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Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 2 (February 2015), Pages 1099-2273

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Open AccessArticle From Theory to Practice: Enhancing the Potential Policy Impact of Industrial Ecology
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2259-2273; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7022259
Received: 1 December 2014 / Revised: 10 February 2015 / Accepted: 12 February 2015 / Published: 17 February 2015
Cited by 23 | PDF Full-text (219 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Industrial ecology introduced a new paradigm of principles and tools useful to academic analysis and decision support activities for industry and policymakers. This paper presents a view of the state of the art of industrial ecology, encompassing the four major theoretical traditions comprising
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Industrial ecology introduced a new paradigm of principles and tools useful to academic analysis and decision support activities for industry and policymakers. This paper presents a view of the state of the art of industrial ecology, encompassing the four major theoretical traditions comprising the field, and emphasizing the relevance to practice. The principles of industrial ecology offer a basis for integrating environmental perspectives into production and consumption strategies, though there are significant challenges to be addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessEditorial Sustainability Best Paper Awards for 2015
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2256-2258; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7022256
Received: 16 February 2015 / Accepted: 17 February 2015 / Published: 17 February 2015
PDF Full-text (124 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability is instituting annual awards to recognize the most outstanding papers in the areas of environmental, cultural, economic, technical and social sustainability of human beings published in Sustainability. [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Using GMDH Neural Networks to Model the Power and Torque of a Stirling Engine
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2243-2255; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7022243
Received: 4 December 2014 / Revised: 3 February 2015 / Accepted: 10 February 2015 / Published: 17 February 2015
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (180 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Different variables affect the performance of the Stirling engine and are considered in optimization and designing activities. Among these factors, torque and power have the greatest effect on the robustness of the Stirling engine, so they need to be determined with low uncertainty
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Different variables affect the performance of the Stirling engine and are considered in optimization and designing activities. Among these factors, torque and power have the greatest effect on the robustness of the Stirling engine, so they need to be determined with low uncertainty and high precision. In this article, the distribution of torque and power are determined using experimental data. Specifically, a novel polynomial approach is proposed to specify torque and power, on the basis of previous experimental work. This research addresses the question of whether GMDH (group method of data handling)-type neural networks can be utilized to predict the torque and power based on determined parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessReview Soil Quality Impacts of Current South American Agricultural Practices
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2213-2242; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7022213
Received: 19 November 2014 / Revised: 17 January 2015 / Accepted: 10 February 2015 / Published: 17 February 2015
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (1043 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increasing global demand for oil seeds and cereals during the past 50 years has caused an expansion in the cultivated areas and resulted in major soil management and crop production changes throughout Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and southern Brazil. Unprecedented adoption of no-tillage
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Increasing global demand for oil seeds and cereals during the past 50 years has caused an expansion in the cultivated areas and resulted in major soil management and crop production changes throughout Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and southern Brazil. Unprecedented adoption of no-tillage as well as improved soil fertility and plant genetics have increased yields, but the use of purchased inputs, monocropping i.e., continuous soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.), and marginal land cultivation have also increased. These changes have significantly altered the global food and feed supply role of these countries, but they have also resulted in various levels of soil degradation through wind and water erosion, soil compaction, soil organic matter (SOM) depletion, and nutrient losses. Sustainability is dependent upon local interactions between soil, climate, landscape characteristics, and production systems. This review examines the region’s current soil and crop conditions and summarizes several research studies designed to reduce or prevent soil degradation. Although the region has both environmental and soil resources that can sustain current agricultural production levels, increasing population, greater urbanization, and more available income will continue to increase the pressure on South American croplands. A better understanding of regional soil differences and quantifying potential consequences of current production practices on various soil resources is needed to ensure that scientific, educational, and regulatory programs result in land management recommendations that support intensification of agriculture without additional soil degradation or other unintended environmental consequences. Full article
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Open AccessReview Bioremediation of Heavy Metals from Soil and Aquatic Environment: An Overview of Principles and Criteria of Fundamental Processes
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2189-2212; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7022189
Received: 11 September 2014 / Revised: 21 January 2015 / Accepted: 11 February 2015 / Published: 17 February 2015
Cited by 96 | PDF Full-text (774 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Heavy metals are natural constituents of the environment, but indiscriminate use for human purposes has altered their geochemical cycles and biochemical balance. This results in excess release of heavy metals such as cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, zinc etc. into natural resources like the
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Heavy metals are natural constituents of the environment, but indiscriminate use for human purposes has altered their geochemical cycles and biochemical balance. This results in excess release of heavy metals such as cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, zinc etc. into natural resources like the soil and aquatic environments. Prolonged exposure and higher accumulation of such heavy metals can have deleterious health effects on human life and aquatic biota. The role of microorganisms and plants in biotransformation of heavy metals into nontoxic forms is well-documented, and understanding the molecular mechanism of metal accumulation has numerous biotechnological implications for bioremediation of metal-contaminated sites. In view of this, the present review investigates the abilities of microorganisms and plants in terms of tolerance and degradation of heavy metals. Also, advances in bioremediation technologies and strategies to explore these immense and valuable biological resources for bioremediation are discussed. An assessment of the current status of technology deployment and suggestions for future bioremediation research has also been included. Finally, there is a discussion of the genetic and molecular basis of metal tolerance in microbes, with special reference to the genomics of heavy metal accumulator plants and the identification of functional genes involved in tolerance and detoxification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Threats to Sustainability of Soil Functions in Central and Southeast Europe
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2161-2188; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7022161
Received: 14 December 2014 / Revised: 11 February 2015 / Accepted: 12 February 2015 / Published: 16 February 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (2141 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A diverse topography along with deforestation, changing climatic conditions, long-term human settlement, overuse of agricultural lands without sustainable planning, cultural difficulties in accepting conservative land management practices, and wrong political decisions have increased the vulnerability of many soils to degradation and resulted in
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A diverse topography along with deforestation, changing climatic conditions, long-term human settlement, overuse of agricultural lands without sustainable planning, cultural difficulties in accepting conservative land management practices, and wrong political decisions have increased the vulnerability of many soils to degradation and resulted in a serious decline in their functional capacity. A progressive reduction in the capacity of soils to support plant productivity is not only a threat in the African continent and its large desert zone, but also in several parts of Central and Southeastern Europe (CASEE). The loss of soil functions throughout CASEE is mainly related to the human activities that have profound influence on soil dynamic characteristics. Improper management of soils has made them more vulnerable to degradation through water and wind erosion, organic matter depletion, salinity, acidification, crusting and sealing, and compaction. Unmitigated degradation has substantial implications for long term sustainability of the soils’ capability to support human communities and resist desertification. If sustainable agricultural and land management practices are not identified, well understood and implemented, the decline in soil quality will continue and probably accelerate. The lack of uniform criteria for the assessment and evaluation of soil quality in CASEE countries prevents scientific assessments to determine if existing management practices are leading to soil quality improvement, or if not, what management practices should be recommended to mitigate and reverse the loss of soil health. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Study on Project Duration Incentives in a Retail Apparel Franchise
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2145-2160; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7022145
Received: 30 October 2014 / Revised: 10 February 2015 / Accepted: 12 February 2015 / Published: 16 February 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (783 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper studies the impact on project duration of different forms of over-confidence among general contractors executing such projects, in the context of retail apparel franchises. It goes on to consider the design of relevant incentives and, in particular, a compensation mechanism included
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This paper studies the impact on project duration of different forms of over-confidence among general contractors executing such projects, in the context of retail apparel franchises. It goes on to consider the design of relevant incentives and, in particular, a compensation mechanism included in the initial contract that covers the event of contractor dismissal. This mechanism is examined as a means of hedging risk arising from the behavior of the principal. This includes a study of a two-way risk avoidance strategy, which is intended to make up for a shortfall in this regard in the existing literature. Outcomes derived from this research include the conclusion that different levels of confidence can have various impacts on optimal incentive coefficients and the effort level extracted from agents, thereby affecting the ultimate configuration of an optimal contract. Introducing a compensation mechanism covering the event of dismissal can serve to diminish the risk of an agent breaching their contract. This paper applies the concept of bounded rationality to a principal-agent model, ensuring conclusions that are attuned to reality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Fashion Business Operations)
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Open AccessArticle Proposal of a Sustainability Index for the Automotive Industry
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2113-2144; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7022113
Received: 10 November 2014 / Revised: 8 February 2015 / Accepted: 9 February 2015 / Published: 16 February 2015
Cited by 26 | PDF Full-text (784 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In a scenario of increasing globalization, sustainable development has emerged as an attractive and strategic issue for both countries and individual organizations and their supply chains. Companies have faced different challenges in seeking to combine the best economic performance with increased social and
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In a scenario of increasing globalization, sustainable development has emerged as an attractive and strategic issue for both countries and individual organizations and their supply chains. Companies have faced different challenges in seeking to combine the best economic performance with increased social and environmental responsibility. Monitoring sustainability is essential for decision-making and management of activities that comprise an organization’s system processes. Evaluation can be performed using indices or a set of indicators. In addition to increasing organizational effectiveness and improving competitiveness, customer service and profitability, it is also a crucial influence on the development of business sustainability. This paper proposes a sustainability index that provides companies with information about their level of economic, social and environmental sustainability, showing their performance at both individual and supply chain level. The importance of the indicators is assessed by using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) methodology applied to a case study of a supply chain in the automotive industry. The various stages experienced during the construction of the index are also shown. The final results achieved are then presented and discussed in light of the objectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability, Efficiency and Equitability of Water Consumption and Pollution in Latin America and the Caribbean
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2086-2112; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7022086
Received: 12 December 2014 / Revised: 6 February 2015 / Accepted: 9 February 2015 / Published: 16 February 2015
Cited by 20 | PDF Full-text (3701 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper assesses the sustainability, efficiency and equity of water use in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) by means of a geographic Water Footprint Assessment (WFA). It aims to provide understanding of water use from both a production and consumption point of
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This paper assesses the sustainability, efficiency and equity of water use in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) by means of a geographic Water Footprint Assessment (WFA). It aims to provide understanding of water use from both a production and consumption point of view. The study identifies priority basins and areas from the perspectives of blue water scarcity, water pollution and deforestation. Wheat, fodder crops and sugarcane are identified as priority products related to blue water scarcity. The domestic sector is the priority sector regarding water pollution from nitrogen. Soybean and pasture are priority products related to deforestation. We estimate that consumptive water use in crop production could be reduced by 37% and nitrogen-related water pollution by 44% if water footprints were reduced to certain specified benchmark levels. The average WF per consumer in the region is 28% larger than the global average and varies greatly, from 912 m3/year per capita in Nicaragua to 3468 m3/year in Bolivia. Ironically, the LAC region shows significant levels of undernourishment, although there is abundant water and food production in the region and substantial use of land and water for producing export crops like soybean. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprints and Sustainable Water Allocation)
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Open AccessArticle Measurement and Numerical Simulation of Air Velocity in a Tunnel-Ventilated Broiler House
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2066-2085; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7022066
Received: 23 October 2014 / Revised: 5 February 2015 / Accepted: 6 February 2015 / Published: 13 February 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (3153 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A building needs to be designed for the whole period of its useful life according to its requirements. However, future climate predictions involve some uncertainty. Thus, several sustainable strategies of adaptation need to be incorporated after the initial design. In this sense, tunnel
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A building needs to be designed for the whole period of its useful life according to its requirements. However, future climate predictions involve some uncertainty. Thus, several sustainable strategies of adaptation need to be incorporated after the initial design. In this sense, tunnel ventilation in broiler houses provides high air velocity values (2–3 m·s−1) at animal level to diminish their thermal stress and associated mortality. This ventilation system was experimentally incorporated into a Mediterranean climate. The aim was to resolve these thermal problems in hot seasons, as (traditional) cross-mechanical ventilation does not provide enough air velocity values. Surprisingly, very little information on tunnel ventilation systems is available, especially in terms of air velocity. Using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and a multi-sensor system, the average results are similar (at animal level: 1.59 ± 0.68 m·s−1 for CFD and 1.55 ± 0.66 m·s−1 for measurements). The ANOVA for validation concluded that the use of CFD or measurements is not significant (p-value = 0.1155). Nevertheless, some problems with air velocity distribution were found and need to be solved. To this end, CFD techniques can help by means of virtual designs and scenarios providing information for the whole indoor space. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Cross-Scale and Cross-Level Dynamics: Governance and Capacity for Resilience in a Social-Ecological System in Taiwan
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2045-2065; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7022045
Received: 24 December 2014 / Revised: 29 January 2015 / Accepted: 9 February 2015 / Published: 13 February 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (818 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Resilience thinking has strongly influenced how people understand and pursue sustainability of linked social-ecological systems. Resilience thinking highlights the need to build capacity and manage general system properties in a complex, constantly changing world. I modified an analytical framework to address associations among
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Resilience thinking has strongly influenced how people understand and pursue sustainability of linked social-ecological systems. Resilience thinking highlights the need to build capacity and manage general system properties in a complex, constantly changing world. I modified an analytical framework to address associations among cross-scale and cross-level dynamics, attributes of governance, and capacity to enhance resilience. The Danungdafu Forestation Area represents one of Taiwan’s most controvisal cases concerning land use, indigenous rights, and environmental issues. Analysis of this Taiwanese experience from a social-ecological perspective can show how current capacities for managing resilience are related to critical governance attributes. Analysis helped identify fundamental flaws in current governance and key issues needing to be addressed. The Danungdafu Forestation Area should transition towards a governance regime that is more participatory, deliberative, multi-layered, accountable, just, and networked. This can be done by developing an intermediate level institution that coordinates the cross-scale and cross-level interactions that better fit this social-ecological system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
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Open AccessArticle VCC-SSF: Service-Oriented Security Framework for Vehicular Cloud Computing
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2028-2044; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7022028
Received: 20 December 2014 / Accepted: 6 February 2015 / Published: 13 February 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2094 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recently, as vehicle computing technology has advanced, the paradigm of the vehicle has changed from a simple means of transportation to a smart vehicle for safety and convenience. In addition, the previous functions of the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) such as traffic accident
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Recently, as vehicle computing technology has advanced, the paradigm of the vehicle has changed from a simple means of transportation to a smart vehicle for safety and convenience. In addition, the previous functions of the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) such as traffic accident prevention and providing traffic volume information have been combined with cloud computing. ITS services provide user-oriented broad services in the Vehicular Cloud Computing (VCC) environment through efficient traffic management, traffic accident prevention, and convenience services. However, existing vehicle services focus on providing services using sensing information inside the vehicle and the system to provide the service through an interface with the external infrastructure is insufficient. In addition, because wireless networks are used in VCC environments, there is a risk of important information leakage from sensors inside the vehicle, such as driver personal identification and payment information at the time of goods purchase. We propose the VCC Service-oriented Security Framework (VCC-SSF) to address the limitations and security threats of VCC-based services. The proposed framework considers security for convenient and efficient services of VCC and includes new user-oriented payment management and active accident management services. Furthermore, it provides authentication, encryption, access control, confidentiality, integrity, and privacy protection for user personal information and information inside the vehicle. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of the Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Lake and Reservoir Water Quality in China and Changes in Its Relationship with GDP from 2005 to 2010
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 2000-2027; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7022000
Received: 22 October 2014 / Revised: 6 January 2015 / Accepted: 23 January 2015 / Published: 12 February 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2072 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We analyzed the spatial distribution of lake and reservoir water quality in China, and the trends from 2005 to 2010, based on monitoring data from 28 large Chinese lakes and reservoirs. We used a comprehensive water pollution index (WPI) to describe water quality
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We analyzed the spatial distribution of lake and reservoir water quality in China, and the trends from 2005 to 2010, based on monitoring data from 28 large Chinese lakes and reservoirs. We used a comprehensive water pollution index (WPI) to describe water quality and also identified the major pollutants. Using GDP data, we analyzed the relationships between economic factors and water quality. We found that although the water quality of large reservoirs is improving or remaining stable, despite economic growth, the water quality of most lakes either did not change or worsened. The outlook is pessimistic, as water quality in most lakes has decreased to Grade V or worse. The water quality was lowest for northern lakes and highest for southern lakes due to a combination of the local industrial structure and lower rainfall in the north. The primary pollutants generally remained stable during the study period. For some lakes, fluoride and volatile phenols became the primary pollutants, indicating more diverse sources of contamination. We divided the 28 bodies of water into four types based on the median WPI and GDP. The dominant combinations were low WPI with low GDP and high WPI with high GDP, as a result of the balance among economic development, the natural environment and environmental policy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Educating the Aware, Informed and Action-Oriented Sustainable Citizen
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1985-1999; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7021985
Received: 2 November 2014 / Accepted: 31 January 2015 / Published: 12 February 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1599 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Introduction to Sustainability course at the University of Iowa seeks to educate the aware, informed and action-oriented sustainable citizen. A phenomenographic analysis and retrospective pretest were utilized to determine how students formed conceptions of sustainability as a result of completing the course.
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The Introduction to Sustainability course at the University of Iowa seeks to educate the aware, informed and action-oriented sustainable citizen. A phenomenographic analysis and retrospective pretest were utilized to determine how students formed conceptions of sustainability as a result of completing the course. The study indicated that student conceptions of sustainability can be characterized by the “aware, informed and action-oriented” spectrum. In written reflections following service-learning experiences, students provided ample examples of “awareness moments” where they expressed a first encounter with a wicked problem. In these same reflections, students provided examples of being able to move beyond awareness toward an action-orientation. Many students that were called to action through a service-learning experience expressed hesitation regarding their level of knowledge regarding certain issues. But, many students with this hesitation decided their next action step would be to become more informed. Therefore, even when confronted by a sustainability issue or dilemma that students felt were beyond their knowledge level, they many times expressed an action pathway to become more informed. By challenging student thought processes and exposing the immediate need for global change, the Introduction to Sustainability course empowered students to become aware, informed, and action-oriented sustainable citizens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Development for Solar Heating Systems in Taiwan
Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1970-1984; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7021970
Received: 8 January 2015 / Accepted: 6 February 2015 / Published: 12 February 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1020 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In response to the impact of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, developing and using renewable energy sources and technologies have become vital for managing energy supply and demand in Taiwan. The long-term subsidy programs (1986–1991, 2000–present) for solar water heaters
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In response to the impact of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, developing and using renewable energy sources and technologies have become vital for managing energy supply and demand in Taiwan. The long-term subsidy programs (1986–1991, 2000–present) for solar water heaters (SWHs) launched by the Taiwanese government constitute the main driving force for market expansion. By the end of 2013, the cumulative area of installed solar collectors was 2.27 million m2. Approximately 0.3 million systems (or 1.545 million m2) are in operation. This corresponds to an annual collector yield of 0.92 TWh, which is equivalent to savings of 98.7 thousand tons of oil and 319 thousand tons of CO2,eq. The market-driven mechanism is associated with cost-to-benefit ratios, construction businesses, types of building architecture, degree of urbanization and household composition. The strong wind load of typhoons is another major concern. For sustaining the solar thermal industry in Taiwan, the dominant factor for disseminating SWHs in metropolitan areas involves developing building-integrated solar thermal systems. Alternative financial incentives are required for industrial heating processes in the commercial sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development)
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