due to larger proportion of impervious surfaces has, in many cases, exceeded the capacity of urban drainage systems. In response to such challenge, this paper introduces the quantitative analysis of pluvial flood alleviation by open surface water systems in the case of Almere in the Netherlands and compares it with Tianjin Eco-City in China, with the aim of optimizing land use planning and urban design for new urban districts. The methodology is a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis. With the analytical tool of ArcGIS, the authors have investigated the influence of spatial distribution of surface water system on the reduction of pluvial flood risks. The conclusions include some preliminary principles: (1) a densely distributed surface water network is preferable; (2) areas farther away from water body require water sensitive spatial intervention; and (3) optimizing the allocation of different types of ground surface could contribute to pluvial flood alleviation. An alternative design proposal for a typical urban block in Tianjin Eco-City has been put forward to illustrate these principles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards True Smart and Green Cities?)
Open AccessArticle Decision Making on Allocating Urban Green Spaces Based upon Spatially-Varying Relationships between Urban Green Spaces and Urban Compaction Degree
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13399-13415; doi:10.3390/su71013399
Received: 10 August 2015 / Revised: 26 September 2015 / Accepted: 28 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2836 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The compact city is becoming a prevailing paradigm in the world to control urban sprawl and achieve a pattern of sustainable urban development. However, discussions of the area's overcrowded neighborhoods, its health problems, and the destruction of its green areas have inspired self-examination
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The compact city is becoming a prevailing paradigm in the world to control urban sprawl and achieve a pattern of sustainable urban development. However, discussions of the area's overcrowded neighborhoods, its health problems, and the destruction of its green areas have inspired self-examination with respect to the compact city paradigm. High population density attracts even more residents and frequently renders the existing urban green space (UGS) insufficient for use as part of a living environment. Due to the unique benefits that these qualities confer, UGS allocation is now considered a significant contributing factor to urban livability. In addition, the UGS allocation may be different due to the presence of many spatial non-stationarity processes. Therefore, this study employs geographically-weighted regression (GWR) to explore the unique and spatially-explicit relationships between the degree of urban compaction and UGS within the Taipei metropolitan area. Maps summarizing the GWR results demonstrate that there is significantly insufficient UGS allocation in the central area, which consists mainly of Taipei City. Townships with higher parameters contain UGS levels that better meet the needs of their residents. Overall, the exploration of conceptualizing spatial heterogeneity of relationships between the degree of urban compaction and UGS can provide insightful analyses for decision-making on allocating UGS. Full article
Open AccessArticle Application of Decision-Tree Model to Groundwater Productivity-Potential Mapping
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13416-13432; doi:10.3390/su71013416
Received: 10 July 2015 / Revised: 20 September 2015 / Accepted: 22 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (9612 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
For the sustainable use of groundwater, this study analyzed groundwater productivity-potential using a decision-tree approach in a geographic information system (GIS) in Boryeong and Pohang cities, Korea. The model was based on the relationship between groundwater-productivity data, including specific capacity (SPC), and its
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For the sustainable use of groundwater, this study analyzed groundwater productivity-potential using a decision-tree approach in a geographic information system (GIS) in Boryeong and Pohang cities, Korea. The model was based on the relationship between groundwater-productivity data, including specific capacity (SPC), and its related hydrogeological factors. SPC data which is measured and calculated for groundwater productivity and data about related factors, including topography, lineament, geology, forest and soil data, were collected and input into a spatial database. A decision-tree model was applied and decision trees were constructed using the chi-squared automatic interaction detector (CHAID) and the quick, unbiased, and efficient statistical tree (QUEST) algorithms. The resulting groundwater-productivity-potential (GPP) maps were validated using area-under-the-curve (AUC) analysis with the well data that had not been used for training the model. In the Boryeong city, the CHAID and QUEST algorithms had accuracies of 83.31% and 79.47%, and in the Pohang city, the CHAID and QUEST algorithms had accuracies of 86.18% and 80.00%. As another validation, the GPP maps were validated by comparing the actual SPC data. As the result, in the Boryeong city, the CHAID and QUEST algorithms had accuracies of 96.55% and 94.92% and in the Pohang city, the CHAID and QUEST algorithms had accuracies of 87.88% and 87.50%. These results indicate that decision-tree models can be useful for development of groundwater resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Estimating Natural Environmental Characteristics of Subsidized Households: A Case Study of Austin, Texas
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13433-13453; doi:10.3390/su71013433
Received: 24 August 2015 / Revised: 23 September 2015 / Accepted: 25 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2620 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Compared to the traditional public housing program, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program has been regarded as a better tool to ensure the quality of housing structure for subsidized households and the mixing of incomes in neighborhoods. Previous studies related to LIHTC
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Compared to the traditional public housing program, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program has been regarded as a better tool to ensure the quality of housing structure for subsidized households and the mixing of incomes in neighborhoods. Previous studies related to LIHTC developments have solely focused on the relationships between subsidized households and socioeconomic environments, such as income, race, poverty, etc. Beyond the socioeconomic environments where subsidized households are located, there is a limited understanding about whether subsidized households experience healthier natural environments in their neighborhoods. This study aims to investigate whether LIHTC-subsidized housing neighborhoods provide adequate natural environments to the subsidized households in Austin, Texas, compared to the public housing households. We employ comparison t-tests and binomial logistic regression models. The results show that LIHTC households are significantly exposed to unhealthy natural environmental settings such as a lack of green vegetation and steep slopes while no statistical evidence is reported for public housing neighborhoods. Findings from this study may help policymakers and planners improve their understanding of whether subsidized housing developments offer better natural environments for disadvantaged populations and help them develop effective environmental intervention strategies to improve the quality of life of subsidized households. Full article
Open AccessArticle Blue Light Hazard and Risk Group Classification of 8 W LED Tubes, Replacing Fluorescent Tubes, through Optical Radiation Measurements
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13454-13468; doi:10.3390/su71013454
Received: 17 July 2015 / Revised: 23 September 2015 / Accepted: 24 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1039 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, the authors discuss the results of a measurement survey of artificial optical radiation emitted by 8 W LED tubes suitable for the substitution of 18 W fluorescent lamps used for general lighting. For both types of lamps, three different color
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In this paper, the authors discuss the results of a measurement survey of artificial optical radiation emitted by 8 W LED tubes suitable for the substitution of 18 W fluorescent lamps used for general lighting. For both types of lamps, three different color temperatures were chosen, 3000 K, 4000 K, and 6000 K. These measurements were performed to evaluate the photobiological safety of the sources. The radiance and irradiance values have been measured in a wide range of wavelengths (180–3000 nm). The measurement results obtained for the LED tubes have been compared to those of similar measurements obtained for fluorescent lamps. The analysis has been focused on the range of wavelengths 300–700 nm, the blue light range, which turned out to be defining for the risk groups of the lamps. This classification is a function of the maximum permissible exposure time as indicated in the European Standard EN 62471 on the photobiological safety of lamps and lamp systems. Full article
Open AccessArticle Multi-Scale Measurement of Regional Inequality in Mainland China during 2005–2010 Using DMSP/OLS Night Light Imagery and Population Density Grid Data
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13469-13499; doi:10.3390/su71013469
Received: 1 August 2015 / Revised: 16 September 2015 / Accepted: 22 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (3278 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study used the Night Light Development Index (NLDI) to measure the regional inequality of public services in Mainland China at multiple scales. The NLDI was extracted based on a Gini Coefficient approach to measure the spatial differences of population distribution and night
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This study used the Night Light Development Index (NLDI) to measure the regional inequality of public services in Mainland China at multiple scales. The NLDI was extracted based on a Gini Coefficient approach to measure the spatial differences of population distribution and night light distribution. Population data were derived from the dataset of China’s population density grid, and night light data were acquired from satellite imagery. In the multi-scale analysis, we calculated the NLDI for China as a whole, eight economic regions, 31 provincial regions, and 354 prefectural cities for the two years of 2005 and 2010. The results indicate that Southwest China and Northwest China are the regions with the most unequal public services, with NLDI values of 0.7116 and 0.7251 for 2005, respectively, and 0.6678 and 0.6304 for 2010, respectively. In contrast, Northern Coastal China had the lowest NLDI values of 0.4775 and 0.4312 for 2005 and 2010, respectively, indicating that this region had the most equal public services. Also, the regional inequality of Mainland China in terms of NLDI has been reduced from 0.6161 to 0.5743 during 2005–2010. The same pattern was observed from the provincial and prefectural analysis, suggesting that public services in Mainland China became more equal within the five-year period. A regression analysis indicated that provincial and prefectural regions with more public services per capita and higher population density had more equal public services. Full article
Open AccessArticle GHG Mitigation Potential of Different Grazing Strategies in the United States Southern Great Plains
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13500-13521; doi:10.3390/su71013500
Received: 21 July 2015 / Revised: 23 September 2015 / Accepted: 25 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (873 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The possibility of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by ruminants using improved grazing is investigated by estimating GHG emissions for cow-calf farms under light continuous (LC), heavy continuous (HC) and rotational grazing, also known as multi-paddock (MP), management strategies in Southern Great Plain
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The possibility of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by ruminants using improved grazing is investigated by estimating GHG emissions for cow-calf farms under light continuous (LC), heavy continuous (HC) and rotational grazing, also known as multi-paddock (MP), management strategies in Southern Great Plain (SGP) using life cycle assessment (LCA). Our results indicated a GHG emission with these grazing treatments of 8034.90 kg·CO2e·calf1·year1 for cow-calf farms in SGP region, which is high, compared to that for other regions, due to the high percentage (79.6%) of enteric CH4 emissions caused by relatively lower feed quality on the unfertilized rangeland. Sensitivity analyses on MP grazing strategy showed that an increase in grass quality and digestibility could potentially reduce GHG emission by 30%. Despite higher GHG emissions on a per calf basis, net GHG emissions in SGP region are potentially negative when carbon (C) sequestration is taken into account. With net C emission rates of −2002.8, −1731.6 and −89.5 kg C ha1·year1 after converting from HC to MP, HC to LC and from LC to MP, our analysis indicated cow-calf farms converting from continuous to MP grazing in SGP region are likely net carbon sinks for decades. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle An Integrated Decision-Making Model for the Location of a PV Solar Plant
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13522-13541; doi:10.3390/su71013522
Received: 13 August 2015 / Revised: 23 September 2015 / Accepted: 24 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (838 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Due to the increasing demand for electricity, the depletion of fossil fuels and the increase in environmental consciousness, generating power from renewable energy resources has become necessary. How to select the most appropriate site is a critical and foremost decision that must be
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Due to the increasing demand for electricity, the depletion of fossil fuels and the increase in environmental consciousness, generating power from renewable energy resources has become necessary. How to select the most appropriate site is a critical and foremost decision that must be made when setting up a renewable energy plant. This research proposes a two-stage framework for evaluating the suitability of renewable energy plant site alternatives. In the first stage, a fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP) is adopted to set the assurance region (AR) of the quantitative factors, and the AR is incorporated into data envelopment analysis (DEA) to assess the efficiencies of plant site candidates. A few sites are selected for further analysis. In the second stage, experts are invited to evaluate the qualitative characteristics of the selected sites, and FAHP is used to calculate the priorities of these sites. Solar energy is one of the most promising renewable energy sources, because of its abundance, inexhaustibility, safety and cleanliness. Based on the proposed integrated decision-making model, a case study for selecting the most appropriate photovoltaic (PV) solar plant site is examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of the Sustainable Development Capacity with the Entropy Weight Coefficient Method
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13542-13563; doi:10.3390/su71013542
Received: 6 August 2015 / Revised: 26 September 2015 / Accepted: 28 September 2015 / Published: 1 October 2015
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (761 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable development is widely accepted in the world. How to reflect the sustainable development capacity of a region is an important issue for enacting policies and plans. An index system for capacity assessment is established by employing the Entropy Weight Coefficient method. The
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Sustainable development is widely accepted in the world. How to reflect the sustainable development capacity of a region is an important issue for enacting policies and plans. An index system for capacity assessment is established by employing the Entropy Weight Coefficient method. The results indicate that the sustainable development capacity of Shandong Province is improving in terms of its economy subsystem, resource subsystem, and society subsystem whilst degrading in its environment subsystem. Shandong Province has shown the general trend towards sustainable development. However, the sustainable development capacity can be constrained by the resources such as energy, land, water, as well as environmental protection. These issues are induced by the economy development model, the security of energy supply, the level of new energy development, the end-of-pipe control of pollution, and the level of science and technology commercialization. Efforts are required to accelerate the development of the tertiary industry, the commercialization of high technology, the development of new energy and renewable energy, and the structure optimization of energy mix. Long-term measures need to be established for the ecosystem and environment protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle The Multifunctional Environmental Energy Tower: Carbon Footprint and Land Use Analysis of an Integrated Renewable Energy Plant
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13564-13584; doi:10.3390/su71013564
Received: 26 August 2015 / Revised: 21 September 2015 / Accepted: 30 September 2015 / Published: 2 October 2015
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (4465 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Multifunctional Environmental Energy Tower (MEET) is a single, vertical, stand-alone renewable energy plant designed to decrease the primary energy consumption from fossil fuels, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to maximize the energy production from renewable sources available in place and to minimize
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The Multifunctional Environmental Energy Tower (MEET) is a single, vertical, stand-alone renewable energy plant designed to decrease the primary energy consumption from fossil fuels, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to maximize the energy production from renewable sources available in place and to minimize land use. A feasibility case study was performed for the city of Rome, Italy. Several technologies are exploited and integrated in a single system, including a photovoltaic plant, a geothermal plant and a biomass digester for urban organic waste and sewage sludge. In the proposed configuration, the MEET could cover more than 11% of the electric power demand and up to 3% of the space heating demand of the surrounding urban area. An LCA analysis evaluates the environmental impact in a cradle-to-grave approach for two impact categories: global warming (carbon footprint) and land use (land occupation and land transformation). The functional unit is a mix of electric (49.1%) and thermal (50.9%) energy (kWhmix). The carbon footprint is 48.70 g CO2eq/kWhmix; the land transformation is 4.058 m2/GWhmix; and the land occupation is 969.3 m2y/GWhmix. With respect to other energy production technologies, the carbon footprint is lower and similar to the best-performing ones (e.g., co-generation from wood chips); both of the land use indicators are considerably smaller than the least-impacting technologies. A systematic study was finally performed, and possible optimizations of the original design are proposed. Thanks to the modular design, the conceptual idea can be easily applied to other urban and non-urban scenarios. Full article
Open AccessArticle Development of a Biochar-Plant-Extract-Based Nitrification Inhibitor and Its Application in Field Conditions
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13585-13596; doi:10.3390/su71013585
Received: 14 March 2015 / Revised: 3 September 2015 / Accepted: 7 September 2015 / Published: 2 October 2015
PDF Full-text (746 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The global use of nitrogen (N) fertilizer has increased 10-fold in the last fifty years, resulting in increased N losses via nitrate leaching to groundwater bodies or from gaseous emissions to the atmosphere. One of the biggest problems farmers face in agricultural production
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The global use of nitrogen (N) fertilizer has increased 10-fold in the last fifty years, resulting in increased N losses via nitrate leaching to groundwater bodies or from gaseous emissions to the atmosphere. One of the biggest problems farmers face in agricultural production systems is the loss of N. In this context, novel biological nitrification inhibitors (BNI) using biochar (BC) as a renewable matrix to increase N use efficiency, by reducing nitrification rates, have been evaluated. The chemical and morphological characteristics of BC were analyzed and BC-BNI complexes were formulated using plant extracts from pine (Pinus radiata), eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) and peumo (Cryptocarya alba). In field experiments, fertilizer and treatments, based on crude plant extracts and BC-BNI complexes, were applied and the effect on nitrification was periodically monitored, and at the laboratory level, a phytotoxicity assay was performed. The biochar-peumo (BCPe) complex showed the highest nitrification inhibition (66%) on day 60 after application compared with the crude plant extract, suggesting that BCPe complex protects the BNI against biotic or abiotic factors, and therefore BC-BNI complexes could increase the persistence of biological nitrification inhibitors. None of the biochar complexes had toxic effect on radish plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biochar)
Open AccessArticle Temporal and Spatial Variability of Droughts in Southwest China from 1961 to 2012
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13597-13609; doi:10.3390/su71013597
Received: 17 August 2015 / Revised: 29 September 2015 / Accepted: 29 September 2015 / Published: 7 October 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (7994 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Southwest China (SC) has suffered a series of super extreme droughts in the last decade. This study analyzed the temporal and spatial variations of drought in SC from 1961 to 2012. Based on precipitation anomaly index (PAI) that was derived from 1 km
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Southwest China (SC) has suffered a series of super extreme droughts in the last decade. This study analyzed the temporal and spatial variations of drought in SC from 1961 to 2012. Based on precipitation anomaly index (PAI) that was derived from 1 km gridded precipitation data, three time scales (month, year and decade) for the drought frequency (DF) and drought area were applied to estimate the spatio-temporal structure of droughts. A time-series analysis showed that winter droughts and spring droughts occurred frequently for almost half of the year from November to March. Summer droughts occasionally occurred in severe drought decades: the 1960s, 1980s and 2000s. During the period of observation, the percent of drought area in SC increased from the 1960s (<5%) to the 2000s (>25%). A total of 57% of the area was affected by drought in 2011, when the area experienced its most severe drought both in terms of area and severity. The spatial analysis, which benefitted from the gridded data, detailed that all of SC is at drought risk except for the central Sichuan Basin. The area at high risk for severe and extreme droughts was localized in the mountains of the junction of Sichuan and Yunnan. The temporal and spatial variability can be prerequisites for drought resistance planning and drought risk management of SC. Full article
Open AccessArticle Is the Web Marketing Mix Sustainable in China? The Mediation Effect of Dynamic Trust
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13610-13630; doi:10.3390/su71013610
Received: 3 August 2015 / Revised: 22 September 2015 / Accepted: 29 September 2015 / Published: 7 October 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (879 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Trust plays an important role between companies and customers in the online shopping environment because of the anonymous transaction environment and the advantage of virtual property. The most rapidly developing trend in Chinese e-business may come from Guanxi, a Chinese term for
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Trust plays an important role between companies and customers in the online shopping environment because of the anonymous transaction environment and the advantage of virtual property. The most rapidly developing trend in Chinese e-business may come from Guanxi, a Chinese term for social trust. In this study, we define Guanxi as the dynamic trust process in the social decisions or activities of the Chinese. With increasing global attention on the outstanding development of Chinese e-business, it would be worthwhile to analyze the dynamic trust process of social e-commerce customers in close combination with the social network. The statistical results obtained using structural equation modeling (SEM) show the importance of trust in a social e-commerce context. The direct positive relationship between the components of the web marketing mix and purchase intention is partially mediated by initial trust and ongoing trust, while initial trust only partially affects purchase intention through ongoing trust. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Integrated Evaluation and Scenario Simulation for Forest Ecological Security of Beijing Based on System Dynamics Model
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13631-13659; doi:10.3390/su71013631
Received: 10 July 2015 / Revised: 1 October 2015 / Accepted: 2 October 2015 / Published: 7 October 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5641 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Forest Ecological Security (FES) means coordinated development of forest ecosystems, social economies, and the forest environment. In this paper, we evaluate FES in Beijing under different designed scenarios using a dynamic systems model and find that first, the initial FES index value (in
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Forest Ecological Security (FES) means coordinated development of forest ecosystems, social economies, and the forest environment. In this paper, we evaluate FES in Beijing under different designed scenarios using a dynamic systems model and find that first, the initial FES index value (in Scenario 0) increased to its highest level of 0.529 in 2012, but declined slightly to 0.485 by 2020. Second, in Scenarios 1–4, the FES index value reached 0.545, 0.516, 0.585 and 0.637 respectively in 2020, which was enhanced in varying degrees when compared with Scenario 0. The simulation shows the implementation of forest management policies, socioeconomic development and environmental management combine to affect the FES in Beijing. The FES could develop into a good state when the productivity of forest resources, the stability of forest environments and the orderly development of the social economy are carefully maintained (in Scenario 4). This research could provide decision-making in support of the overall improvement of forest conditions while promoting sustainable forestry in Beijing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Exploring Promising Research Frontiers Based on Knowledge Maps in the Solar Cell Technology Field
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13660-13689; doi:10.3390/su71013660
Received: 24 July 2015 / Revised: 19 September 2015 / Accepted: 1 October 2015 / Published: 9 October 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1911 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Given the challenging environmental issues in the energy sector, the importance of strategic research and development (R&D) planning has been emphasized to manage a turbulent business situation. This study aims to propose a methodology for exploring promising research frontiers in the energy sector.
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Given the challenging environmental issues in the energy sector, the importance of strategic research and development (R&D) planning has been emphasized to manage a turbulent business situation. This study aims to propose a methodology for exploring promising research frontiers in the energy sector. To this end, first, core documents are collected from scientific documents such as patents and academic papers. Second, the research frontiers are extracted by clustering the core documents based on the bibliographic relations. Third, a knowledge map is generated by mapping the relations between research frontiers. Finally, the promising research frontiers (RFs) are identified by conducting dynamic analyses and the contents of promising RFs are suggested. As an illustration of the method, the field of solar cell technology is chosen and analyzed As a result, the promising research frontiers from the patent knowledge map are related to development (D) themes and promising research frontiers from scientific paper knowledge map are related to the research (R) themes. The proposed method and results can be utilized by researchers, R&D policy makers, and administrations in practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Open Space Evaluation Methodology and Three Dimensional Evaluation Model as a Base for Sustainable Development Tracking
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13690-13712; doi:10.3390/su71013690
Received: 25 July 2015 / Accepted: 25 September 2015 / Published: 10 October 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2712 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Sustainable development, as a concept of controlled development, is a management characteristic. Adaptation to progress is important to achieve sustainability. The research focus here is on developing an evaluation methodology for determining the characteristics of urban open space. A method was designed for
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Sustainable development, as a concept of controlled development, is a management characteristic. Adaptation to progress is important to achieve sustainability. The research focus here is on developing an evaluation methodology for determining the characteristics of urban open space. A method was designed for use in the comparative analysis of environmental perception evaluation between different time sequences. It allows us to compare results before and after spatial interventions or spatial development tracking over time. The newly-developed SEC model (suitable for everyone, environmentally-accepted, and cost-effective) was an essential element used in the research methodology. The model was designed using the systematic principle, the top–down approach, and the decomposition method. Three basic dimensions were divided into six factors. Factors were divided into eighteen indicators that are either quantitatively or qualitatively assessed. Indicators were divided into several aspects. An instrument (questionnaire) was developed to support the evaluation methodology of urban open space characteristics. Every aspect belongs to a question in the questionnaire. The applicability of the SEC model was demonstrated in two case studies. Evaluation took place during two different time sequences, once during the day-time and once during the night. Obtained results provide useful information of the current spatial situation needed for sustainable development strategy preparation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle A Field Experiment on Enhancement of Crop Yield by Rice Straw and Corn Stalk-Derived Biochar in Northern China
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13713-13725; doi:10.3390/su71013713
Received: 28 July 2015 / Revised: 27 September 2015 / Accepted: 30 September 2015 / Published: 12 October 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1504 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biochar, a green way to deal with burning and burying biomass, has attracted more attention in recent years. To fill the gap of the effects of different biochar on crop yield in Northern China, the first field experiment was conducted in farmland located
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Biochar, a green way to deal with burning and burying biomass, has attracted more attention in recent years. To fill the gap of the effects of different biochar on crop yield in Northern China, the first field experiment was conducted in farmland located in Hebei Province. Biochars derived from two kinds of feedstocks (rice straw and corn stalk) were added into an Inceptisols area with different dosages (1 ton/ha, 2 ton/ha or 4 ton/ha) in April 2014. The crop yields were collected for corn, peanut, and sweet potato during one crop season from spring to autumn 2014, and the wheat from winter 2014 to summer 2015, respectively. The results showed biochar amendment could enhance yields, and biochar from rice straw showed a more positive effect on the yield of corn, peanut, and winter wheat than corn stalk biochar. The dosage of biochar of 2 ton/ha or 1 ton/ha could enhance the yield by 5%–15% and biochar of 4 ton/ha could increase the yield by about 20%. The properties of N/P/K, CEC, and pH of soils amended with biochar were not changed, while biochar effects could be related to improvement of soil water content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biochar)
Open AccessArticle Understanding Innovation for Sustainable Business Management Capabilities and Competencies under Uncertainty
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13726-13760; doi:10.3390/su71013726
Received: 7 July 2015 / Revised: 25 September 2015 / Accepted: 8 October 2015 / Published: 12 October 2015
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Abstract
In recent years, many firms have come to understand that innovation is an important issue in sustainable business management, as it helps improve firm capabilities and competencies. Because of the fiercely competitive environment in the hotel industry, innovation has become a critical factor
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In recent years, many firms have come to understand that innovation is an important issue in sustainable business management, as it helps improve firm capabilities and competencies. Because of the fiercely competitive environment in the hotel industry, innovation has become a critical factor in the process of hotel differentiation, leading to sustainable business success. However, the literature has not thoroughly examined the role of innovation or the hierarchical structure of the capabilities and competencies in sustainable business management. This study adopts interval-valued triangular fuzzy numbers and grey relational analysis to provide a competitive priority ranking for the aspects and criteria that assist firms in decision-making. The study results indicate that innovation in technology capabilities and networking and social capabilities—in addition to competencies in systemic thinking—are the most important aspects of sustainable business management. In particular, this study indicates that to succeed in building a sustainable business in the hotel industry, firms should upgrade and integrate their business technologies, collaborate with actors inside and outside the firm, build trust as well as a shared vision that includes common agreement, and develop competencies in inventive thinking to support innovation and foster changes in strategy, structure, administrative procedures, and systems when necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Life Cycle Assessment of Process Eco-Innovations in an SME Automotive Supply Network
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13761-13776; doi:10.3390/su71013761
Received: 23 July 2015 / Revised: 23 September 2015 / Accepted: 7 October 2015 / Published: 12 October 2015
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Abstract
The aim of the study presented in this article is to assess, from an environmental standpoint, a set of eco-innovations applied to the production process of an automotive component. The eco-innovations were developed by a supply network of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
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The aim of the study presented in this article is to assess, from an environmental standpoint, a set of eco-innovations applied to the production process of an automotive component. The eco-innovations were developed by a supply network of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the framework of a project named “Hi-reach”. The component considered is a motorcycle rear wheel spindle. The conventional version is obtained by machining a single forged steel part. The Hi-reach version is indeed manufactured by joining a shaft to a flange; in addition, conventional surface treatments are replaced by a plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) treatment and other machining steps are improved. This process was conceived with the aim of maintaining (or enhancing) the technical performance of the spindle and reducing production costs. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was carried out to compare the two scenarios described. Those eco-innovations resulted in significant improvements of the environmental performance of the analysed component, ranging, on average, between 50% and 70% for the impact indicators considered. Our results also highlight the role of SMEs in promoting process eco-innovations and the increasing relevance of LCA as a tool to support decision making in manufacturing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Measurement and Sustainability of the Qualifications Frameworks in the European Higher Education Area through an Employment Survey on Access to the Labour Market
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13777-13812; doi:10.3390/su71013777
Received: 14 July 2015 / Revised: 25 September 2015 / Accepted: 29 September 2015 / Published: 13 October 2015
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Abstract
There is a clear need to measure the correct implementation of the European Framework through the employability of the alumni. The evaluation of the deployment of the Qualifications Frameworks in the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA/QF) should shed significant light on the action
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There is a clear need to measure the correct implementation of the European Framework through the employability of the alumni. The evaluation of the deployment of the Qualifications Frameworks in the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA/QF) should shed significant light on the action that must be taken by legislators and higher education managers to foster employability and guarantee the sustainability of the EHEA. We propose a methodology based on a Survey on Access to the Labour Market (SALM) to assess the correlation between the education provided to the students and the practical utility of the knowledge acquired in the workplace. A questionnaire has been produced to measure the competencies and descriptors that had been theoretically defined within the QF-EHEA. Fifteen questions were disguised so that the six QF-EHEA descriptors were quantified through the difference between education and utility. The quantification methodology for the framework has been tested successfully on the former students of a higher education center in Spain. In this center, the alumni perceived that the utility of their acquired competencies and their employability level was greater than their education content, while both levels were reasonably high. The results hold for both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
Open AccessArticle Dynamics of Paddy Field Patterns in Response to Urbanization: A Case Study of the Hang-Jia-Hu Plain
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13813-13835; doi:10.3390/su71013813
Received: 1 September 2015 / Revised: 6 October 2015 / Accepted: 8 October 2015 / Published: 14 October 2015
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Abstract
Urban land has increasingly expanded and encroached upon a significant number of paddy fields in Hang-Jia-Hu Plain, due to the rapid socio-economic development and agro-pedoclimatic conditions favorable to rice cultivation and human settlement. Although many studies have analyzed the characteristics of urban land
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Urban land has increasingly expanded and encroached upon a significant number of paddy fields in Hang-Jia-Hu Plain, due to the rapid socio-economic development and agro-pedoclimatic conditions favorable to rice cultivation and human settlement. Although many studies have analyzed the characteristics of urban land expansion, relatively less attention has been paid to exploring the various urban expansion patterns and the impact of different urban expansion patterns on paddy field at a regional scale. This paper characterized the changing patterns of paddy fields in response to various urban expansion patterns in the Hang-Jia-Hu Plain integrating geographic information systems, gradient analyses and landscape metrics. Our results demonstrate that the amount of urban land expanded to nearly four times that of the initial area during 1980–2010 and that 88% of new urban land was developed on paddy fields. Of the total area of paddy fields, paddy fields of level I accounted for 96%. Moreover, various urban expansion styles differentially influenced the patterns of paddy fields. In autonomous expansion cities, sprawled urban land mainly occupied paddy fields in urban centers. However, the irregular expansion of passive expansion cities encroached on a number of paddy fields in the urban fringe where the landscape of urban patches and paddy fields was more complex and irregular in shape. Furthermore, the urbanization curve implies that future urbanization efforts will focus on the passive expansion cities, indicating that paddy fields still face the risk of disruption. We suggest that the boundary of urban development should be restricted, permanent paddy reserves should be delimited, and ecologically oriented management systems that target paddy field protection should be implemented to ensure the sustainable development of this region. This work improved the understanding of the urbanization process that governed paddy fields dynamics, and provides a scientific basis for decision-making processes to achieve regional sustainability. Full article
Open AccessArticle Advancing Environmental Mainstreaming in the Caribbean Region: The Role of Regional Institutions for Overcoming Barriers and Capacity Gaps
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13836-13855; doi:10.3390/su71013836
Received: 21 August 2015 / Revised: 25 September 2015 / Accepted: 9 October 2015 / Published: 14 October 2015
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Abstract
Environmental mainstreaming (EM) is a policy instrument to integrate environmental risks and opportunities into planning and implementation. A body of knowledge exists on identifying barriers for EM at the national level. This paper identifies contributions of regional institutions for improving capacities for EM
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Environmental mainstreaming (EM) is a policy instrument to integrate environmental risks and opportunities into planning and implementation. A body of knowledge exists on identifying barriers for EM at the national level. This paper identifies contributions of regional institutions for improving capacities for EM at the national level, using the Caribbean region as a case study. The methodology adopted combines in-depth interviews with senior policy-makers and participatory workshops for medium- and junior-level staff of government agencies. Four barriers for EM are analyzed with specific roles for regional agencies, including weak leadership, insufficient science–policy linkages, deficits in quantity and quality of human resources, and institutional aspects. Research findings identify regional leadership as crucial to supporting the science–policy interface, to share data and knowledge across countries facing similar challenges, to provide assistance with national policy development for EM involving transboundary issues, and to ensure cross-sectoral perspectives in regional initiatives, especially those on economic development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle How Local Intermediaries Improve the Effectiveness of Public Payment for Ecosystem Services Programs: The Role of Networks and Agri-Environmental Assistance
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13856-13886; doi:10.3390/su71013856
Received: 23 June 2015 / Revised: 29 September 2015 / Accepted: 1 October 2015 / Published: 15 October 2015
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Abstract
Large governmental payments for ecosystem services programs (PES) have frequently been criticized for their limited environmental effectiveness. The use of local intermediaries has been considered as one possibility for improving the environmental effectiveness of such programs. German Landcare Associations (LCAs) have been identified
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Large governmental payments for ecosystem services programs (PES) have frequently been criticized for their limited environmental effectiveness. The use of local intermediaries has been considered as one possibility for improving the environmental effectiveness of such programs. German Landcare Associations (LCAs) have been identified as one intermediary that holds the potential to positively influence the implementation of agri-environmental measures (AEMs). This paper empirically assesses the involvement of LCAs in the context of AEM implementation in Germany. An online questionnaire was distributed to all LCAs in Germany. In a first step, we examine if LCAs (1) provide social networks between stakeholders and (2) provide agri-environmental information and assistance to farmers. In a second step, the LCAs assess (3) their perception of how strongly their work influences farmers’ participation in PES schemes and (4) if they pursue the spatial targeting of AEMs. In a third step, we relate the relative level of social networks and the provision of agri-environmental information and assistance to their stated influence on farmers’ participation in and spatial targeting of AEMs. Finally we derive overall conclusions on how intermediaries can enhance the effectiveness of PES programs in general. Full article
Open AccessArticle Features Analysis of Dry Stone Walls of Tuscany (Italy)
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13887-13903; doi:10.3390/su71013887
Received: 7 August 2015 / Revised: 18 September 2015 / Accepted: 8 October 2015 / Published: 15 October 2015
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Abstract
Terraced systems currently represent an indubitable added value for Tuscany, as well as for other Italian regions and for several Mediterranean countries. This value goes beyond their original function of hosting new areas for cultivation. The hydrological functions performed by these systems, including
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Terraced systems currently represent an indubitable added value for Tuscany, as well as for other Italian regions and for several Mediterranean countries. This value goes beyond their original function of hosting new areas for cultivation. The hydrological functions performed by these systems, including control of erosion, stabilisation of the slopes, prolongation of runoff times and the possible reduction of the volumes of surface runoff, are well-known. In addition, they also play a strategic role in the conservation of biodiversity and in maintaining local identity. At a national level, the terraced agricultural systems fall within the scope of actions scheduled in the National Strategic Plan for Rural Development 2007–2013, and the standards of Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs) envisages that they be maintained through the granting of economic aid as laid down in the Rural Development Plans 2007–2013 and 2014–2020. Eighteen sample areas, previously selected on the basis of the terracing intensity index (defined as the ratio between the lines representing the walls and the surface of 1 ha), were subjected for on-site surveys to determine the geo-typological features through the identification and measurement of the main technical-construction parameters of the dry stone walls. This analysis also enabled assessments of the overall state of conservation of the dry stone walls in order to suggest operations for safeguarding and protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Issues on Soil Management and Conservation)
Open AccessArticle A New Method to Energy Saving in a Micro Grid
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13904-13919; doi:10.3390/su71013904
Received: 11 June 2015 / Revised: 2 October 2015 / Accepted: 9 October 2015 / Published: 15 October 2015
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Abstract
Optimization of energy production systems is a relevant issue that must be considered in order to follow the fossil fuels consumption reduction policies and CO2 emission regulation. Increasing electricity production from renewable resources (e.g., photovoltaic systems and wind farms) is desirable but
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Optimization of energy production systems is a relevant issue that must be considered in order to follow the fossil fuels consumption reduction policies and CO2 emission regulation. Increasing electricity production from renewable resources (e.g., photovoltaic systems and wind farms) is desirable but its unpredictability is a cause of problems for the main grid stability. A system with multiple energy sources represents an efficient solution, by realizing an interface among renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, and conventional power generators. Direct consequences of multi-energy systems are a wider energy flexibility and benefits for the electric grid, the purpose of this paper is to propose the best technology combination for electricity generation from a mix of renewable energy resources to satisfy the electrical needs. The paper identifies the optimal off-grid option and compares this with conventional grid extension, through the use of HOMER software. The solution obtained shows that a hybrid combination of renewable energy generators at an off-grid location can be a cost-effective alternative to grid extension and it is sustainable, techno-economically viable, and environmentally sound. The results show how this innovative energetic approach can provide a cost reduction in power supply and energy fees of 40% and 25%, respectively, and CO2 emission decrease attained around 18%. Furthermore, the multi-energy system taken as the case study has been optimized through the utilization of three different type of energy storage (Pb-Ac batteries, flywheels, and micro—Compressed Air Energy Storage (C.A.E.S.). Full article
Open AccessArticle The Influence of Low-Frequency Noise Pollution on the Quality of Life and Place in Sustainable Cities: A Case Study from Northern Portugal
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13920-13946; doi:10.3390/su71013920
Received: 8 June 2015 / Revised: 7 September 2015 / Accepted: 23 September 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
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Abstract
Discussing urban planning requires rethinking sustainability in cities and building healthy environments. Historically, some aspects of advancing the urban way of life have not been considered important in city planning. This is particularly the case where technological advances have led to conflicting land
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Discussing urban planning requires rethinking sustainability in cities and building healthy environments. Historically, some aspects of advancing the urban way of life have not been considered important in city planning. This is particularly the case where technological advances have led to conflicting land use, as with the installation of power poles and building electrical substations near residential areas. This research aims to discuss and rethink sustainability in cities, focusing on the environmental impact of low-frequency noise and electromagnetic radiation on human health. It presents data from a case study in an urban space in northern Portugal, and focuses on four guiding questions: Can power poles and power lines cause noise? Do power poles and power lines cause discomfort? Do power poles and power lines cause discomfort due to noise? Can power poles and power lines affect human health? To answer these questions, we undertook research between 2014 and 2015 that was comprised of two approaches. The first approach consisted of evaluating the noise of nine points divided into two groups “near the source” (e.g., up to 50 m from power poles) and “away from the source” (e.g., more than 250 m away from the source). In the second approach, noise levels were measured for 72 h in houses located up to 20 m from the source. The groups consist of residents living within the distance range specified for each group. The measurement values were compared with the proposed criteria for assessing low-frequency noise using the DEFRA Guidance (University of Salford). In the first approach, the noise caused discomfort, regardless of the group. In the second approach, the noise had fluctuating characteristics, which led us to conclude that the noise caused discomfort. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Optimal Hybrid Renewable Power System for an Emerging Island of South Korea: The Case of Yeongjong Island
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13985-14001; doi:10.3390/su71013985
Received: 22 July 2015 / Revised: 12 October 2015 / Accepted: 14 October 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
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Abstract
South Korea, which has led in “green growth” since 2012, is now focusing on investigating new-growth engine industries such as the gaming industry and mega-resort development. Yeongjong Island is the most representative and promising location for nurturing the gaming industry, which has already
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South Korea, which has led in “green growth” since 2012, is now focusing on investigating new-growth engine industries such as the gaming industry and mega-resort development. Yeongjong Island is the most representative and promising location for nurturing the gaming industry, which has already generated more than 20 billion USD. However, the construction of mega resort clusters generates critical energy issues. Despite this potential problem, local governments and South Korea’s central government have not yet established a sustainable energy blueprint plan. Therefore, the objective of our research is to analyze and suggest an optimal hybrid renewable power system for Yeongjong Island by using empirical data (load data, climate data, equipment data, and economic variables). The results of the study academically show 100% of electricity in Yeongjong Island with renewable energy-oriented hybrid system technologically, economically, and socially feasible for the following reasons: First, the island’s renewable energy station has a lower cost and a shorter construction period than other energy stations. Second, the island’s renewable energy station produces no carbon dioxide and has no risk of other environmental pollution that may encounter resistance from local residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Design and Implementation of Emergy-Based Sustainability Decision Assessment System for Protected Grape Cultivation
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14002-14025; doi:10.3390/su71014002
Received: 14 August 2015 / Revised: 30 September 2015 / Accepted: 30 September 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
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Abstract
The characteristic “high input and output” in protected production has caused some environmental and ecological issues. Hence, emergy-based sustainability assessments are necessary and valuable. However, traditional emergy analysis is time consuming, tedious, and inefficient. Such disadvantages can be addressed by the integration of
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The characteristic “high input and output” in protected production has caused some environmental and ecological issues. Hence, emergy-based sustainability assessments are necessary and valuable. However, traditional emergy analysis is time consuming, tedious, and inefficient. Such disadvantages can be addressed by the integration of emergy analysis with information technology. This paper reports the development of the emergy-based sustainability decision assessment system (ESDAS) for protected grape cultivation systems. This system was established by first analyzing the business process, users, and requirements through survey, and the findings of which were used to design the system’s function, architecture, database, model base, and knowledge base with a combination of emergy methods. The results showed that ESDAS passed the system test and achieved the real-time calculation of emergy data and the automatization of emergy analysis. Therefore, this research is a beneficial attempt to apply information technology in improving the efficiency of sustainability assessments. The results also revealed that the protected grape cultivation system is characterized by a heavy dependence on purchased and non-renewable resource emergy, lower emergy yield ratio, higher emergy investment rate and environmental loading ratio, and lower emergy sustainability index. Some suggestions were made to improve the sustainability of the protected grape system. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Novel Approach for the Removal of Lead(II) Ion from Wastewater Using Mucilaginous Leaves of Diceriocaryum eriocarpum Plant
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14026-14041; doi:10.3390/su71014026
Received: 24 August 2015 / Revised: 6 October 2015 / Accepted: 7 October 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
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Abstract
Lead(II) ion is a very toxic element known to cause detrimental effects to human health even at very low concentrations. An adsorbent prepared using mucilaginous leaves from Diceriocaryum eriocarpum plant (DEP) was used for the adsorption of lead(II) ion from aqueous solution. Batch
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Lead(II) ion is a very toxic element known to cause detrimental effects to human health even at very low concentrations. An adsorbent prepared using mucilaginous leaves from Diceriocaryum eriocarpum plant (DEP) was used for the adsorption of lead(II) ion from aqueous solution. Batch experiments were performed on simulated aqueous solutions under optimized conditions of adsorbent dosage, contact time, pH and initial lead(II) ion concentration at 298 K. The Langmuir isotherm model more suitably described the adsorption process than the Freundlich model with linearized coefficients of 0.9661 and 0.9547, respectively. Pseudo-second order kinetic equation best described the kinetics of the reaction. Fourier transform infra-red analysis confirmed the presence of amino (–NH), carbonyl (–C=O) and hydroxyl (–OH) functional groups. Application of the prepared adsorbent to wastewater samples of 10 mg/L and 12 mg/L of lead(II) ion concentration taken from a waste stabilization pond showed removal efficiencies of 95.8% and 96.4%, respectively. Futhermore, 0.1 M HCl was a better desorbing agent than 0.1 M NaOH and de-ionized water. The experimental data obtained demonstrated that mucilaginous leaves from DEP can be used as a suitable adsorbent for lead(II) ion removal from wastewater. Full article
Open AccessArticle Young Tourists and Sustainability. Profiles, Attitudes, and Implications for Destination Strategies
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14042-14062; doi:10.3390/su71014042
Received: 31 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 October 2015 / Published: 20 October 2015
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Abstract
Global trends highlight the growing tourist interest in authentic and sustainable holiday experiences. Designing strategies that enable destinations to catch this tourist segment is, therefore, becoming more and more important for competitiveness. A long-term outlook calls into question the “next generation” of actual
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Global trends highlight the growing tourist interest in authentic and sustainable holiday experiences. Designing strategies that enable destinations to catch this tourist segment is, therefore, becoming more and more important for competitiveness. A long-term outlook calls into question the “next generation” of actual and potential tourists, i.e., young people: understanding their attitude towards sustainability is paramount to drive tourism development in a direction which is coherent to the forthcoming demand. Drawing from an ad hoc survey of 1156 members of the largest Italian association of student and youth tourism, this contribution (a) discusses youth attitudes towards sustainability, their travel motivations and behavior (b) identifies different profiles of young tourists with reference to sustainability. By using characteristics and dimensions linked with “harder ecotourists” we identify hard path young tourists (HPYT) and soft path young tourists (SPYT). The findings confirm young people’s interest in certain dimensions of sustainability and the influence this interest has on their decision-making processes, motivations, and behaviors. HPYT and SPYT are profiles which should be considered in destination strategies: the strong sensitivity of HPYT to sustainability suggests the possibility of creating offers that optimize the unique features of a territory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecotourism and Sustainability Strategy)
Open AccessArticle The Efficiency and Its Determinants for China’s Medical Care System: Some Policy Implications for Northeast Asia
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14092-14111; doi:10.3390/su71014092
Received: 4 July 2015 / Revised: 11 October 2015 / Accepted: 14 October 2015 / Published: 20 October 2015
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Abstract
The medical care system in China has experienced significant changes during three decades of reform, and thus result in a need to investigate the effects of medical reform. This paper investigates the technical efficiency of Chinese hospitals in 31 provinces during the period
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The medical care system in China has experienced significant changes during three decades of reform, and thus result in a need to investigate the effects of medical reform. This paper investigates the technical efficiency of Chinese hospitals in 31 provinces during the period from 2002 to 2013 by proposing a new global generalized directional distance function (GGDDF) approach taking account of undesirable output, i.e., mortality. Results show that despite the technical efficiency had being improved with time trend, most Chinese provinces are not performing well on hospitals’ technical efficiency and leave a large potential to improve. Some provinces display better performance compared to other provinces of China. We further investigate the factors that affect the technical efficiency of Chinese hospitals with Tobit models. It concludes that the medical insurance reforms have improved the performance of Chinese hospitals, while public subsidies have decreased it. The provinces with higher GDP per capital and population density, the performance of their hospitals is better. The related policy implications for Northeast Asia are derived, including encouraging the development of private hospitals, enlarging the coverage of medical services, and pursuing different policies for the provinces with higher GDP per capital and population density. Full article
Open AccessArticle Do Dietary Changes Increase the Propensity of Food Riots? An Exploratory Study of Changing Consumption Patterns and the Inclination to Engage in Food-Related Protests
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14112-14132; doi:10.3390/su71014112
Received: 4 August 2015 / Revised: 13 October 2015 / Accepted: 14 October 2015 / Published: 20 October 2015
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Abstract
Following widespread food riots in 2008, many people argued that high food prices cause political instability and civil unrest in the form of food riots. However, subsequent research has demonstrated that political, cultural, and economic factors confound the impact of price in determining
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Following widespread food riots in 2008, many people argued that high food prices cause political instability and civil unrest in the form of food riots. However, subsequent research has demonstrated that political, cultural, and economic factors confound the impact of price in determining whether a food riot occurs. This paper contributes to this growing body of literature by exploring: (1) the relationship between household demographic characteristics and reported intent to riot due to future food price rises; and (2) the relationships between people’s diets and their reported intent to riot due to future food price rises. We hypothesize that local context, including demographic factors and dietary patterns, combine to predispose some groups of people to riot when food prices rise. This hypothesis is tested using household surveys (N = 300) and three focus groups discussions (N = 65) carried out in three cities in the Central African nation of Cameroon that experienced widespread food riots in 2008. Results show that some 70% of the respondents would riot if food prices went up. Also, in the event of food price rises: (1) households in Cameroon’s major cities are more likely to riot than the citizens of smaller cities; (2) Households with relatively higher educational level, high incomes, are less likely to riot. Finally, the relationship between dietary patterns and propensity to riot is not straightforward as changes in consumption of different food groups influence propensity to riot in different ways. Overall, this paper demonstrates that preemptive strategies designed to avoid future food riots in Cameroon must take into consideration these spatial, demographic, and dietary factors. Full article
Open AccessArticle Understanding Attitudes and Pro-Environmental Behaviors in a Chilean Community
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14133-14152; doi:10.3390/su71014133
Received: 10 August 2015 / Revised: 13 October 2015 / Accepted: 14 October 2015 / Published: 20 October 2015
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Abstract
Environmental protection and restoration are some of the major challenges faced by our society. To address this problem, it is fundamental to understand pro-environmental behaviors in the population, as well as the factors that determine them. There are, however, very few studies conducted
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Environmental protection and restoration are some of the major challenges faced by our society. To address this problem, it is fundamental to understand pro-environmental behaviors in the population, as well as the factors that determine them. There are, however, very few studies conducted in Latin America that are focused in understanding the environmental behavior of its citizens. The main goal of this research was to study the environmental behaviors of a Chilean community and identify the factors that determine them. To that end, a diverse set of environmental behaviors (power and water conservation, environmentally-aware consumer behavior, biodiversity protection, rational automobile use and ecological waste management) and sociodemographic and attitudinal factors—based on the VBN model—were evaluated. Survey data was obtained from a statistically representative sample (N = 1537) in Santiago, Chile. Our results suggest that several participants displayed tendencies that favor more responsible environmental behaviors, with high environmental concern, and demonstrating their ample awareness of the consequences of failing to protect the environment. Nevertheless, the highest average scores of environmental behavior were related to low cost behaviors and those that imposed the fewest behavioral restrictions. In global terms, we concluded that the youngest subjects in the lowest socioeconomic group obtained the lowest scores across the pro-environmental behavior spectrum. Full article
Open AccessArticle Measuring Resilience to Natural Hazards: Towards Sustainable Hazard Mitigation
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14153-14185; doi:10.3390/su71014153
Received: 29 April 2015 / Revised: 1 October 2015 / Accepted: 7 October 2015 / Published: 20 October 2015
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Abstract
Measuring resilience to natural hazards is a central issue in the hazard mitigation sciences. This paper applied a confirmatory factor methodology to operationalize the biophysical, built-environment, and socioeconomic resilience dimensions for local jurisdictions in large urban metropolitan areas in South Korea. Mapping the
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Measuring resilience to natural hazards is a central issue in the hazard mitigation sciences. This paper applied a confirmatory factor methodology to operationalize the biophysical, built-environment, and socioeconomic resilience dimensions for local jurisdictions in large urban metropolitan areas in South Korea. Mapping the factor scores of the dimensions revealed great spatial variations. The factor covariances showed a trade-off relationship between natural infrastructure and human activities. A hierarchical cluster analysis was used to classify the localities into heterogeneous groups with respect to the identified resilience dimensions. Densely developed and affluent urban areas tend to lack biophysical resilience. Some local governments, sorted into the same groups, turn out to be located in different metropolitan areas. The spatial variation and inequality in the resilience dimensions suggest the necessity of integrated and flexible governance for sustainable hazard mitigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Strategies to Adapt to Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Assessing and Monitoring the Sustainability in Rural World Heritage Sites
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14186-14210; doi:10.3390/su71014186
Received: 27 February 2015 / Revised: 12 October 2015 / Accepted: 15 October 2015 / Published: 21 October 2015
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Abstract
In 2002, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established the importance of the sustainability and the need of management plans for the safeguard of cultural heritage. No models, rules or specific definitions have been provided for this purpose. By 2014,
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In 2002, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established the importance of the sustainability and the need of management plans for the safeguard of cultural heritage. No models, rules or specific definitions have been provided for this purpose. By 2014, UNESCO had recognized 16 rural landscapes as cultural heritage sites. This paper aims to understand the management systems adopted by the rural World Heritage Sites over time in order to identify the best practices, strategies, actions and measures applied for the conservation of their universal value with a particular focus on sustainability. A comparative study, analyzing the management plans for these sites, was conducted. The drawing up of site management plans for such rural landscapes is a difficult process. In fact, private and public authorities and several stakeholders are involved, and all of them should participate actively in the decision making process. To ensure the sustainability of these sites, it is important to evaluate several parameters and to design an integrated plan. We focused on assessing and monitoring sustainability in rural World Heritage Sites, and our results could be useful for the implementation of existing plans and processes for drawing up management plans for future UNESCO cultural heritage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Geomorphological Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle Developing More Insights on Sustainable Consumption in China Based on Q Methodology
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14211-14229; doi:10.3390/su71014211
Received: 10 July 2015 / Revised: 5 September 2015 / Accepted: 14 October 2015 / Published: 21 October 2015
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Abstract
Being an important aspect of sustainable development, sustainable consumption has attracted great attention among Chinese politicians and academia, and Chinese governments have established policies that encourage sustainable consumption behaviors. However, unsustainable consumption behavior still remains predominant in China. This paper aims to classify
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Being an important aspect of sustainable development, sustainable consumption has attracted great attention among Chinese politicians and academia, and Chinese governments have established policies that encourage sustainable consumption behaviors. However, unsustainable consumption behavior still remains predominant in China. This paper aims to classify consumers with similar traits, in terms of the characteristics of practicing sustainable consumption, into one group, so that their traits can be clearly understood, to enable governments to establish pointed policies for different groups of consumers. Q methodology, generally used to reveal the subjectivity of human beings involved in any situation, is applied in this paper to classify Chinese consumers based on Q sample design and data collection and analysis. Next, the traits of each group are analyzed in detail and comparison analyses are also conducted to compare the common and differentiating factors among the three groups. The results show that Chinese consumers can be classified into three groups: sustainable (Group 1), potential sustainable (Group 2) and unsustainable consumers (Group 3), according to their values and attitudes towards sustainable consumption. As such, Group 1 cares for the environment and has strong environmental values. They understand sustainable consumption and its functions. Group 2 needs more enlightenments and external stimuli to motivate them to consume sustainably. Group 3 needs to be informed about and educated on sustainable consumption to enable them to change their consumption behavior from unsustainable to sustainable. Suggestions and implications of encouraging each group of consumers to engage in sustainable consumption are also provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Urban Lighting Project for a Small Town: Comparing Citizens and Authority Benefits
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14230-14244; doi:10.3390/su71014230
Received: 28 July 2015 / Revised: 14 October 2015 / Accepted: 15 October 2015 / Published: 21 October 2015
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Abstract
The smart and resilient city evolves by slow procedures of mutation without radical changes, increasing the livability of its territory. The value of the city center in a Smart City can increase through urban lighting systems: its elements on the territory can collect
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The smart and resilient city evolves by slow procedures of mutation without radical changes, increasing the livability of its territory. The value of the city center in a Smart City can increase through urban lighting systems: its elements on the territory can collect and convey data to increase services to city users; the electrical system becomes the so-called Smart Grid. This paper presents a study of smart lighting for a small town, a touristic location inside a nature reserve on the Italian coast. Three different approaches have been proposed, from minimal to more invasive interventions, and their effect on the territory has been investigated. Based on street typology and its surroundings, the work analyzes the opportunity to introduce smart and useful services for the citizens starting from a retrofitting intervention. Smart city capabilities are examined, showing how it is possible to provide new services to the cities through ICT (Information and Communication Technology) without deep changes and simplifying the control of basic city functions. The results evidence an important impact on annual energy costs, suggesting smart grid planning not only for metropolis applications, but also in smaller towns, such as the examined one. Full article
Open AccessArticle Building an Elastic Parallel OGC Web Processing Service on a Cloud-Based Cluster: A Case Study of Remote Sensing Data Processing Service
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14245-14258; doi:10.3390/su71014245
Received: 3 September 2015 / Revised: 4 October 2015 / Accepted: 14 October 2015 / Published: 21 October 2015
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Abstract
Since the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) proposed the geospatial Web Processing Service (WPS), standard OGC Web Service (OWS)-based geospatial processing has become the major type of distributed geospatial application. However, improving the performance and sustainability of the distributed geospatial applications has become the
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Since the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) proposed the geospatial Web Processing Service (WPS), standard OGC Web Service (OWS)-based geospatial processing has become the major type of distributed geospatial application. However, improving the performance and sustainability of the distributed geospatial applications has become the dominant challenge for OWSs. This paper presents the construction of an elastic parallel OGC WPS service on a cloud-based cluster and the designs of a high-performance, cloud-based WPS service architecture, the scalability scheme of the cloud, and the algorithm of the elastic parallel geoprocessing. Experiments of the remote sensing data processing service demonstrate that our proposed method can provide a higher-performance WPS service that uses less computing resources. Our proposed method can also help institutions reduce hardware costs, raise the rate of hardware usage, and conserve energy, which is important in building green and sustainable geospatial services or applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Informatics in Resource Management & Sustainable Ecosystem)
Open AccessArticle Exergy, Economic and Environmental Analyses of Gas Turbine Inlet Air Cooling with a Heat Pump Using a Novel System Configuration
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14259-14286; doi:10.3390/su71014259
Received: 9 August 2015 / Revised: 7 October 2015 / Accepted: 10 October 2015 / Published: 22 October 2015
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Abstract
Gas turbines incur a loss of output power during hot seasons due to high ambient air temperatures, and input air cooling systems are often used to partly offset this problem. Here, results are reported for an investigation of the utilization of a heat
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Gas turbines incur a loss of output power during hot seasons due to high ambient air temperatures, and input air cooling systems are often used to partly offset this problem. Here, results are reported for an investigation of the utilization of a heat pump to cool the inlet air of a gas turbine compressor. The analyses are carried out for two climates: the city of Yazd, Iran, which has a hot, arid climate, and Tehran, Iran, which has a temperate climate. The heat pump input power is obtained from the gas turbine. The following parameters are determined, with and without the heat pump: net output power, first and second law efficiencies, quantities and costs of environmental pollutants, entropy generation and power generation. The results suggest that, by using the air-inlet cooling system, the mean output power increases during hot seasons by 11.5% and 10% for Yazd and Tehran, respectively, and that the costs of power generation (including pollution costs) decrease by 11% and 10% for Yazd and Tehran, respectively. Also, the rate of generation of pollutants such as NOx and CO decrease by about 10% for Yazd and 35% for Tehran, while the average annual entropy generation rate increases by 9% for Yazd and 7% for Tehran, through air-inlet cooling. The average increase of the system first law efficiency is 2% and of the system second law efficiency is 1.5% with the inlet-air cooling system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Seismic Performance Evaluation of Multistory Reinforced Concrete Moment Resisting Frame Structure with Shear Walls
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14287-14308; doi:10.3390/su71014287
Received: 18 August 2015 / Revised: 7 October 2015 / Accepted: 11 October 2015 / Published: 22 October 2015
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Abstract
This paper is intended to evaluate the seismic performance of a twelve-story reinforced concrete moment-resisting frame structure with shear walls using 3D finite element models according to such seismic design regulations as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guideline and seismic building codes including
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This paper is intended to evaluate the seismic performance of a twelve-story reinforced concrete moment-resisting frame structure with shear walls using 3D finite element models according to such seismic design regulations as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guideline and seismic building codes including Los Angeles Tall Building Structural Design Council (LATBSDC) code. The structure is located in Seismic Zone 4, considered the highest-seismic-risk classification established by the U.S. Geological Survey. 3D finite element model was created in commercially available finite element software. As part of the seismic performance evaluation, two standard approaches for the structure seismic analysis were used; response spectrum analysis and nonlinear time-history analysis. Both approaches were used to compute inter-story drift ratios of the structure. Seismic fragility curves for each floor of the structure were generated using the ratios from the time history analysis with the FEMA guideline so as to evaluate their seismic vulnerability. The ratios from both approaches were compared to FEMA and LATBSDC limits. The findings revealed that the floor-level fragility mostly decreased for all the FEMA performance levels with an increase in height and the ratios from both approaches mostly satisfied the codified limits. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effects of Land Use and Slope Gradient on Soil Erosion in a Red Soil Hilly Watershed of Southern China
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14309-14325; doi:10.3390/su71014309
Received: 30 July 2015 / Revised: 15 October 2015 / Accepted: 16 October 2015 / Published: 22 October 2015
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Abstract
A study was undertaken to develop an appropriate plan of land use under suitable slope gradient to control soil erosion from a red soil hilly watershed of southern China by using the GeoWEPP (Geo-spatial Interface for the Water Erosion Prediction Project) model. The
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A study was undertaken to develop an appropriate plan of land use under suitable slope gradient to control soil erosion from a red soil hilly watershed of southern China by using the GeoWEPP (Geo-spatial Interface for the Water Erosion Prediction Project) model. The model was calibrated and validated using monitoring data of the outlet from 2010 to 2012, in which the 2010 and 2012 annual total runoff and sediment yield data were used for calibration, and the 2011 monthly runoff and sediment yield data for validation. The performance of the model in validation period were good with a high coefficient of determination values of 0.98 and 0.93 and Nash-Sutcliffe simulations of 0.96 and 0.91 while low root mean square error values of 6.91 mm and 0.35 t respectively for runoff and sediment yield. Subsequently, the model was used to simulate four typical land use (forest, farm, orchard, and fallow land) in the study area to evaluate their impacts on soil erosion production. The results showed that the runoff decreased by 44.7% and 61.1% for forest and orchard land compared to the current land use, as well as the sediment yield decreased by 43.7% and 68.6%. While the runoff and sediment yield increased by 52.2% and 42.6% for farm land, and 48.8% and 29.6% for fallow land. As the same time, soil erosion increased with increasing of the slope gradient of the quadratic regression equation for all land use. The critical slope gradient of 15° for returning the farmland to forest or others is suitable in the red soil region but is not accurate. The result of the study provides good scientific evidence for developing an appropriate plan of land use in the watershed and other similar areas. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Linear Model for the Estimation of Fuel Consumption and the Impact Evaluation of Advanced Driving Assistance Systems
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14326-14343; doi:10.3390/su71014326
Received: 3 August 2015 / Revised: 7 October 2015 / Accepted: 16 October 2015 / Published: 22 October 2015
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Abstract
Reduction of the environmental impact of cars represents one of the biggest transport industry challenges. Beyond more efficient engines, a promising approach is to use eco-driving technologies that help drivers achieve lower fuel consumption and emission levels. In this study, a real-time microscopic
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Reduction of the environmental impact of cars represents one of the biggest transport industry challenges. Beyond more efficient engines, a promising approach is to use eco-driving technologies that help drivers achieve lower fuel consumption and emission levels. In this study, a real-time microscopic fuel consumption model was developed. It was designed to be integrated into simulation platforms for the design and testing of Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS), aimed at keeping the vehicle within the environmentally friendly driving zone and hence reducing harmful exhaust gases. To allow integration in platforms employed at early stages of ADAS development and testing, the model was kept very simple and dependent on a few easily computable variables. To show the feasibility of the identification of the model (and to validate it), a large experiment involving more than 100 drivers and about 8000 km of driving was carried out using an instrumented vehicle. An instantaneous model was identified based on vehicle speed, acceleration level and gas pedal excursion, applicable in an extra-urban traffic context. Both instantaneous and aggregate validation was performed and the model was shown to estimate vehicle fuel consumption consistently with in-field instantaneous measurements. Very accurate estimations were also shown for the aggregate consumption of each driving session. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Sustainability and Challenges of Business Incubators in the Western Cape Province, South Africa
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14344-14357; doi:10.3390/su71014344
Received: 26 May 2015 / Revised: 5 October 2015 / Accepted: 10 October 2015 / Published: 22 October 2015
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Abstract
Notwithstanding the growing interest in business incubation programmes and the benefits derived from such programmes, the path is beset by numerous challenges. This paper investigates the challenges faced by business incubators (BIs) as they strive to support their clients. The study utilized a
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Notwithstanding the growing interest in business incubation programmes and the benefits derived from such programmes, the path is beset by numerous challenges. This paper investigates the challenges faced by business incubators (BIs) as they strive to support their clients. The study utilized a qualitative approach to collect data by way of interviews to gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of the concept and challenges of business incubators. The data were collected using structured and unstructured in-depth personal interviews, which were carried out with the respondents of business incubators in the Western Cape. The research participants for this study were limited to the business incubators on the database of a local organization that promotes small and medium enterprises (SMEs) development strategy and programmes in the Western Cape Province. All five business incubators on the database were deemed suitable for the study. The results indicated that an average of twenty-five entrepreneurs graduated from the incubation programme in the last five years. Furthermore, lack of sponsorship, production space, advanced technological facilities (prototype) and expansion to different areas were found to be among the challenges hindering incubators. Full article
Open AccessArticle Team Organization Method Using Salary Auction Game for Sustainable Motivation
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14358-14370; doi:10.3390/su71014358
Received: 3 April 2015 / Revised: 17 October 2015 / Accepted: 20 October 2015 / Published: 23 October 2015
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Abstract
In performing team-based projects in engineering class, students usually face many problems, such as free-riding, lack of responsibility, boredom, and insufficient initiative. This papers proposes a new method for performing team-based projects in engineering class—specifically, a gamified method for team organization using a
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In performing team-based projects in engineering class, students usually face many problems, such as free-riding, lack of responsibility, boredom, and insufficient initiative. This papers proposes a new method for performing team-based projects in engineering class—specifically, a gamified method for team organization using a salary auction game. On the description of the design and use of a salary auction game in engineering class, a case study conducted using a survey method is reported to validate the practical value of the proposed auction game. The salary auction game proposed in this paper demonstrates that a gamified team organization method in engineering class could be used as an effective tool to enhance motivation and to improve learning outcomes of engineering students. Full article
Open AccessArticle Typology of Cities Based on City Biodiversity Index: Exploring Biodiversity Potentials and Possible Collaborations among Japanese Cities
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14371-14384; doi:10.3390/su71014371
Received: 31 March 2015 / Revised: 15 October 2015 / Accepted: 15 October 2015 / Published: 23 October 2015
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Abstract
A City Biodiversity Index (CBI) has been proposed and applied at the international level to enable local municipalities and cities to manage biodiversity and ecosystem services in a sustainable manner. CBI databases are being constructed as global platforms, though the available dataset is
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A City Biodiversity Index (CBI) has been proposed and applied at the international level to enable local municipalities and cities to manage biodiversity and ecosystem services in a sustainable manner. CBI databases are being constructed as global platforms, though the available dataset is limited. The land-use dataset is one of the datasets that can be utilized to apply the CBI on the national level in countries including Japan. To demonstrate the importance and potential of the CBI under the limitation of the available dataset, we attempted to apply the CBI to the 791 Japanese cities by using available land-use indicators, and categorized the cities based on the indicators. The focus of the CBI is self-assessment, but we propose that grouping of cities with similar profiles is possible and can serve as a basis for potential collaboration. Coordinating policies on various scales is necessary in order to enhance biodiversity on a global scale; one option is to increase collaboration among cities. As a result, we found three groups with similar characteristics amongst cities with forests, paddies, and croplands as major compositions in terms of biodiversity. These findings will contribute to policy formation and efficient information sharing for ecosystem services management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Spatial-Temporal Hotspot Pattern Analysis of Provincial Environmental Pollution Incidents and Related Regional Sustainable Management in China in the Period 1995–2012
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14385-14407; doi:10.3390/su71014385
Received: 22 July 2015 / Revised: 19 October 2015 / Accepted: 20 October 2015 / Published: 26 October 2015
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Abstract
Spatial-temporal hotspot pattern analysis of environmental pollution incidents provides an indispensable source of information for the further development of incident prevention measures. In this study, the spatial-temporal patterns of environmental pollution incidents in China in the period of 1995–2012 were analyzed, using the
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Spatial-temporal hotspot pattern analysis of environmental pollution incidents provides an indispensable source of information for the further development of incident prevention measures. In this study, the spatial-temporal patterns of environmental pollution incidents in China in the period of 1995–2012 were analyzed, using the Spatial Getis-Ord statistic and an Improved Prediction Accuracy Index (IAPI). The results show that, in this period, the occurrence of environmental incidents exhibited a dynamic growth pattern but then dropped and continued to drop after the year 2006, which was considered a crucial turning point. Not coincidentally, this corresponds to the year when the State Council issued its National Environmental Emergency Plan, and following the examination of major incidents, special actions were taken to strengthen the control of incidents and emergency responses. The results from Getis-Ord General G statistical analysis show that the spatial agglomeration phenomenon was statistically significant after 1999 and that the level of spatial agglomeration was rising, while the Getis-Ord Gi* statistical analysis reveals that environmental pollution incidents were mainly agglomerated in the Pan Yangtze River Delta and Pan Pearl River Delta regions. Accordingly, the spatial-temporal hotspot pattern based on the IAPI values at the provincial scale could be categorized into: stable hotspots, unstable hotspots, and cold-spot areas. The stable hotspots category was further divided into three subtypes: industrial distribution type, industrial transfer type, and extensive economic growth type. Finally, the corresponding measures for sustainable management were proposed: stable hotspots were classified as essential regions requiring the immediate prevention and control of environmental pollution incidents; unstable hotspots were characterized by their need for ongoing and continual prevention measures, and cold-spots were those areas that required strengthened environmental monitoring. Meanwhile, it was identified that a multi-level environmental pollution incident emergency response and regional (incident) joint control plan needed to be well prepared and carried out effectively. To prevent environmental pollution and the regional transfer of pollution from incidents, measures towards achieving regional environmental planning, environmental risk prevention, environmental emergency monitoring and adequate emergency responses must be efficiently implemented. Full article
Open AccessArticle Influencing Factors of Energy-Related CO2 Emissions in China: A Decomposition Analysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14408-14426; doi:10.3390/su71014408
Received: 11 September 2015 / Revised: 7 October 2015 / Accepted: 21 October 2015 / Published: 26 October 2015
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Abstract
China is the largest CO2 emitter in the world and is still reliant on energy consumption for economic growth. Research has focused on effective approaches of reducing and mitigating CO2 emissions. This paper undertakes a decomposition study of energy-related CO2
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China is the largest CO2 emitter in the world and is still reliant on energy consumption for economic growth. Research has focused on effective approaches of reducing and mitigating CO2 emissions. This paper undertakes a decomposition study of energy-related CO2 emissions from the industrial and household sectors during the period 1996–2012, with the objectives of investigating trends of the changes in energy-related CO2 emissions, the driving forces of these changes, and approaches of mitigating CO2 emission. Results show the following: (1) the expansion of economic activity is the dominant stimulatory factor of the increase of CO2 emissions in China and that a sustained increase in CO2 emissions can be expected; (2) the decline in energy intensity and the adjustment of energy mix and industrial structure effectively mitigate CO2 emissions; and (3) the government should give more attention to enhancing the energy utility efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions in rural households. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview Sustainable and Renewable Energy: An Overview of the Application of Multiple Criteria Decision Making Techniques and Approaches
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13947-13984; doi:10.3390/su71013947
Received: 2 September 2015 / Revised: 21 September 2015 / Accepted: 30 September 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
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Abstract
The main purpose of this paper is to present a systematic review of MCDM techniques and approaches in sustainable and renewable energy systems problems. This study reviewed a total of 54 papers published from 2003–2015 in more than 20 high-ranking journals, most related
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The main purpose of this paper is to present a systematic review of MCDM techniques and approaches in sustainable and renewable energy systems problems. This study reviewed a total of 54 papers published from 2003–2015 in more than 20 high-ranking journals, most related to sustainable and renewable energies, and which were extracted from the Web of Science database. In the category of application areas, papers were classified into two main groups: (1) sustainable energy and (2) renewable energy. Furthermore, in the classification of techniques and approaches, the papers were categorized into six groups: (1) AHP and F-AHP; (2) ANP and VIKOR; (3) TOPSIS and F-TOPSIS; (4) PROMETHEE; (5) integrated methods and (6) other methods. In addition, papers were reviewed based on the authors’ nationalities, the publication date, techniques and approaches, the name of journal and studies criteria. The results of this study indicated that, in 2015, scholars have published more papers than in other years. Furthermore, AHP/fuzzy AHP and integrated methods were ranked as the first rank, with 14 papers. Additionally, Journal of Renewable Energy is the first journal, with 16 publications, and this was the most significant journal in this study. Findings of this review paper confirm that MCDM techniques can assist stakeholders and decision makers in unravelling some of the uncertainties inherent in environmental decision making, and these techniques demonstrate a growing interest of previous scholars to apply these techniques for solving different stages of sustainable and renewable energy systems. Full article

Other

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Open AccessProject Report Participatory Development of Key Sustainability Concepts for Dialogue and Curricula at The Ohio State University
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14063-14091; doi:10.3390/su71014063
Received: 25 July 2015 / Revised: 24 September 2015 / Accepted: 13 October 2015 / Published: 20 October 2015
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Abstract
The Ohio State University (OSU) is one of the many universities committed to sustainability within its operations, traditions, and university framework. The university continues to evolve in relation to its sustainability goals, and currently seeks to both build on and deepen the culture
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The Ohio State University (OSU) is one of the many universities committed to sustainability within its operations, traditions, and university framework. The university continues to evolve in relation to its sustainability goals, and currently seeks to both build on and deepen the culture of sustainability at OSU. One way to do this is through increasing the sustainability literacy of students on campus, by creating an introductory sustainability curriculum, which would put forth the definitions, concepts, and initiatives that represent sustainability at Ohio State. However, before such a curriculum can be developed, it is important to first understand the current sustainability perceptions at OSU: what definition does the university want to embrace? What is most pertinent to teach OSU students? Twenty sustainability leaders across the university were interviewed in a participatory development process to produce consensus-based, local definitional concepts that are not only beneficial for student knowledge, but for OSU sustainability progress as a whole. The results of their recommendations have provided a solid framework from which the university can build in its future curricular efforts, and provides insights that may be particularly helpful in promoting sustainability in other large American universities. This study also describes a case of using participatory development (PD) methods, which have been under-utilized in a higher education setting, particularly in sustainability implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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