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Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 9 (September 2015), Pages 11360-12973

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review, Other

Open AccessEditorial Introduction to the Special Issue on the Economics of Climate Change Impacts on Developing Countries: Selected Studies on Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12122-12126; doi:10.3390/su70912122
Received: 18 August 2015 / Revised: 18 August 2015 / Accepted: 21 August 2015 / Published: 1 September 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (622 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Within the last century, the global average temperature increased by about 1 °C and this rate of increase may accelerate over the course of the 21st century [1]. Although estimates of climate change are based on projections and probabilistic assessments, ample evidence exists
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Within the last century, the global average temperature increased by about 1 °C and this rate of increase may accelerate over the course of the 21st century [1]. Although estimates of climate change are based on projections and probabilistic assessments, ample evidence exists that climate change impacts are likely to become more profound in this century, particularly if mitigation policies are absent or inadequate [1,2]. It has been argued that, relative to keeping the warming at 2 °C or lower, the global cost of continuing with “business as usual” may be 5 to 20 times higher [3,4]. [...] Full article
Open AccessEditorial Soil Degradation: Will Humankind Ever Learn?
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12490-12501; doi:10.3390/su70912490
Received: 10 July 2015 / Revised: 26 August 2015 / Accepted: 3 September 2015 / Published: 11 September 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2115 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil degradation is a global problem caused by many factors including excessive tillage, inappropriate crop rotations, excessive grazing or crop residue removal, deforestation, mining, construction and urban sprawl. To meet the needs of an expanding global population, it is essential for humankind to
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Soil degradation is a global problem caused by many factors including excessive tillage, inappropriate crop rotations, excessive grazing or crop residue removal, deforestation, mining, construction and urban sprawl. To meet the needs of an expanding global population, it is essential for humankind to recognize and understand that improving soil health by adopting sustainable agricultural and land management practices is the best solution for mitigating and reversing current soil degradation trends. This research editorial is intended to provide an overview for this Special Issue of Sustainability that examines the global problem of soil degradation through reviews and recent research studies addressing soil health in Africa, Australia, China, Europe, India, North and South America, and Russia. Two common factors—soil erosion and depletion of soil organic matter (SOM)—emerge as consistent indicators of how “the thin layer covering the planet that stands between us and starvation” is being degraded. Soil degradation is not a new problem but failing to acknowledge, mitigate, and remediate the multiple factors leading to it is no longer a viable option for humankind. We optimistically conclude that the most promising strategies to mitigate soil degradation are to select appropriate land uses and improve soil management practices so that SOM is increased, soil biology is enhanced, and all forms of erosion are reduced. Collectively, these actions will enable humankind to “take care of the soil so it can take care of us”. Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Emergy Evaluation of Different Straw Reuse Technologies in Northeast China
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11360-11377; doi:10.3390/su70911360
Received: 8 July 2015 / Revised: 7 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1265 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Open burning of straw in China has degraded agricultural environments and has become a contributor to air pollution. Development of efficient straw-reuse technologies not only can yield economic benefits but also can protect the environment and can provide greater benefit to society. Thus,
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Open burning of straw in China has degraded agricultural environments and has become a contributor to air pollution. Development of efficient straw-reuse technologies not only can yield economic benefits but also can protect the environment and can provide greater benefit to society. Thus, the overall benefits of straw-reuse technologies must be considered when making regional development planning and enterprise technology decisions. In addition, agricultural areas in China cross several climatic zones and have different weather characteristics and cultural conditions. In the present study, we assessed five types of straw-reuse technologies (straw-biogas production, -briquetting, -based power generation, -gasification, and -bioethanol production), using emergy analysis, in northeast China. Within each type, five individual cases were investigated, and the highest-performing cases were used for comparison across technologies. Emergy indices for comprehensive benefits for each category, namely, EYR, ELR, and ESI were calculated. Calculated indices suggest that straw-briquetting and -biogas production are the most beneficial technologies in terms of economy, environmental impact, and sustainability compared to straw-based power generation, -gasification, and -bioethanol production technologies. These two technologies can thus be considered the most suitable for straw reuse in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Use of Biomass Energy)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Modernization of the Russian Power Utilities Industry
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11378-11400; doi:10.3390/su70911378
Received: 8 June 2015 / Revised: 4 August 2015 / Accepted: 12 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (862 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Our paper analyzes the issue of managing structural and technological modernization of the Russian power utilities industry based on the basic criteria of sustainable development. We have chosen coal-fired generation and its defining technologies as the main subject for our analysis. Key points
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Our paper analyzes the issue of managing structural and technological modernization of the Russian power utilities industry based on the basic criteria of sustainable development. We have chosen coal-fired generation and its defining technologies as the main subject for our analysis. Key points of the Russian power utilities development strategy that has been drawn up to 2030 are compared against the basic principles of sustainable development. Moreover, a mathematical economic model is proposed to justify the choice of coal-fired power plant technology from the standpoint of economic, social, and environmental efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Temperature Vegetation Dryness Index Estimation of Soil Moisture under Different Tree Species
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11401-11417; doi:10.3390/su70911401
Received: 1 July 2015 / Revised: 11 August 2015 / Accepted: 12 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1743 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Laoshan forest is the largest forest in Nanjing, and it plays an important role in water resource management in Nanjing. The objectives of this study are to determine if the temperature vegetation dryness index (TVDI) is suitable to estimate the soil moisture
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The Laoshan forest is the largest forest in Nanjing, and it plays an important role in water resource management in Nanjing. The objectives of this study are to determine if the temperature vegetation dryness index (TVDI) is suitable to estimate the soil moisture and if soil moisture is significantly affected by tree species in the Laoshan forest. This paper calculated the spatial distribution of TVDI using LANDSAT-5 TM data. Sixty-two observation points of in situ soil moisture measurements were selected to validate the effectiveness of the TVDI as an index for assessing soil moisture in the Laoshan forest. With the aid of the three different temporal patterns, which are 10 January 2011, 18 May 2011 and 23 September 2011, this paper used the TVDI to investigate the differences of soil moisture under four kinds of mono-species forests and two kinds of mixed forests. The results showed that there is a strong and significant negative correlation between the TVDI and the in situ measured soil moisture (R2 = 0.15–0.8, SE = 0.015–0.041 cm3/cm3). This means that the TVDI can reflect the soil moisture status under different tree species in the Laoshan forest. The soil moisture under these six types of land cover from low to high is listed in the following order: Eucommia ulmoides, Quercus acutissima, broadleaf mixed forest, Cunninghamia lanceolata, coniferous and broadleaf mixed forest and Pinus massoniana. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Emergence and Spread of Ecourban Neighbourhoods around the World
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11418-11437; doi:10.3390/su70911418
Received: 19 December 2014 / Revised: 28 July 2015 / Accepted: 12 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (880 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In modern times, efforts to construct sustainable alternative neighbourhood scale developments date to isolated voluntary initiatives in 1970s Europe and the United States. Since about 2006, they have increased rapidly in popularity. They now go by many names: ecodistricts, écoquartiers, eco-cities, zero/low-carbon/carbon-positive cities,
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In modern times, efforts to construct sustainable alternative neighbourhood scale developments date to isolated voluntary initiatives in 1970s Europe and the United States. Since about 2006, they have increased rapidly in popularity. They now go by many names: ecodistricts, écoquartiers, eco-cities, zero/low-carbon/carbon-positive cities, ecopolises, ecobarrios, One Planet Communities, and solar cities. They have become frames—sometimes the dominant frame—used to orient the construction of new pieces of a city in a growing number of countries. Despite numerous standardization efforts, the field of ecourban neighbourhood planning and practice lacks a consistent cross-cultural understanding of what constitutes meaningful ecourbanism in specific economic, political, ecological, social, and design-based terms. Ecourban neighbourhood projects also respond to strictly local challenges and opportunities and express themselves in fragmented ways in different contexts. This article presents an original typology of ecourbanism as the integration of seven extreme type principles. We developed this typology through an abductive approach, or the back and forth testing of observed practices with arguments advanced in theories of sustainable development, planning and urban studies. While ecourban neighbourhood developments by definition express integrative goals, this typology permits assessment of the extent to which outcomes are being achieved in terms of each specific principle. We define and present a limiting case for each of these extreme type principles. Rather than attempting to render different standards equivalent across national contexts, this typology-based approach to understand the outcomes of ecourban neighbourhood developments promises a means to facilitate orienting these developments toward higher levels of integration within a common set of principled boundaries, as they are developed around the world. Full article
Open AccessArticle Application of Environmental Input-Output Analysis for Corporate and Product Environmental Footprints—Learnings from Three Cases
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11438-11461; doi:10.3390/su70911438
Received: 12 June 2015 / Revised: 29 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1862 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An increasing number of companies are expanding their environmental impact reduction targets and strategies to include their supply chains or whole product life cycles. In this paper, we demonstrate and evaluate an approach, where we used a hybrid Environmental Input-Output (EIO) database as
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An increasing number of companies are expanding their environmental impact reduction targets and strategies to include their supply chains or whole product life cycles. In this paper, we demonstrate and evaluate an approach, where we used a hybrid Environmental Input-Output (EIO) database as a basis for corporate and product environmental footprint accounts, including the entire supply chain. We present three cases, where this approach was applied. Case study 1 describes the creation of total corporate carbon footprint accounts for three Danish regional healthcare organisations. In case study 2, the approach was used as basis for an Environmental Profit and Loss account for the healthcare company, Novo Nordisk A/S. Case study 3 used the approach for life cycle assessment of a tanker ship. We conclude that EIO-based analyses offer a holistic view of environmental performance, provide a foundation for decision-making within reasonable time and cost, and for companies with a large upstream environmental footprint, the analysis supports advancing their sustainability agenda to include supply chain impacts. However, there are implications when going from screening to implementing the results, including how to measure and monitor the effect of the different actions. Thus, future research should include more detailed models to support decision-making. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing the Environmental Impact of Flax Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composite from a Consequential Life Cycle Assessment Perspective
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11462-11483; doi:10.3390/su70911462
Received: 1 July 2015 / Revised: 3 August 2015 / Accepted: 5 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1867 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The study implements the consequential life cycle assessment (CLCA) to provide a market based perspective on how overall environmental impact will change when shifting glass fibres to flax fibres as reinforcements in composite fabrication. With certain assumptions, the marginal flax fibre supply is
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The study implements the consequential life cycle assessment (CLCA) to provide a market based perspective on how overall environmental impact will change when shifting glass fibres to flax fibres as reinforcements in composite fabrication. With certain assumptions, the marginal flax fibre supply is identified to be a combination of Chinese flax fibre (70%) and French flax fibre (30%). Due to inferior cultivars and coal-fired electricity in Chinese flax cultivation, the CLCA study reveals that flax mat-PP has 0.8–2 times higher environmental impact values than the glass mat-PP in most environmental impact categories over the production and end-of-life (EoL) phases. For purpose of providing potential trajectories of marginal flax fibre supply, additional scenarios: the “all French fibre”, and “all Chinese fibre” are evaluated formulating the lower and upper boundaries in terms of environmental impact change, respectively. A “the attributional fibre supply mix” scenario is supplied as well. All of these scenarios are useful for policy analysis. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainability of Trade Liberalization and Antidumping: Evidence from Mexico’s Trade Liberalization toward China
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11484-11503; doi:10.3390/su70911484
Received: 16 May 2015 / Revised: 7 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (874 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A Negative Binomial Regression Model is used to investigate the sustainability of China–Mexico trade liberalization by testing the tariff lines underpinning Mexico’s successful antidumping (AD) measures against Chinese imports from 1991 to 2011. Evidence shows import tariff cutting and consumption growth have a
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A Negative Binomial Regression Model is used to investigate the sustainability of China–Mexico trade liberalization by testing the tariff lines underpinning Mexico’s successful antidumping (AD) measures against Chinese imports from 1991 to 2011. Evidence shows import tariff cutting and consumption growth have a positive impact on consumer goods but a negative impact on intermediaries. This result implies that while the Mexican government has expended considerable energy on the trade liberalization of intermediate and capital goods, the domestic consumer goods market has been protected from Chinese imports. The empirical results indicate that Mexico’s AD use for consumer goods helps to sustain trade liberalization of intermediate and capital goods under the domestic political pressures for trade opening. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle The Implementation of Corporate Sustainability in the European Automotive Industry: An Analysis of Sustainability Reports
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11504-11531; doi:10.3390/su70911504
Received: 19 June 2015 / Revised: 19 June 2015 / Accepted: 6 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (736 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The acceptance of corporate sustainability implementation and sustainability reporting has continued to grow steadily in recent years. This is particularly true for companies in the automotive industry. Increasing regulatory demands, for example, with respect to CO2 emissions, are one clear reason for
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The acceptance of corporate sustainability implementation and sustainability reporting has continued to grow steadily in recent years. This is particularly true for companies in the automotive industry. Increasing regulatory demands, for example, with respect to CO2 emissions, are one clear reason for this. In this paper the sustainability reports of 14 manufacturers in the European automotive industry are analyzed with respect to issues of corporate sustainability implementation. This entails content analysis of sustainability reports from 2012, and of their earliest available equivalents. The analysis of corporate sustainability implementation in the selected companies is provided with the purpose to help understand how manufacturers in the European automotive industry implement corporate sustainability. Results confirm the importance of specific policy instruments in implementation, such as the use of environmental management systems and standards, and of related changes in organizational structures. The latter include suitable adaptation of corporate strategy, philosophy, objectives, measures, and activities, as well as the need to integrate stakeholders in the adjustment process. The analysis shows that while companies are well-aware of the significance of sustainability for their industry, some tend to be leaders, and others laggards, as far as implementation is concerned. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Enhancing Organizational Survivability in a Crisis: Perceived Organizational Crisis Responsibility, Stance, and Strategy
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11532-11545; doi:10.3390/su70911532
Received: 22 June 2015 / Revised: 12 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (752 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
For the purpose of enhancing organizational sustainability during a crisis, an organization takes a position in decision-making, how to respond toward its public, and that is supposed to determine which stance or tactic to employ. This study aims to examine whether publics’ perceptions
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For the purpose of enhancing organizational sustainability during a crisis, an organization takes a position in decision-making, how to respond toward its public, and that is supposed to determine which stance or tactic to employ. This study aims to examine whether publics’ perceptions of organizational crisis responsibility affect their expectations that an organization should choose certain stances and strategies toward the public in a crisis. To address these concerns, an experiment was conducted. As the specific public of this research, health journalists were selected, since they affect public perceptions significantly and public opinion can ultimately put pressure on an organization. Results from an analysis of the experimental data with health journalists confirm that they expect a more accommodative stance/strategy when they perceive that the organization is highly responsible for a health-related crisis. Conversely, when the journalists perceive that an organization has a low level of responsibility for a crisis, they expect a more advocative stance/strategy. By taking into account the health journalists’ expectations along with the needs of the organization, public relations practitioners are better able to make optimal decisions regarding their client organizations’ adopted stance and strategy, and finally, enhance organizational sustainability in a crisis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle A Study on Diffusion Pattern of Technology Convergence: Patent Analysis for Korea
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11546-11569; doi:10.3390/su70911546
Received: 3 June 2015 / Revised: 7 August 2015 / Accepted: 12 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1385 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Technology convergence indicates that technologies of different application areas are converted into a new and common unity of technology. Its range spans from inter-field, whereby technologies are converged between heterogeneous fields in homogeneous sector, to a wider inter-sector, whereby technologies belong to heterogeneous
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Technology convergence indicates that technologies of different application areas are converted into a new and common unity of technology. Its range spans from inter-field, whereby technologies are converged between heterogeneous fields in homogeneous sector, to a wider inter-sector, whereby technologies belong to heterogeneous technology sector are converged. This paper determined the definition of technology convergence from previous literature and classified patents into technology category depending on patent information. Furthermore, we empirically measure technology convergence degree based on co-classification analysis and estimate its diffusion trend at the entire technology domain level by using overall 1,476,967 of patents filed to the KIPO (Korean Intellectual Property Office) from 1998 to 2010. As a result, potential size and growth rate of technology convergence are varied by both technology and type of technology convergence, i.e., inter-field and inter-sector technology convergence. Diffusion pattern of inter-sector technology convergence appears as the more various form than that of inter-field technology convergence. In a relationship between potential size and growth rate of technology convergence, growth rate of technology convergence is in inverse proportion to potential size of technology convergence in general. That is, the faster the growth rate of technology convergence, the smaller the potential size of technology convergence. In addition, this paper found that technology convergence of the instrument and chemistry sector is actively progressing in both inter-field and inter-sector convergence, while the technologies related to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in electrical engineering sector have relatively mature progress of technology convergence, especially in inter-sector technology convergence. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation Framework for Alternative Fuel Vehicles: Sustainable Development Perspective
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11570-11594; doi:10.3390/su70911570
Received: 22 March 2015 / Revised: 27 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (946 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Road transport accounts for 72.06% of total transport CO2, which is considered a cause of climate change. At present, the use of alternative fuels has become a pressing issue and a significant number of automakers and scholars have devoted themselves to
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Road transport accounts for 72.06% of total transport CO2, which is considered a cause of climate change. At present, the use of alternative fuels has become a pressing issue and a significant number of automakers and scholars have devoted themselves to the study and subsequent development of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). The evaluation of AFVs should consider not only air pollution reduction and fuel efficiency but also AFV sustainability. In general, the field of sustainable development is subdivided into three areas: economic, environmental, and social. On the basis of the sustainable development perspective, this study presents an evaluation framework for AFVs by using the DEMATEL-based analytical network process. The results reveal that the five most important criteria are price, added value, user acceptance, reduction of hazardous substances, and dematerialization. Price is the most important criterion because it can improve the popularity of AFVs and affect other criteria, including user acceptance. Additional, the energy usage criterion is expected to significantly affect the sustainable development of AFVs. These results should be seriously considered by automakers and governments in developing AFVs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon reduction strategies and methods in transportation)
Open AccessArticle Market-Based Instruments for Ecosystem Services between Discourse and Reality: An Economic and Narrative Analysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11595-11611; doi:10.3390/su70911595
Received: 28 April 2015 / Revised: 12 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
PDF Full-text (684 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the mid-1990s, the concept of ecosystem services has become increasingly popular in academic circles and among decision-makers. Because of its inclusive character, this concept has given rise to different interpretations in economics. Since its inception, it has been associated with the development
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Since the mid-1990s, the concept of ecosystem services has become increasingly popular in academic circles and among decision-makers. Because of its inclusive character, this concept has given rise to different interpretations in economics. Since its inception, it has been associated with the development of market-based instruments (MBIs) in conservation policies. From this perspective, the sustainable provision of ecosystem services is hindered by market failures (e.g., public good attributes, externalities) and prices that do not capture the full value of the natural assets. MBIs are therefore recommended. According to their promoters, they provide powerful incentives to conserve the environment while at the same time offering new sources of income to support rural livelihoods. Our paper contends that different economic narratives, and associated representations of the market failure at stake with the provision of ecosystem services, may support different policy instruments that are all coined as MBIs. As an illustration, we analyze the economic discourse underlying payments for ecosystem services and eco-labels, and we underline the variety of institutional forms to which they give rise in order to emphasize the differences between discourse and practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services and Institutional Dynamics)
Open AccessArticle Residence and Job Location Change Choice Behavior under Flooding and Cyclone Impacts in Bangladesh
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11612-11631; doi:10.3390/su70911612
Received: 25 June 2015 / Revised: 1 August 2015 / Accepted: 12 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (813 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change enters significantly into and is shown to be a direct determinant of residence and job location change decisions. Understanding of how people’s residence and job location change choice behavior is affected and thus responds to the impacts of climate change is
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Climate change enters significantly into and is shown to be a direct determinant of residence and job location change decisions. Understanding of how people’s residence and job location change choice behavior is affected and thus responds to the impacts of climate change is essential for transportation planners and adaptation decision makers. As an addition to the current literature, the main purposes of this paper are to investigate people’s residence and job location change choice behavior affected by factors at origin and look into the behavioral differences between coastal and inland people under flooding and cyclone scenarios in Bangladesh. Questionnaire data were surveyed in 14 coastal and inland cities of Bangladesh with an orthogonal design of three flooding/cyclone scenarios. The multinomial Logit model and cross-nested Logit model are proposed to address the above purposes. Results of this study indicate that flooding/cyclone factors and income, land owned, and number of family members significantly affects people’s location change choice. In addition, coastal people are also significantly affected by previous experience factors. Furthermore, road connection plays an important role when people choose to change residence locations in coastal areas. It is also found that if there are changes in flooding impacts, the inland people will first consider to change their job locations, while the coastal people would consider both job and residence location changes. Results of this work provide policy suggestions on transportation infrastructure investment, shelter planning and construction, and population migration under flood and cyclone impacts as a result of climate change. Full article
Open AccessArticle Monocentric or Polycentric? The Urban Spatial Structure of Employment in Beijing
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11632-11656; doi:10.3390/su70911632
Received: 25 May 2015 / Revised: 11 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (3649 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The spatial structure of Beijing has changed dramatically since the reforms of the late 1970s. It is not clear, however, whether these changes have been sufficient to transform the city’s monocentric spatial structure into a polycentric one. This paper uses 2010 enterprise registered
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The spatial structure of Beijing has changed dramatically since the reforms of the late 1970s. It is not clear, however, whether these changes have been sufficient to transform the city’s monocentric spatial structure into a polycentric one. This paper uses 2010 enterprise registered data to investigate the spatial distribution of employment in Beijing. Using a customized grid to increase the spatial resolution of our results, we explore the city’s employment density distribution and investigate potential employment subcenters. This leads to several findings. First, Beijing still has strong monocentric characteristics; second, the city has a very large employment center rather than a small central business district; third, five subcenters are identified, including four in the suburbs; and fourth, a polycentric model that includes these subcenters possesses more explanatory power than a simple monocentric model, but by only four percentage. We conclude that the spatial structure of Beijing is still quite monocentric, but may be in transition to a polycentric pattern. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land and Sustainable Development) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle Influence of Sowing Times, Densities, and Soils to Biomass and Ethanol Yield of Sweet Sorghum
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11657-11678; doi:10.3390/su70911657
Received: 2 May 2015 / Revised: 19 July 2015 / Accepted: 27 July 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (718 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The use of biofuels helps to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels and therefore decreases CO2 emission. Ethanol mixed with gasoline in mandatory percentages has been used in many countries. However, production of ethanol mainly depends on food crops, commonly associated with
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The use of biofuels helps to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels and therefore decreases CO2 emission. Ethanol mixed with gasoline in mandatory percentages has been used in many countries. However, production of ethanol mainly depends on food crops, commonly associated with problems such as governmental policies and social controversies. Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is one of the most potential and appropriate alternative crops for biofuel production because of its high biomass and sugar content, strong tolerance to environmental stress conditions and diseases, and wide adaptability to various soils and climates. The aim of this study was to select prospective varieties of sweet sorghum, optimum sowing times and densities to achieve high yields of ethanol production and to establish stable operational conditions in cultivating this crop. The summer-autumn cropping season combined with the sowing densities of 8.3–10.9 plant m2 obtained the highest ethanol yield. Among cultivated locations, the soil with pH of 5.5 and contents of Al and Zn of 39.4 and 0.6 g kg1, respectively, was the best condition to have an ethanol yield >5000 L ha1. The pH ≥ 6.0 may be responsible for the significant reduction of zinc content in soils, which decreases both biomass of sweet sorghum and ethanol yield, while contents of N, P, K, organic carbon (OC) and cation exchange capacity (CEC), and Fe likely play no role. The cultivar 4A was the preferred candidate for ethanol production and resistant to pests and diseases, especially cut worm (Agrotis spp.). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Use of Biomass Energy)
Open AccessArticle Optimization of a Finned Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger Using a Multi-Objective Optimization Genetic Algorithm
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11679-11695; doi:10.3390/su70911679
Received: 30 June 2015 / Revised: 30 June 2015 / Accepted: 14 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1152 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Heat transfer rate and cost significantly affect designs of shell and tube heat exchangers. From the viewpoint of engineering, an optimum design is obtained via maximum heat transfer rate and minimum cost. Here, an analysis of a radial, finned, shell and tube heat
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Heat transfer rate and cost significantly affect designs of shell and tube heat exchangers. From the viewpoint of engineering, an optimum design is obtained via maximum heat transfer rate and minimum cost. Here, an analysis of a radial, finned, shell and tube heat exchanger is carried out, considering nine design parameters: tube arrangement, tube diameter, tube pitch, tube length, number of tubes, fin height, fin thickness, baffle spacing ratio and number of fins per unit length of tube. The “Delaware modified” technique is used to determine heat transfer coefficients and the shell-side pressure drop. In this technique, the baffle cut is 20 percent and the baffle ratio limits range from 0.2 to 0.4. The optimization of the objective functions (maximum heat transfer rate and minimum total cost) is performed using a non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm (NSGA-II), and compared against a one-objective algorithm, to find the best solutions. The results are depicted as a set of solutions on a Pareto front, and show that the heat transfer rate ranges from 3517 to 7075 kW. Also, the minimum and maximum objective functions are specified, allowing the designer to select the best points among these solutions based on requirements. Additionally, variations of shell-side pressure drop with total cost are depicted, and indicate that the pressure drop ranges from 3.8 to 46.7 kPa. Full article
Open AccessArticle Hotel Overbooking and Cooperation with Third-Party Websites
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11696-11712; doi:10.3390/su70911696
Received: 22 April 2015 / Revised: 13 August 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (790 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hotels cooperate with third-party websites to enhance their competitive position and attain sustainable development in the era of e-commerce. Furthermore, hotel managers overbook to hedge against last-minute cancellations and customer no-shows. This paper discusses pricing and overbooking strategies of a hotel in the
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Hotels cooperate with third-party websites to enhance their competitive position and attain sustainable development in the era of e-commerce. Furthermore, hotel managers overbook to hedge against last-minute cancellations and customer no-shows. This paper discusses pricing and overbooking strategies of a hotel in the context of cooperation with multiple third-party websites and analyzes how these strategies influence the cooperation process. The increase in profits resulting from the overbooking strategy is also examined. A model of a Stackelberg game between the hotel and third-party websites and a Nash game among the third-party websites are developed to analyze the process. Results indicate that the compensation coefficient has a slight influence on hotel pricing strategy, but causes a sharp decrease in overbooking level. As the hotel demands to lessen the probability of denying under higher compensation rate, the third-party websites would exert less sales effort to reduce the demand of online customers. Results also show that under a given market demand, hotel effort only serves to redistribute market shares among the hotel and third-party websites, without influencing hotel pricing and overbooking decisions. Specifically, the market shares of the third-party websites decrease in the effort level of the hotel resulting from an increase in the hotel market share. Finally, in the numerical example where one hotel and two websites are analyzed, hotel overbooking strategy improves hotel profit by 4.20%, whereas profit improvements for Websites 1 and 2 are as high as 5.26% and 5.21%, respectively. Managerial implications of the study are also provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainability of Culture and Heritage)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable and Efficient Pathways for Bioenergy Recovery from Low-Value Process Streams via Bioelectrochemical Systems in Biorefineries
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11713-11726; doi:10.3390/su70911713
Received: 18 June 2015 / Revised: 14 August 2015 / Accepted: 19 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2182 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Conversion of biomass into bioenergy is possible via multiple pathways resulting in the production of biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. Efficient and sustainable conversion of biomass, however, requires consideration of many environmental and societal parameters in order to minimize negative impacts. Integration of multiple
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Conversion of biomass into bioenergy is possible via multiple pathways resulting in the production of biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. Efficient and sustainable conversion of biomass, however, requires consideration of many environmental and societal parameters in order to minimize negative impacts. Integration of multiple conversion technologies and inclusion of upcoming alternatives, such as bioelectrochemical systems, can minimize these impacts via production of hydrogen, electricity or other forms of energy from the low value streams and improve conservation of resources, such as water and nutrients via recycle and reuse. This report outlines alternate pathways integrating microbial electrolysis in biorefinery schemes to improve energy efficiency, while evaluating environmental sustainability parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Use of Biomass Energy)
Open AccessArticle What is the Influence of the Planning Framework on the Land Use Change Trajectories? Photointerpretation Analysis in the 1958–2011 Period for a Medium/Small Sized City
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11727-11755; doi:10.3390/su70911727
Received: 6 June 2015 / Revised: 14 August 2015 / Accepted: 19 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (11853 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Medium/small sized cities create a polycentric urban system representing the backbone of their territory, characterized by profound changes on land use. The objective of this study is to evaluate the spatial and temporal dynamics of land use in a medium/small city in Portugal
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Medium/small sized cities create a polycentric urban system representing the backbone of their territory, characterized by profound changes on land use. The objective of this study is to evaluate the spatial and temporal dynamics of land use in a medium/small city in Portugal during the period 1958–2011, and the relation with the planning framework. The assessment involves land use changes recognition in the period 1958–2011, calculation of the stability grade indicator, and the losses and gains between classes. The rate of artificialization and its relation with the planning framework was also evaluated. The results for the city of Viseu showed a main decrease in annual crops and arable lands, with an increase of the continuous and discontinuous urban fabric. The changes are systematic transitions, marked by planning framework and its typology, objectives and scale enforcement. A plan addressing the city encouraged land use changes in the fringe, while a municipal Master Plan determined sequent transformation in all areas. The land use changes and the artificialization processes enabled the identification of three periods where planning framework was forthright. The study underlines the importance of a planning framework for medium/small sized cities for urban sprawl and artificialization processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land and Sustainable Development) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle Industrial Performance of the Renewable Resources Industry in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11777-11798; doi:10.3390/su70911777
Received: 7 May 2015 / Revised: 5 August 2015 / Accepted: 6 August 2015 / Published: 26 August 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (753 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Promoting the development of renewable resources industry is an effective way to solve the problems of resources shortage and environmental pollution in China. In this paper, studies have found that “market structure” and “ownership structure”, namely “double structure”, is an important explanatory variable
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Promoting the development of renewable resources industry is an effective way to solve the problems of resources shortage and environmental pollution in China. In this paper, studies have found that “market structure” and “ownership structure”, namely “double structure”, is an important explanatory variable that affects industrial performance according to the “structure-conduct-performance” paradigm. Literature reviews have shown that large state-owned enterprises are playing an important role in improving the industrial performance because of the advantage in technology and capital. However, this paper analyzed the performance of China’s renewable resource industry from two aspects—the overall industrial development and the listed companies, from which two conclusions have drawn: (1) Above a designated size, private enterprises have the greatest contribution, while the contribution of state-owned and foreign-funded enterprises is different; (2) The main reason for the high positive growth rate of total factor productivity between 2009 and 2013 is the rapid growth of technological progress such as the improvement of production processes and manufacturing skills, rather than the promotion of management, system, or polices. Full article
Open AccessArticle Comparing Sustainable Universities between the United States and China: Cases of Indiana University and Tsinghua University
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11799-11817; doi:10.3390/su70911799
Received: 11 May 2015 / Revised: 11 August 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 26 August 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (911 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is widely accepted that universities can play critical roles in promoting sustainability. In the United States and China, many universities have initiated sustainability programs. Employing Indiana University, Bloomington, the U.S. (IUB) and Tsinghua University, Beijing, China (Tsinghua) as two cases, we examine
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It is widely accepted that universities can play critical roles in promoting sustainability. In the United States and China, many universities have initiated sustainability programs. Employing Indiana University, Bloomington, the U.S. (IUB) and Tsinghua University, Beijing, China (Tsinghua) as two cases, we examine the conceptualization and implementation of university sustainability programs through a comparison of their respective definitions, goals, organizational dynamics, and strategies. We find that IUB’s sustainability scheme is more detailed and specific, while Tsinghua’s is more general; this is principally attributable to differences in national and local contexts. Furthermore, IUB values the environmental, economic, and social aspects of university sustainability equally, while Tsinghua focuses more on the environmental aspect. In addition, IUB has a more loosely-structured and more inclusive sustainability organizational dynamic while Tsinghua has a more hierarchical one. This comparative study helps us to understand how these two research universities understand and implement sustainability within the respective cultural, political, and institutional contexts of the United States and China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
Open AccessArticle Assessing Rare Metal Availability Challenges for Solar Energy Technologies
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11818-11837; doi:10.3390/su70911818
Received: 2 June 2015 / Revised: 9 August 2015 / Accepted: 20 August 2015 / Published: 26 August 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (936 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Solar energy is commonly seen as a future energy source with significant potential. Ruthenium, gallium, indium and several other rare elements are common and vital components of many solar energy technologies, including dye-sensitized solar cells, CIGS cells and various artificial photosynthesis approaches. This
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Solar energy is commonly seen as a future energy source with significant potential. Ruthenium, gallium, indium and several other rare elements are common and vital components of many solar energy technologies, including dye-sensitized solar cells, CIGS cells and various artificial photosynthesis approaches. This study surveys solar energy technologies and their reliance on rare metals such as indium, gallium, and ruthenium. Several of these rare materials do not occur as primary ores, and are found as byproducts associated with primary base metal ores. This will have an impact on future production trends and the availability for various applications. In addition, the geological reserves of many vital metals are scarce and severely limit the potential of certain solar energy technologies. It is the conclusion of this study that certain solar energy concepts are unrealistic in terms of achieving TW scales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Conversion System Analysis)
Open AccessArticle Optimal Intra-Urban Hierarchy of Activity Centers—A Minimized Household Travel Energy Consumption Approach
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11838-11856; doi:10.3390/su70911838
Received: 2 July 2015 / Revised: 13 August 2015 / Accepted: 18 August 2015 / Published: 26 August 2015
PDF Full-text (1727 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An intra-urban hierarchy of activity centers interconnected by non-motorized and public transportation is broadly believed to be the ideal urban spatial structure for sustainable cities. However, the proper hinterland area for centers at each level lacks empirical study. Based on the concentric structure
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An intra-urban hierarchy of activity centers interconnected by non-motorized and public transportation is broadly believed to be the ideal urban spatial structure for sustainable cities. However, the proper hinterland area for centers at each level lacks empirical study. Based on the concentric structure of everyday travel distances, working centers, shopping centers, and neighborhood centers are extracted from corresponding types of POIs in 286 Chinese cities at the prefectural level and above. A U-shaped curve between Household Transportation Energy Consumption (HTEC) per capita and center density at each of the three levels has been found through regression analysis. An optimal intra-urban hierarchy of activity centers is suggested to construct energy-efficient cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards True Smart and Green Cities?)
Open AccessArticle A Practical Approach to Screening Potential Environmental Hotspots of Different Impact Categories in Supply Chains
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11878-11892; doi:10.3390/su70911878
Received: 12 June 2015 / Revised: 22 July 2015 / Accepted: 12 August 2015 / Published: 26 August 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1606 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Identification of environmental hotspots becomes a pressing issue for companies pursuing sustainable supply chain management. In particular, excessive dependence on water resources outside the country may put the supply chain at unanticipated risk of water shortage. This article presents a practical approach to
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Identification of environmental hotspots becomes a pressing issue for companies pursuing sustainable supply chain management. In particular, excessive dependence on water resources outside the country may put the supply chain at unanticipated risk of water shortage. This article presents a practical approach to screening potential environmental hotspots of different impact categories that occur in the supply chain using environmental input-output analysis. First, the amounts of domestic and foreign potential impacts of global warming, terrestrial acidification, and water resource consumption, induced through supply chains were calculated for 403 sectors of Japanese products. Thereafter, with a focus on potential impacts induced through the import of raw materials, a framework for screening foreign potential hotspots was presented. The results showed that the sectoral potential impacts of water resource consumption had high rates of foreign impacts at deeper tiers of the supply chains for some sectors, which indicated that there exist hidden water hotspots outside the country. In the case study of fiber yarns, impacts on water resource consumption induced as a result of the import of crops, as well as that induced in silviculture as a result of the import of wood chips, were found to be the foreign potential hotspots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Cultivated Land Changes and Agricultural Potential Productivity in Mainland China
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11893-11908; doi:10.3390/su70911893
Received: 20 July 2015 / Revised: 23 August 2015 / Accepted: 24 August 2015 / Published: 27 August 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (3839 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With rapid and continuous population growth and the associated declining quality of cultivated land, food security in China has been attracting the attention of scholars both domestically and internationally. In recent decades, the implications of the cultivated land balance policy have promoted spatial
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With rapid and continuous population growth and the associated declining quality of cultivated land, food security in China has been attracting the attention of scholars both domestically and internationally. In recent decades, the implications of the cultivated land balance policy have promoted spatial changes of cultivated land. Estimating the agricultural potential productivity and assessing its response to cultivated land changes could provide a scientific basis for strategic decision-making concerning grain production and thus guarantee food security. In the present study, the Agro-Ecological Zone (AEZ) model was applied to estimate the agricultural potential productivity. Data from the second national land survey were first applied to characterize the changes of cultivated land (by comparing the cultivated land in 2009 with that in 2012) and their influence on potential productivity in Mainland China. We propose a utilization degree of total potential productivity (UTP) and its ratio coefficient (RUTP) to reveal the utilization status of potential productivity and its change characteristics at the provincial level. It was found that there was a trend for cultivated land to be shifted away from cities, and the average productive capability per hectare of cultivated land declined from 7386.5 kg/ha to 6955.2 kg/ha by occupying highly productive cultivated land generally near the cities and compensating less productive cultivated land in remote areas. UTPs and RUTPs indicate a significant difference in the utilization status of potential productivity among the 31 provinces of Mainland China. Grain production with the aim of sustainable development should be strategized according to the particular facts of each province. The methods we applied can mine the impacts of cultivated land changes on potential productivity and the utilization of potential productivity effectively. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing the Determinants of Renewable Electricity Acceptance Integrating Meta-Analysis Regression and a Local Comprehensive Survey
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11909-11932; doi:10.3390/su70911909
Received: 27 May 2015 / Revised: 20 August 2015 / Accepted: 21 August 2015 / Published: 27 August 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (768 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In dealing with renewable electricity (RE), individuals are involved both as end-consumers on the demand side and as stakeholders (citizens) in the local production process on the supply side. Empirical evidence shows that in many countries, consumers are willing to pay a significant
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In dealing with renewable electricity (RE), individuals are involved both as end-consumers on the demand side and as stakeholders (citizens) in the local production process on the supply side. Empirical evidence shows that in many countries, consumers are willing to pay a significant amount to facilitate adoption of RE. By contrast, environmental externalities are often the cause of strong opposition to RE adoption if local communities are involved as stakeholders in wind, solar or biomass investment projects. Looking at the literature on willingness to pay and on willingness to accept, we have investigated RE acceptance mechanisms. First, we have used the meta-analysis to assess the major determinants of RE acceptance on both demand and supply sides. Meta-analysis has provided some insights useful for managing field research on an onshore wind farm enlargement project located in the Umbria region. Meta-analysis and survey results confirm that the local community plays a central role in local RE acceptance. Furthermore, people who have previous experience with windmills require less compensation, or are willing to pay more, for RE development. Results suggest that these attributes should be included in future research to improve understanding of determinants of RE acceptance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Designing an Optimal Subsidy Scheme to Reduce Emissions for a Competitive Urban Transport Market
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11933-11948; doi:10.3390/su70911933
Received: 4 June 2015 / Revised: 12 August 2015 / Accepted: 18 August 2015 / Published: 27 August 2015
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Abstract
With the purpose of establishing an effective subsidy scheme to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, this paper proposes a two-stage game for a competitive urban transport market. In the first stage, the authority determines operating subsidies based on social welfare maximization. Observing the
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With the purpose of establishing an effective subsidy scheme to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, this paper proposes a two-stage game for a competitive urban transport market. In the first stage, the authority determines operating subsidies based on social welfare maximization. Observing the predetermined subsidies, two transit operators set fares and frequencies to maximize their own profits at the second stage. The detailed analytical and numerical analyses demonstrate that of the three proposed subsidy schemes, the joint implementation of trip-based and frequency-related subsidies not only generates the largest welfare gains and makes competitive operators provide equilibrium fares and frequencies, which largely resemble first-best optimal levels but also greatly contributes to reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions on major urban transport corridors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards True Smart and Green Cities?)
Open AccessArticle The Economic Impact of Climate Change on Road Infrastructure in Ghana
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11949-11966; doi:10.3390/su70911949
Received: 23 June 2015 / Revised: 17 August 2015 / Accepted: 20 August 2015 / Published: 28 August 2015
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Abstract
This paper estimates the economic impact of climate change on road infrastructure using the stressor-response methodology. Our analysis indicates that it could cumulatively (2020–2100) cost Ghana $473 million to maintain and repair damages caused to existing roads as a result of climate change
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This paper estimates the economic impact of climate change on road infrastructure using the stressor-response methodology. Our analysis indicates that it could cumulatively (2020–2100) cost Ghana $473 million to maintain and repair damages caused to existing roads as a result of climate change (no adapt scenario). However, if the country adapts the design and construction of new road infrastructure, expected to occur over the asset’s lifespan (adapt scenario), the total cumulative cost could increase to $678.47 million due to the initial costs of adaptation. This investment provides lower costs on a decadal basis later in the infrastructure lifespan. This creates the planning question of whether lower decadal costs in the future are a priority or if minimizing initial costs is a priority. The paper addresses this question through decadal and average annual costs up to the year 2100 for the ten regions, using the potential impacts of 54 distinct potential climate scenarios. Full article
Open AccessArticle Space-Time Characteristics of Vegetation Cover and Distribution: Case of the Henan Province in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11967-11979; doi:10.3390/su70911967
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 27 July 2015 / Accepted: 21 August 2015 / Published: 28 August 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (912 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Vegetation indicators and spatial distribution characteristics are the core and basis to study the complex human-natural coupled system. In this paper, with Landsat 5 and Landsat 8 remote sensing data, we quantitatively estimated vegetation coverage in Henan Province, China. According to the urbanization
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Vegetation indicators and spatial distribution characteristics are the core and basis to study the complex human-natural coupled system. In this paper, with Landsat 5 and Landsat 8 remote sensing data, we quantitatively estimated vegetation coverage in Henan Province, China. According to the urbanization rate, altitude, slope degree, and slope exposure, we analyzed spatial and temporal variation laws of vegetation coverage under the action of different factors to provide a reference for the improvement of the ecological environment and the quality assessment of Chinese granary. From 2000 to 2013, the vegetation coverage in Henan Province declined by 30.49% and the ecological environment deteriorated. The spatial change of vegetation coverage was evenly distributed in Henan Province. The vegetation coverage was increased in the west, south, and southwest parts of Henan Province and slightly decreased in the central, east, and the eastern part of Taihang Mountain. Vegetation coverage in a city was related to its population urbanization rate. The population urbanization rate was often negatively correlated with the vegetation coverage. According to the results of terrain factors based analysis, the low-altitude areas were in a good vegetation cover condition with the high vegetation coverage grade; the areas with a smaller slope degree had the large vegetation coverage and the coverage decreased with the increase in the slope degree; the coverage showed no significant difference between sunny and shady slopes and was less limited by light, temperature, and humidity. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effect of R&D Collaboration with Research Organizations on Innovation: The Mediation Effect of Environmental Performance
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11998-12016; doi:10.3390/su70911998
Received: 9 June 2015 / Revised: 18 August 2015 / Accepted: 26 August 2015 / Published: 28 August 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (765 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to advance our understanding of corporate environmental performance by linking its antecedents and consequences. This study examined how collaboration with research organizations, as a proactive strategic decision, influences the environmental performance of firms, which in turn leads
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The purpose of this study was to advance our understanding of corporate environmental performance by linking its antecedents and consequences. This study examined how collaboration with research organizations, as a proactive strategic decision, influences the environmental performance of firms, which in turn leads to innovation performance. Using the data collected from 597 Korean firms representing a cross-section of industries, we found that a firm’s collaboration with research organizations positively affected the firm’s environmental performance, which positively influenced its innovation performance. Furthermore, the results indicated a full mediation effect of environmental performance on the relationship between collaboration with research organizations and innovation performance. This study offers a more comprehensive understanding of corporate environmental performance and discusses implications for innovation performance. Limitations and future research directions are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Organic Food Perception: Fad, or Healthy and Environmentally Friendly? A Case on Romanian Consumers
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12017-12031; doi:10.3390/su70912017
Received: 27 June 2015 / Revised: 18 August 2015 / Accepted: 24 August 2015 / Published: 28 August 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (694 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main purpose of this paper is to explore consumers’ perceptions of organic food and examine whether organic food products are perceived in the North-West Region of Romania as offering health and environmental benefits or as simply another sine qua non condition to
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The main purpose of this paper is to explore consumers’ perceptions of organic food and examine whether organic food products are perceived in the North-West Region of Romania as offering health and environmental benefits or as simply another sine qua non condition to be integrated into the luxurious yuppie lifestyle. The inspiration for our study came from witnessing the stereotypical image of organic food consumers as “stylish, trendy, fancy consumers” in the last three to five years. Scientific evidence on the perceptions of organic food is based on a probabilistic survey. The results indicate an environmental consciousness of organic food consumers in North-Western Region of Romania in terms of organic food: a high percentage of consumers believe that organic food is healthier than conventional food (87%) and that it contributes to environmental protection more than conventional food (75%). A statistically significant difference (p < 0.05) was observed between people with higher education and those without higher education concerning the following beliefs: belief that most people consume organic products because they are in fashion, and belief that organic food contributes to environmental protection. Full article
Open AccessArticle Information Security Management as a Bridge in Cloud Systems from Private to Public Organizations
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12032-12051; doi:10.3390/su70912032
Received: 27 March 2015 / Revised: 10 August 2015 / Accepted: 25 August 2015 / Published: 28 August 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1963 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cloud computing has made it possible for private companies to make rapid changes in their computing environments. However, in the public sector, security issues hinder institutions from adopting cloud computing. To solve these security challenges, in this paper, we propose a methodology for
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Cloud computing has made it possible for private companies to make rapid changes in their computing environments. However, in the public sector, security issues hinder institutions from adopting cloud computing. To solve these security challenges, in this paper, we propose a methodology for information security management, which quantitatively classifies the importance of information in cloud systems in the public sector. In this study, we adopt a Delphi approach to establish the classification criteria of the proposed methodology in an objective and systematic manner. Further, through a case study of a public corporation, we try to validate the usefulness of the proposed methodology. The results of this study will help public institutions to consider introducing cloud computing and to manage cloud systems effectively and securely. Full article
Open AccessArticle Parametric Assessment of Water Use Vulnerability Variations Using SWAT and Fuzzy TOPSIS Coupled with Entropy
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12052-12070; doi:10.3390/su70912052
Received: 30 June 2015 / Revised: 20 August 2015 / Accepted: 28 August 2015 / Published: 31 August 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2786 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study assessed the water use vulnerability to include the uncertainty of the weighting values of evaluation criteria and the annual variations of performance values using fuzzy TOPSIS coupled with the Shannon entropy method. This procedure was applied to 12 major basins covering
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This study assessed the water use vulnerability to include the uncertainty of the weighting values of evaluation criteria and the annual variations of performance values using fuzzy TOPSIS coupled with the Shannon entropy method. This procedure was applied to 12 major basins covering about 88% territory of South Korea. Hydrological components were simulated using Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) of which parameters were optimally calibrated using SWAT-CUP model. The 15 indicators including hydrological and anthropogenic factors were selected, based on three aspects of climate exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. Their weighting values were objectively quantified using the Entropy method. All performance values of 12 basins obtained from statistic Korea and SWAT simulation were normalized with the consideration of the annual variations from 1991 to 2014 using triangular fuzzy numbers (TFNs). Then, Fuzzy Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) technique was used to quantify the water use vulnerability and rank 12 basins as follows: A12 (Hyeongsan River) > A6 (Seomjin River) > A5 (Youngsan River) > A8 (Mangyung River) > A2 (Ansung River) > A9 (Dongjin River) > A10 (Nakdong River) > A3 (Geum River) > A4 (Sapgyo River) > A11 (Taehwa River) > A7 (Tamjin River) > A1 (Han River). This framework can be used to determine the spatial priority for sustainable water resources plan and applied to derive the climate change vulnerability on sustainable water resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Determinants of Behavioral Intention to Use South Korean Airline Services: Effects of Service Quality and Corporate Social Responsibility
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12106-12121; doi:10.3390/su70912106
Received: 10 July 2015 / Revised: 19 August 2015 / Accepted: 20 August 2015 / Published: 1 September 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (953 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the introduction of corporate social responsibility (CSR), it has become an important duty of companies and organizations. In addition, academic and industry researchers have attempted to explore the effects of corporate social responsibility on firm performance. To this end, this study examined
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Since the introduction of corporate social responsibility (CSR), it has become an important duty of companies and organizations. In addition, academic and industry researchers have attempted to explore the effects of corporate social responsibility on firm performance. To this end, this study examined how corporate social responsibility and service quality are notably associated with customer satisfaction and behavioral intention to use by employing a structural equation modeling method. A research model with nine constructs was introduced and the findings revealed that economic, social, and environmental responsibility, as well as in-flight service quality, significantly determined customer satisfaction, while there were notable connections between customer satisfaction and behavioral intention to use. However, service quality at airports did not have a significant effect on satisfaction. The practical and theoretical implications of the current study are discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Bayesian Analysis of Demand Elasticity in the Italian Electricity Market
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12127-12148; doi:10.3390/su70912127
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 18 August 2015 / Accepted: 21 August 2015 / Published: 2 September 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (820 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The liberalization of the Italian electricity market is a decade old. Within these last ten years, the supply side has been extensively analyzed, but not the demand side. The aim of this paper is to provide a new method for estimation of the
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The liberalization of the Italian electricity market is a decade old. Within these last ten years, the supply side has been extensively analyzed, but not the demand side. The aim of this paper is to provide a new method for estimation of the demand elasticity, based on Bayesian methods applied to the Italian electricity market. We used individual demand bids data in the day-ahead market in the Italian Power Exchange (IPEX), for 2011, in order to construct an aggregate demand function at the hourly level. We took into account the existence of both elastic and inelastic bidders on the demand side. The empirical results show that elasticity varies significantly during the day and across periods of the year. In addition, the elasticity hourly distribution is clearly skewed and more so in the daily hours. The Bayesian method is a useful tool for policy-making, insofar as the regulator can start with a priori historical information on market behavior and estimate actual market outcomes in response to new policy actions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Ethanol Production from Common Reed (Phragmites australis) through Simultaneuos Saccharification and Fermentation
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12149-12163; doi:10.3390/su70912149
Received: 8 June 2015 / Revised: 19 August 2015 / Accepted: 24 August 2015 / Published: 2 September 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1266 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Phragmites australis (common reed) is a perennial grass that grows in wetlands or near inland waterways. Due to its fast-growing properties and low requirement in nutrients and water, this arboreal variety is recognized as a promising source of renewable energy although it is
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Phragmites australis (common reed) is a perennial grass that grows in wetlands or near inland waterways. Due to its fast-growing properties and low requirement in nutrients and water, this arboreal variety is recognized as a promising source of renewable energy although it is one of the least characterized energy crops. In this experiment, the optimization of the bioethanol production process from Phragmites australis was carried out. Raw material was first characterized according to the standard procedure (NREL) to evaluate its composition in terms of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin content. Common reed was pretreated by steam explosion process at three different severity factor (R0) values. The pretreatment was performed in order to reduce biomass recalcitrance and to make cellulose more accessible to enzymatic attack. After the pretreatment, a water insoluble substrate (WIS) rich in cellulose and lignin and a liquid fraction rich in pentose sugars (xylose and arabinose) and inhibitors were collected and analyzed. The simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) of the WIS was performed at three different solid loadings (SL) 10%, 15%, 20% (w/w). The same enzyme dosage, equal to 20% (g enzyme/g cellulose), was used for all the WIS loadings. The efficiency of the whole process was evaluated in terms of ethanol overall yield (g ethanol/100 g raw material). The maximum ethanol overall yields achieved were 16.56 and 15.80 g ethanol/100 g RM dry basis for sample AP10 and sample AP4.4, respectively. The yields were reached working at lower solid loading (10%) and at the intermediate LogR0 value for the former and at intermediate solid loading (15%) and high LogR0 value for the latter, respectively. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Water Footprint of the Wine Industry: Implementation of an Assessment Methodology and Application to a Case Study
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12190-12208; doi:10.3390/su70912190
Received: 10 July 2015 / Revised: 24 August 2015 / Accepted: 28 August 2015 / Published: 2 September 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1938 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An original methodology for the Water Footprint Assessment (WFA) of a Product for the wine-making industry sector is presented, with a particular focus on the evaluation procedure of the grey water. Results obtained with the proposed methodology are also presented for an Italian
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An original methodology for the Water Footprint Assessment (WFA) of a Product for the wine-making industry sector is presented, with a particular focus on the evaluation procedure of the grey water. Results obtained with the proposed methodology are also presented for an Italian case study. The product was analyzed using a life-cycle approach, with the aim of studying the water volumes of each phase according to the newly-released ISO 14046 international standard. The functional unit chosen in this study is the common 0.75 liter wine bottle. An in-house software (V.I.V.A.) was implemented with the goal of accounting for all the contributions in a cradle-to-grave approach. At this stage, however, minor water volumes associated with some foreground and background processes are not assessed. The evaluation procedure was applied to a case study and green, blue, and grey water volumes were computed. Primary data were collected for a red wine produced by an Umbrian wine-making company. Results are in accordance with global average water footprint values from literature, showing a total WF of 632.2 L/bottle, with the major contribution (98.3%) given by green water, and minor contributions (1.2% and 0.5%) given by grey and blue water, respectively. A particular effort was dedicated to the definition of an improved methodology for the assessment of the virtual water volume required to dilute the load of pollutants on the environment below some reference level (Grey WF). The improved methodology was elaborated to assure the completeness of the water footprint assessment and to overcome some limitations of the reference approach. As a result, the overall WF can increase up to 3% in the most conservative hypotheses. Full article
Open AccessArticle Comparative Exergoeconomic Analyses of Gas Turbine Steam Injection Cycles with and without Fogging Inlet Cooling
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12236-12257; doi:10.3390/su70912236
Received: 28 July 2015 / Revised: 24 August 2015 / Accepted: 28 August 2015 / Published: 3 September 2015
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Abstract
The results are reported of exergoeconomic analyses of a simple gas turbine cycle without a fogging system (SGT), a simple steam injection gas turbine cycle (STIG), and a steam injection gas turbine cycle with inlet fogging cooler (FSTIG). The results show that (1)
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The results are reported of exergoeconomic analyses of a simple gas turbine cycle without a fogging system (SGT), a simple steam injection gas turbine cycle (STIG), and a steam injection gas turbine cycle with inlet fogging cooler (FSTIG). The results show that (1) a gas-turbine cycle with steam injection and simultaneous cooling has a higher power output than the other considered cycle; (2) at maximum energy efficiency conditions the gas turbine has the highest exergy efficiency of the cycle components and the lowest value of exergy efficiency is calculated for the fog cooler, where the mixing of air and water at greatly different temperatures causes the high exergy destruction; and (3) utilization of the fogging cooler in the steam injection cycle increases the exergy destruction in the combustion chamber. Furthermore, the simple gas turbine cycle is found to be more economic as its relative cost difference, total unit product cost, and exergoeconomic factors are less than those for the two other configurations. However, its efficiency and net power output are notably lower than for the gas turbine with steam injection and/or fog cooling. The total unit product cost is highest for the simple gas turbine with steam injection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Certification of Markets, Markets of Certificates: Tracing Sustainability in Global Agro-Food Value Chains
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12258-12278; doi:10.3390/su70912258
Received: 30 July 2015 / Revised: 1 September 2015 / Accepted: 2 September 2015 / Published: 8 September 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (761 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is a blossoming of voluntary certification initiatives for sustainable agro-food products and production processes. With these certification initiatives come traceability in supply chains, to guarantee the sustainability of the products consumed. No systematic analysis exists of traceability systems for sustainability in agro-food
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There is a blossoming of voluntary certification initiatives for sustainable agro-food products and production processes. With these certification initiatives come traceability in supply chains, to guarantee the sustainability of the products consumed. No systematic analysis exists of traceability systems for sustainability in agro-food supply chains. Hence, the purpose of this article is to analyze the prevalence of four different traceability systems to guarantee sustainability; to identify the factors that determine the kind of traceability systems applied in particular supply chains; and to assess what the emergence of economic and market logics in traceability mean for sustainability. Two conclusions are drawn. Globalizing markets for sustainable agro-food products induces the emergence of book-and-claim traceability systems, but the other three systems (identity preservation, segregation and mass balance) will continue to exist as different factors drive traceability requirements in different supply chains. Secondly, traceability itself is becoming a market driven by economic and market logics, and this may have consequences for sustainability in agro-food supply chains in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability through the Lens of Environmental Sociology)
Open AccessArticle Developing a Mystery Shopping Measure to Operate a Sustainable Restaurant Business: The Power of Integrating with Corporate Executive Members’ Feedback
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12279-12294; doi:10.3390/su70912279
Received: 8 June 2015 / Accepted: 1 September 2015 / Published: 8 September 2015
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Abstract
Mystery shopping has been used to objectively measure whether employees follow the visions of a company’s quality service standards. It then creates a feedback loop that allows companies to train their employees to consistently deliver quality services. The main purposes of this project
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Mystery shopping has been used to objectively measure whether employees follow the visions of a company’s quality service standards. It then creates a feedback loop that allows companies to train their employees to consistently deliver quality services. The main purposes of this project are aimed at examining (1) the overall benefits of mystery shopper projects in the hospitality business through literature reviews; and (2) the importance of how a company can work with an outside agency (consultant, academic institution, etc.) to develop a mystery shopping program that can enhance and complement ongoing service quality programs. A casual steakhouse restaurant in the Eastern U.S. was selected as our pilot project. The basic concept of using secret shoppers is to have individuals experience real-time and onsite quality of services and record how the mystery shoppers felt about the quality of services and if the employees met or exceeded the company’s standards. For this reason, the authors believe that mystery shopping, especially in hospitality, is an important means of developing and maintaining a sustainable business. While the sustainability of a business is largely dependent upon “people, profits and planet” in the hospitality industry, it is also dependent upon meeting service standards and developing a feedback loop. Mystery shopping programs have demonstrated their ability to contribute to organizations in this regard. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business and Development)
Open AccessArticle Common But Differentiated Governance: A Metagovernance Approach to Make the SDGs Work
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12295-12321; doi:10.3390/su70912295
Received: 7 July 2015 / Revised: 7 August 2015 / Accepted: 1 September 2015 / Published: 9 September 2015
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Abstract
The implementation of the common and universally applicable United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires differentiated governance frameworks at all levels, as it falls short to use one governance style only—hierarchical, network or market governance—or any one style combination that is believed to
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The implementation of the common and universally applicable United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires differentiated governance frameworks at all levels, as it falls short to use one governance style only—hierarchical, network or market governance—or any one style combination that is believed to be fit-for-all-purposes. The article introduces the guiding principle of “Common But Differentiated Governance” (CBDG) and illustrates how this principle can make the SDGs work. It will be shown that, after more than 15 years’ experience with the concept of “metagovernance” (how to combine different governance styles into successful governance frameworks), there seems to be some convergence towards using this as comprehensive approach to achieve situationally appropriate governance frameworks. In this article, we have elaborated how policy makers could use metagovernance, combined with key governance principles, as mechanism to support analysis, design and management of SDG governance frameworks, to make failures noticed, and to suggest mitigation measures. Metagovernance respects common principles like rule of law, but takes as starting point that there may be different pathways to achieve them. A possible step-by-step approach for SDG implementation with metagovernance is proposed, as well as establishing governance support arrangements to assist process design, review, monitoring and evaluation, at least at the national level. Full article
Open AccessArticle Self-Brand Personality Differences and Attitudes towards Electric Cars
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12322-12339; doi:10.3390/su70912322
Received: 23 June 2015 / Revised: 24 August 2015 / Accepted: 3 September 2015 / Published: 9 September 2015
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Abstract
In two representative Belgian samples, by means of an online survey, we investigate the effect of self-brand personality differences on car brand evaluation, the evaluation of an eco-friendly branded electric car extension and the evaluation of car brands after electric extension. We show
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In two representative Belgian samples, by means of an online survey, we investigate the effect of self-brand personality differences on car brand evaluation, the evaluation of an eco-friendly branded electric car extension and the evaluation of car brands after electric extension. We show that self-brand personality differences influence the attitude towards car brands. The relative importance of personality dimensions that drive extension judgment and parent brand attitudes after electric extension is different from that of brand evaluation without extension. More particularly, perceptions of a brand being more responsible than one’s self is a much more important driver of brand evaluation after electric extension than without extension. Car personality characteristics, such as activity and sophistication, drive brand evaluations before, as well as after electric extension. These effects are moderated by brand ownership in that the relative importance of brand personality dimensions is different for brand owners than for consumers who do not own a specific brand. Car manufacturers can fine-tune their marketing approach when launching eco-friendly extensions, taking into account that, in this context, partly different self-brand personality fit considerations are used by consumers than for car brands without electric extension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Energy Portfolios for Small Island States
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12340-12358; doi:10.3390/su70912340
Received: 4 June 2015 / Revised: 2 September 2015 / Accepted: 3 September 2015 / Published: 9 September 2015
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Abstract
The study presents a cost effective electricity generation portfolio for six island states for a 20-year period (2015–2035). The underlying concept investigates whether adding sizeable power capacities of renewable energy sources (RES) options could decrease the overall costs and contribute to a more
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The study presents a cost effective electricity generation portfolio for six island states for a 20-year period (2015–2035). The underlying concept investigates whether adding sizeable power capacities of renewable energy sources (RES) options could decrease the overall costs and contribute to a more sustainable, indigenous electricity generation at the same time. Often, island states rely on fossil fuels which, apart from dependence on foreign resources, also includes an additional, significant transport cost. This is an extra motive to study the extent in which island states represent primary locations for RES technologies. For the aims of the present study an optimization model has been developed and following numerous runs the obtained results show that installing PV and battery capacities can delay-reduce the huge investments in fossil options in early periods. Thus, investment on RES can have a positive, long-term effect on the overall energy mix. This prompt development can happen without adding new subsidies but there is a need to address the existing socio-economic barriers with intelligent design of financing and economic instruments and capacity building as discussed in the conclusions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle A Takagi-Sugeno Fuzzy Inference System for Developing a Sustainability Index of Biomass
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12359-12371; doi:10.3390/su70912359
Received: 28 June 2015 / Revised: 26 August 2015 / Accepted: 1 September 2015 / Published: 9 September 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2768 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
One aspect of the use of biomass for energy purposes which remains controversial concerns their full environmental sustainability. Considering the crucial importance of this problem, numerous authors have carried out evaluations of the environmental impact of the various types of biomass by means
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One aspect of the use of biomass for energy purposes which remains controversial concerns their full environmental sustainability. Considering the crucial importance of this problem, numerous authors have carried out evaluations of the environmental impact of the various types of biomass by means of several approaches. Although some of these methods are excellent environmental evaluation tools, they are unfortunately unable to manage uncertain input data. Instead, fuzzy-set based methods have proven to be able to deal with uncertainty in environmental topics. The original contributions proposed by fuzzy logic relate, on the one hand, to the representation of uncertain and vague information, and, on the other, to handling such information using fuzzy rules. A fuzzy inference system (FIS) constitutes the practice of framing mapping from the input to an output using fuzzy logic. In this paper, we propose an application of Takagi-Sugeno fuzzy inference modelling to build a synthetic index to assess the sustainability of production of the biomass for energy purposes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Using Multiple Tools to Analyze Resource Exchange in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12372-12385; doi:10.3390/su70912372
Received: 19 June 2015 / Revised: 6 August 2015 / Accepted: 21 August 2015 / Published: 10 September 2015
PDF Full-text (1262 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
With the rapid development of globalization, the function of international physical resource exchange is becoming increasingly important in economic growth through resource optimization. However, most existing ecological economy studies use physical trade balance (PTB) directly or use physical imports and exports individually to
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With the rapid development of globalization, the function of international physical resource exchange is becoming increasingly important in economic growth through resource optimization. However, most existing ecological economy studies use physical trade balance (PTB) directly or use physical imports and exports individually to analyze national material metabolization. Neither the individual analysis of physical imports and exports nor the direct analysis of PTB is capable of portraying the comprehensive contributions of a certain product to total physical trade. This study introduced an indicator, i.e., the physical contribution to the trade balance (PCB), which evolved from the traditional index of contribution to the trade balance (CB). In addition, trade balance (TB), PTB, CB, and PCB were systematically related and combined. An analysis was conducted using the four tools to obtain overall trade trends in China. This study discovered that both physical trade value and quantity exhibited different characteristics when China joined the World Trade Organization in 2002 and experienced the global economic crisis in 2009. Finally, the advantages of a supporting policy decision by applying multiple analytical tools to physical trade were discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Experiential Knowledge Complements an LCA-Based Decision Support Framework
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12386-12401; doi:10.3390/su70912386
Received: 30 July 2015 / Revised: 7 September 2015 / Accepted: 7 September 2015 / Published: 10 September 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2003 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A shrimp farmer in Taiwan practices innovation through trial-and-error for better income and a better environment, but such farmer-based innovation sometimes fails because the biological mechanism is unclear. Systematic field experimentation and laboratory research are often too costly, and simulating ground conditions is
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A shrimp farmer in Taiwan practices innovation through trial-and-error for better income and a better environment, but such farmer-based innovation sometimes fails because the biological mechanism is unclear. Systematic field experimentation and laboratory research are often too costly, and simulating ground conditions is often too challenging. To solve this dilemma, we propose a decision support framework that explicitly utilizes farmer experiential knowledge through a participatory approach to alternatively estimate prospective change in shrimp farming productivity, and to co-design options for improvement. Data obtained from the farmer enable us to quantitatively analyze the production cost and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission with a life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. We used semi-quantitative graphical representations of indifference curves and mixing triangles to compare and show better options for the farmer. Our results empower the farmer to make decisions more systematically and reliably based on the frequency of heterotrophic bacteria application and the revision of feed input. We argue that experiential knowledge may be less accurate due to its dependence on varying levels of farmer experience, but this knowledge is a reasonable alternative for immediate decision-making. More importantly, our developed framework advances the scope of LCA application to support practically important yet scientifically uncertain cases. Full article
Open AccessArticle Visualization of a City Sustainability Index (CSI): Towards Transdisciplinary Approaches Involving Multiple Stakeholders
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12402-12424; doi:10.3390/su70912402
Received: 31 March 2015 / Revised: 26 August 2015 / Accepted: 27 August 2015 / Published: 10 September 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1560 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We have developed a visualized 3-D model of a City Sustainability Index (CSI) based on our original concept of city sustainability in which a sustainable city is defined as one that maximizes socio-economic benefits while meeting constraint conditions of the environment and socio-economic
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We have developed a visualized 3-D model of a City Sustainability Index (CSI) based on our original concept of city sustainability in which a sustainable city is defined as one that maximizes socio-economic benefits while meeting constraint conditions of the environment and socio-economic equity on a permanent basis. The CSI is based on constraint and maximization indicators. Constraint indicators assess whether a city meets the necessary minimum conditions for city sustainability. Maximization indicators measure the benefits that a city generates in socio-economic aspects. When used in the policy-making process, the choice of constraint indicators should be implemented using a top-down approach. In contrast, a bottom-up approach is more suitable for defining maximization indicators because this technique involves multiple stakeholders (in a transdisciplinary approach). Using different materials of various colors, shapes, sizes, we designed and constructed the visualized physical model of the CSI to help people evaluate and compare the performance of different cities in terms of sustainability. The visualized model of the CSI can convey complicated information in a simple and straightforward manner to diverse stakeholders so that the sustainability analysis can be understood intuitively by ordinary citizens as well as experts. Thus, the CSI model helps stakeholders to develop critical thinking about city sustainability and enables policymakers to make informed decisions for sustainability through a transdisciplinary approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Persistence of the Gender Gap and Low Employment of Female Workers in a Stratified Labor Market: Evidence from South Korea
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12425-12451; doi:10.3390/su70912425
Received: 29 July 2015 / Revised: 26 August 2015 / Accepted: 3 September 2015 / Published: 10 September 2015
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Abstract
The gender gap in working conditions has barely improved in South Korea where various measures for gender equality have been in place for a relatively long time. Furthermore, the female employment rate is also the lowest in OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and
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The gender gap in working conditions has barely improved in South Korea where various measures for gender equality have been in place for a relatively long time. Furthermore, the female employment rate is also the lowest in OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. This study will evaluate the stratified structure of the labor market to identify the causes and will analyze changes in the gender employment distribution and mobility. This study conducted an empirical analysis of gender distribution and labor mobility in the South Korean labor market, utilizing long-term data (2005–2014) from the supplementary survey by employment type on the Economically Active Population of the Korea National Statistical Office. From the analysis, women showed a relatively smaller increase than men in the primary labor market, classified as the large and standard employment market, in 2014 compared with 2005, but showed a relatively greater increase than men in the secondary labor market, comprising the small–medium and non-standard employment market. Thus, gender skewness in employment distribution was greater in the stratified labor market. On the other hand, the non-economically active population more than doubled for women compared to men. From the analysis of labor mobility by gender, a higher proportion of women were employed in the peripheral labor market than in the core labor market and women were also more likely to be employed in the relatively weak peripheral labor market. These results imply that dichotomous gender equality policies for resolving the gender gap have a certain limitation in the stratified labor market. Thus, what is needed is a holistic approach that takes into account the labor market structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bridging the Labor Market Gender Gap: Towards a Holistic Paradigm)
Open AccessArticle Development of Environmentally Sustainable Methods for Treatment of Domestic Wastewater and Handling of Sewage Sludge on Yap Island
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12452-12464; doi:10.3390/su70912452
Received: 30 April 2015 / Revised: 2 September 2015 / Accepted: 4 September 2015 / Published: 11 September 2015
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Abstract
A survey was conducted of the wastewater treatment systems and related sludge handling practices on the island of Yap, in the Federated States of Micronesia, to assist in identifying areas where further work would be merited to improve on effectiveness and sustainability. A
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A survey was conducted of the wastewater treatment systems and related sludge handling practices on the island of Yap, in the Federated States of Micronesia, to assist in identifying areas where further work would be merited to improve on effectiveness and sustainability. A detailed inventory was made of communal septic tanks as found at health centers and schools. Though most of these septic tanks appeared to be functional, there were concerns due to some units being positioned within the tidal zone, covered over with vegetation, or out of reach of the pump truck. Furthermore, the centralized wastewater treatment plant on Yap provides only primary treatment consisting of a limited removal of suspended solids. Thus, only partially treated sewage is being discharged to the bay. Excess sludge is drawn from the treatment plant on a quarterly basis, which local farmers regularly make use of as fertilizer for crop application without adequate treatment. As an immediate target for further study and pilot testing, exploring the use of an attached-growth process as an inexpensive retrofit to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment plant is proposed. In addition, the benefits of implementing a composting program for recycle of waste sludge in a safe manner and developing a framework for management of septic tanks are discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Performance Comparison of Reservation Based and Instant Access One-Way Car Sharing Service through Discrete Event Simulation
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12465-12489; doi:10.3390/su70912465
Received: 27 July 2015 / Revised: 27 August 2015 / Accepted: 6 September 2015 / Published: 11 September 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2685 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A car sharing service has been highlighted as a new urban transport alternative for an environmentally friendly economy. As the demand for the service from customers increases, car sharing operators need to introduce a new service such as a one-way option that will
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A car sharing service has been highlighted as a new urban transport alternative for an environmentally friendly economy. As the demand for the service from customers increases, car sharing operators need to introduce a new service such as a one-way option that will allow customers to return the car to different stations. Due to the complexity of the one-way system, it needs to be managed and optimized for real cases. This paper focuses on developing a simulation model in order to help operators evaluate the performance of the one-way service. In addition, this research demonstrates a strategy for an open one-way service that can increase revenue and customer satisfaction. A real case dataset is used for investigation to find the best result from the simulation. The result showed that the total number of cars, number of one-way reservations and station size have an impact on one-way performance. Thus, company profit and customer satisfaction can be maximized by optimizing these factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon reduction strategies and methods in transportation)
Open AccessArticle The Customer Citizenship Behaviors of Food Blog Users
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12502-12520; doi:10.3390/su70912502
Received: 13 June 2015 / Revised: 5 August 2015 / Accepted: 8 September 2015 / Published: 11 September 2015
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Abstract
Compared with previous studies that have focused on customers’ behavioral intentions or the factors that influence purchase behaviors on blogs or discussion boards, in this study, we examine the factors of independent food blogs or discussion boards that influence users’ customer citizenship behaviors.
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Compared with previous studies that have focused on customers’ behavioral intentions or the factors that influence purchase behaviors on blogs or discussion boards, in this study, we examine the factors of independent food blogs or discussion boards that influence users’ customer citizenship behaviors. Six food blogs were selected based on the flow rate and food diaries. 323 Subjects were chosen from the blog user population and then interviewed to develop the data needed for this study. The results indicate that psychological needs, customer satisfaction, and customer-company identification positively affect customer citizenship behaviors. High satisfaction of customer-orientation is a critical management strategy on food blogs. This study adapts physically existing organizational behavior theory through appropriate inference and modification for virtual community. Unlike past studies that focused on customer purchase intention, this study emphasizes customer value and social media of the virtual community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Application of a Decision Support Tool in Three Renovation Projects
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12521-12538; doi:10.3390/su70912521
Received: 26 June 2015 / Revised: 21 August 2015 / Accepted: 9 September 2015 / Published: 11 September 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (811 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Building owners are encouraged to reduce energy use in order to both contribute to national energy-saving goals and reduce the costs of heating and operation. It is important to choose the most optimal renovation measures available so as to achieve cost-effective energy use
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Building owners are encouraged to reduce energy use in order to both contribute to national energy-saving goals and reduce the costs of heating and operation. It is important to choose the most optimal renovation measures available so as to achieve cost-effective energy use while maintaining excellent indoor environments, without sacrificing architectural quality or negatively affecting the environment. Building owners and managers often have neither the time nor the expertise required to properly evaluate the available renovation options before making a final decision. Renovation measures are often calculated to repay investments in a short time, rather than taking into account life-cycle costs (LCC), despite the fact that a thoughtful, comprehensive renovation is often more cost-effective in the long run. This paper presents a systematic approach for evaluating different renovation alternatives based on a number of sustainability criteria. The methodology has been verified using three multi-family apartment buildings in Sweden. The benefit of using the proposed methodology is made clear through a comparison between the different renovation alternatives from a sustainability perspective, and will hopefully serve as encouragement to choose renovation measures which involve marginally increased investments but lead to significant environmental and social benefits in the long-term. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Urban Development Calls for Responsibility through Life Cycle Management
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12539-12563; doi:10.3390/su70912539
Received: 19 August 2015 / Revised: 7 September 2015 / Accepted: 9 September 2015 / Published: 11 September 2015
PDF Full-text (1210 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Urban development bestows a great opportunity to increase sustainability in the built environment as cities are responsible for the majority of environmental impacts. However, the urban development process is fragmented and sub-optimization leads to unsustainable life cycle outcomes. The purpose of this study
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Urban development bestows a great opportunity to increase sustainability in the built environment as cities are responsible for the majority of environmental impacts. However, the urban development process is fragmented and sub-optimization leads to unsustainable life cycle outcomes. The purpose of this study is to examine the urban development process from a life cycle perspective and identify how different actors understand life cycle management. By utilizing an inductive qualitative research design, 38 in-depth thematic interviews were conducted within the Finnish urban development industry including a case study and independent interviews from different phases of the urban development life cycle. The theoretical perspective is a combination of the ecosystem construct and life cycle management. Results show that there is no clear responsible actor for life cycle management in urban development. All actors claim that there is value to be added, mostly in economic, but also environmental and social terms. This study reveals that investors should be the responsible actor in the urban development process. By claiming responsibility and focusing on life cycle leadership we can improve sustainability in urban development, and respond to the urban sustainability challenge, thus improving the quality of life and welfare in our urban society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Leadership and Management)
Open AccessArticle Factors Influencing the Behavioural Intention towards Full Electric Vehicles: An Empirical Study in Macau
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12564-12585; doi:10.3390/su70912564
Received: 1 June 2015 / Revised: 5 September 2015 / Accepted: 7 September 2015 / Published: 11 September 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1228 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examines the factors that influence individual intentions towards the adoption of full electric vehicles. A sample including 308 respondents was collected on the streets of Macau. The collected data were analysed by confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling. The results
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This study examines the factors that influence individual intentions towards the adoption of full electric vehicles. A sample including 308 respondents was collected on the streets of Macau. The collected data were analysed by confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling. The results demonstrate that environmental concerns and the perception of environmental policy are antecedent factors of the perception of full electric vehicles, which influences the behavioural intention to purchase full electric vehicles. This study also finds that the perception of economic benefit is one of the key factors influencing the adoption of full electric vehicles. Vehicle operators seek economic benefits from future long-term fuel savings, high energy efficiency, and cheap electricity. Thus, a government striving to promote low-carbon transportation needs to scale up its efforts to enhance citizens’ environmental concerns and to establish proper environmental policy as well as to provide long-term financial and strategic support for electric vehicles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon reduction strategies and methods in transportation)
Open AccessArticle Policy Instruments for Eco-Innovation in Asian Countries
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12586-12614; doi:10.3390/su70912586
Received: 5 June 2015 / Revised: 26 August 2015 / Accepted: 9 September 2015 / Published: 11 September 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1116 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Eco-innovation globally emerged as an effort to implement sustainable development. States and firms established and implemented policies and strategies for eco-innovation as one route to achieving sustainable development. Eco-innovation has been facilitated in developed countries, specifically OECD members and European countries, through action
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Eco-innovation globally emerged as an effort to implement sustainable development. States and firms established and implemented policies and strategies for eco-innovation as one route to achieving sustainable development. Eco-innovation has been facilitated in developed countries, specifically OECD members and European countries, through action plans. Recently, eco-innovation policies have emerged in developing countries. Thus, this study analyzes eco-innovation policies in Asian countries. Policies related to eco-innovation in 17 Asian countries were investigated using policy instrument categories. National policies for eco-innovation were interpreted and compared with development stage classifications. The results indicate that there are similar and different policy approaches to eco-innovation in Asian countries. Given the balance between a technology push (supply side) and a market pull (demand side) in policy instruments for eco-innovation, 17 countries were identified by four categories: leaders, followers, loungers, and laggards. The results provide insight for designing national strategies for eco-innovation in Asia’s developing countries. Therefore, this research contributes to facilitating and diffusing eco-innovation toward sustainability in Asia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Selecting Eco-Friendly Thermal Systems for the “Vittoriale Degli Italiani” Historic Museum Building
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12615-12633; doi:10.3390/su70912615
Received: 23 July 2015 / Revised: 6 September 2015 / Accepted: 10 September 2015 / Published: 15 September 2015
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (2526 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Thermal systems installed in museums should guarantee the maintenance of the optimal hygrothermal parameters ranges for the conservation of their collection materials. Considering the preservation of historic buildings, according to their historical and landscaping constraints, not all the thermal system typologies could be
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Thermal systems installed in museums should guarantee the maintenance of the optimal hygrothermal parameters ranges for the conservation of their collection materials. Considering the preservation of historic buildings, according to their historical and landscaping constraints, not all the thermal system typologies could be installed in these buildings’ typologies. Therefore, the main aim of this paper is to present some indications for the choice of the best thermal system solutions for a considered historic museum building, called Vittoriale degli Italiani, in the north of Italy, taking into account their installation feasibility and their related environmental impacts. The methodology includes a monitoring of the current hygrothermal parameters as well as the assessment of design heat and cooling loads related to the maintenance of the optimal hygrothermal parameters ranges for the conservation of collection materials. In addition, a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of each selected system typology is considered for highlighting the most eco-friendly solution among the suitable ones. The obtained results highlights the feasible thermal system solutions able to maintain the hygrothermal parameters between the optimal ranges with a lower environmental impact in the Vittoriale degli Italiani historic museum building. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Effect of Composting Parameters on the Power Performance of Solid Microbial Fuel Cells
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12634-12643; doi:10.3390/su70912634
Received: 31 May 2015 / Revised: 8 September 2015 / Accepted: 9 September 2015 / Published: 15 September 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1250 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nowadays, solid organic waste is of major environmental concern and is reaching critical levels worldwide. Currently, a form of natural decomposition, known as composting technology, is widely used to deal with organic waste. This method is applied to enhance the performance of solid
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Nowadays, solid organic waste is of major environmental concern and is reaching critical levels worldwide. Currently, a form of natural decomposition, known as composting technology, is widely used to deal with organic waste. This method is applied to enhance the performance of solid microbial fuel cells (SMFCs) in this study. Operational composting parameters (carbon/nitrogen ratio, moisture content and pH value) are investigated to explore the optimal power performance of solid microbial fuel cells (SMFCs). Results indicate that the carbon/nitrogen ratio and the moisture content displayed the most significant impact on SMFCs. When the carbon/nitrogen ratio is 31.4 and moisture content is 60%, along with a pH value of 6–8, a better SMFC power performance would be obtained. These findings would provide positive information regarding the application of compost in SMFCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Moving towards Sustainability: Road Grades and On-Road Emissions of Heavy-Duty Vehicles—A Case Study
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12644-12671; doi:10.3390/su70912644
Received: 13 June 2015 / Revised: 7 September 2015 / Accepted: 7 September 2015 / Published: 15 September 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1332 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
On-road vehicle emissions are one of the major sources of transport emissions. As a key design factor, road grades (or road slopes) have significant effects on on-road vehicle emissions, particularly on Heavy-Duty Vehicles (HDVs). However, the research into the relationship between road grades
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On-road vehicle emissions are one of the major sources of transport emissions. As a key design factor, road grades (or road slopes) have significant effects on on-road vehicle emissions, particularly on Heavy-Duty Vehicles (HDVs). However, the research into the relationship between road grades and on-road vehicle emissions is very rare in China. Taking a road network in Taiyuan, China, as a study area, this paper explored the influences of road grades on carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbon (HC), and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions of HDVs. Combining emissions data collected by Portable Emission Measurement System (PEMS) with Vehicle Specific Power (VSP), we developed an emission rate model of HDVs. Then, we integrated it with the traffic simulation model VISSIM to attain the emissions of HDVs on nine scenarios differentiated by road grades. The results showed that the three emissions are found to be highly correlated to road grades, among which the CO emissions are most sensitive to the change of road grades and the HC emissions least. Compared to the emissions at 0% grade, the emissions at 4% grade will be boosted from 39.0% to 60.6%. The CO and NOx emissions increase with the road grades in all nine scenarios, while the variations of HC emissions in different scenarios were complicated. The findings of this research will provide insights for policy-makers, scholars, and practitioners into strategies for improving road design to reduce traffic emissions and develop sustainable transportation in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Improvement of Air Quality and Thermal Environment in an Old City District by Constructing Wind Passages
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12672-12692; doi:10.3390/su70912672
Received: 9 May 2015 / Revised: 14 August 2015 / Accepted: 7 September 2015 / Published: 15 September 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6532 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A case study in an old city district with hot-humid climatic conditions in Wuhan, China was conducted to explore the potential renewal strategies favorable to the local residents and pedestrians. For this purpose, a comprehensive mathematical model considering the parameters such as ambient
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A case study in an old city district with hot-humid climatic conditions in Wuhan, China was conducted to explore the potential renewal strategies favorable to the local residents and pedestrians. For this purpose, a comprehensive mathematical model considering the parameters such as ambient crosswind, solar radiation, natural convection, and a previously established heat transfer mechanism was employed to analyze the fluid flow and heat transfer characteristics of the study area. In addition, in the urban renewal process, five alternative renewal strategies, namely, Central Demolition (CD) Plan, Edge Demolition (ED) Plan, Wedge Shape Demolition (WSD) Plan, “L” Shape Demolition (LSD) Plan, and Cross Shape Demolition (CSD) Plan, were adopted to improve the thermal and ventilation environment of Wuhan old city district. Through simulation analysis, the temperature and velocity distributions of the original urban layout and five alternative renewal strategies were compared. It is found that the construction of an air passage within the old city district can improve the local air quality, air ventilation, and thermal environment to some extent. Among the five alternative strategies to construct air passages, CSD Plan is much better than the others. Accordingly, corresponding suggestions and strategies for urban renewal were presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Building)
Open AccessArticle Small Wind Technology Diffusion in Suburban Areas of Sicily
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12693-12708; doi:10.3390/su70912693
Received: 19 May 2015 / Revised: 17 August 2015 / Accepted: 9 September 2015 / Published: 16 September 2015
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (2063 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Among renewable energy resources, wind energy became more attractive in the last decade. Wind farm installations dramatically increased in areas where climatic conditions, topography, and environment have allowed their development. The installation of wind turbines, usually carried out in remote areas, recently began
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Among renewable energy resources, wind energy became more attractive in the last decade. Wind farm installations dramatically increased in areas where climatic conditions, topography, and environment have allowed their development. The installation of wind turbines, usually carried out in remote areas, recently began to cover areas identified by a complex terrain such as urban and suburban zones. Although these new plant choices are characterized by lower productivity, there is increasing interest in wind energy production in both urban and suburban areas. In this work the authors have carried out an energy analysis developed from a sample of small wind turbines available on the market. This study shows how variable the energy production of a small wind turbine can be according to many design and context parameters: wind profiles, installation height, land use, and characteristics of the turbine. Full article
Open AccessArticle Towards Sustainable Tourism Development in Urban Areas: Case Study on Bucharest as Tourist Destination
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12709-12722; doi:10.3390/su70912709
Received: 30 July 2015 / Revised: 28 August 2015 / Accepted: 14 September 2015 / Published: 17 September 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (757 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The issues of tourism sustainability and urban development have become major priorities for public policy makers across the globe. Today, maybe more than ever, there is a need for managing sustainable tourism development, and this cannot be attained without taking into account environmental
[...] Read more.
The issues of tourism sustainability and urban development have become major priorities for public policy makers across the globe. Today, maybe more than ever, there is a need for managing sustainable tourism development, and this cannot be attained without taking into account environmental problems and their global dimension. Various problems and requirements of society and of the development of urban areas may be solved by transforming the cities into attractive tourist destinations. Therefore, this study explores how sustainable tourism development in urban areas can be basically achieved and managed. The paper discloses some success factors for managing sustainable tourism development in urban areas and emphasizes a case study regarding Bucharest, the capital of Romania, as a tourist destination. The originality and value of this study consist of identifying the main ways of developing sustainable tourism in Bucharest based upon empirical research conducted with the aid of a survey. The findings of this study may be helpful for upcoming research in the area of managing sustainable urban tourism development. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluating Romanian Eco-Innovation Performances in European Context
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12723-12757; doi:10.3390/su70912723
Received: 29 June 2015 / Revised: 31 August 2015 / Accepted: 2 September 2015 / Published: 17 September 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1190 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The field of eco-innovation is included in the area of sustainable development being closely related with ecological planning. In this context, this paper aims to evaluate Romanian eco-innovation performance during the period 2003–2013 by constructing a composite index and to also identify the
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The field of eco-innovation is included in the area of sustainable development being closely related with ecological planning. In this context, this paper aims to evaluate Romanian eco-innovation performance during the period 2003–2013 by constructing a composite index and to also identify the main eco-innovation poles at the European level using multidimensional analysis techniques based on the eco-innovation specific indicators for the year 2013. This approach used the methodology of constructing composite indices proposed by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2008. The index measured the eco-innovation dimensions in 27 countries over the period 2003–2013. The empirical analysis revealed the conclusion that in Romania, the eco-innovation level is low compared with other countries, thus Romania cannot emphasize its eco-innovation performance. The empirical results of the study highlighted that eco-innovation represents a phenomenon leading to significant progress in achieving the objective of sustainable development in Romania, and also at the European level, only if the importance of this area is awarded and eco-innovation measures are enforced through adequate policies, leading to economic growth. Full article
Open AccessArticle Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Extremes in Central Europe: A Case Study in a Rural Area in the Czech Republic
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12758-12786; doi:10.3390/su70912758
Received: 31 May 2015 / Revised: 23 August 2015 / Accepted: 8 September 2015 / Published: 17 September 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (674 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The primary objective of this paper is to analyse households’ adaptation measures to the impacts of repeated extreme weather events, specifically floods, which belong amongst the most serious manifestation of ongoing climate change in Europe. The case study focuses on a rural area
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The primary objective of this paper is to analyse households’ adaptation measures to the impacts of repeated extreme weather events, specifically floods, which belong amongst the most serious manifestation of ongoing climate change in Europe. The case study focuses on a rural area in the north-east part of the Czech Republic, in the catchment basin of the Bečva River. A total of 605 households were addressed within the framework of the questionnaire survey. On the basis of the conducted research, we determined that the total amount of adaptation measures adopted by those dwelling in residential homes within the investigated catchment area was relatively low. In contrast, however, one of the most important adaptation measures—house elevation—was applied by 46.94% of the houses (up to 1 m) and by 21.16% houses (elevated more than 1 m) respectively. We also found that the amount and scope of adaptation measures realized by households were influenced by certain socio-demographic factors of the inhabitants. The most statistically significant factors included households with more residents or families with more children living in the household, as well as those with a higher level of education. Flood experience, the level of damage, and individual flood risk perception also played an important role. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Strategies to Adapt to Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Optimal Sizing of a Hybrid Grid-Connected Photovoltaic–Wind–Biomass Power System
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12787-12806; doi:10.3390/su70912787
Received: 27 June 2015 / Revised: 30 August 2015 / Accepted: 14 September 2015 / Published: 18 September 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1115 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hybrid renewable energy systems (HRES) are a trendy alternative to enhance the renewable energy deployment worldwide. They effectively take advantage of scalability and flexibility of these energy sources, since combining two or more allows counteracting the weaknesses of a stochastic renewable energy source
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Hybrid renewable energy systems (HRES) are a trendy alternative to enhance the renewable energy deployment worldwide. They effectively take advantage of scalability and flexibility of these energy sources, since combining two or more allows counteracting the weaknesses of a stochastic renewable energy source with the strengths of another or with the predictability of a non-renewable energy source. This work presents an optimization methodology for minimum life cycle cost of a HRES based on solar photovoltaic, wind and biomass power. Biomass power seeks to take advantage of locally available forest wood biomass in the form of wood chips to provide energy in periods when the PV and wind power generated are not enough to match the existing demand. The results show that a HRES combining the selected three sources of renewable energy could be installed in a rural township of about 1300 dwellings with an up-front investment of US $7.4 million, with a total life cycle cost of slightly more than US $30 million. Such a system would have benefits in terms of energy autonomy and environment quality improvement, as well as in term of job opportunity creation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Conversion System Analysis)
Open AccessArticle Trans-Boundary Infrastructure and Changes in Rural Livelihood Diversity in the Southwestern Amazon: Resilience and Inequality
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12807-12836; doi:10.3390/su70912807
Received: 16 July 2015 / Revised: 9 September 2015 / Accepted: 11 September 2015 / Published: 18 September 2015
PDF Full-text (1272 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Infrastructure has long been a priority in development policy, but there is debate over infrastructure impacts. Whereas economic studies show reductions in poverty, social research has documented growing income inequality. We suggest that a focus on livelihoods permits a bridge between the two
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Infrastructure has long been a priority in development policy, but there is debate over infrastructure impacts. Whereas economic studies show reductions in poverty, social research has documented growing income inequality. We suggest that a focus on livelihoods permits a bridge between the two literatures by highlighting decisions by households that may capture economic benefits but also yield social inequalities. We therefore take up two questions. First is whether new infrastructure allows households to diversify their livelihoods, where diversity begets resilience and thus affords livelihood sustainability. Second is whether households with more diverse livelihoods exhibit greater increases in livelihood diversity, which would widen livelihood inequalities. We take up the case of the Inter-Oceanic Highway, a trans-boundary infrastructure project in the southwestern Amazon. Findings from a rural household survey for the first question show a strong effect of accessibility on increasing livelihood diversity in areas receiving infrastructure upgrades, an indication that infrastructure fosters household resilience. However, results regarding the second question indicate that households with more diversified livelihoods also exhibit larger increments in diversity, which implies growing livelihood inequality. There remains a need to account for inequalities in livelihood diversity, since less diversified households benefit less from new infrastructure and remain more exposed to risks to their livelihoods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Combining Low Price, Low Climate Impact and High Nutritional Value in One Shopping Basket through Diet Optimization by Linear Programming
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12837-12855; doi:10.3390/su70912837
Received: 5 June 2015 / Revised: 11 September 2015 / Accepted: 14 September 2015 / Published: 18 September 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (982 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: This study aims to find diets with low price and low climate impact, yet fulfilling all nutritional requirements. Methods: Optimization by linear programming. The program constrains 33 nutrients to fulfill Dutch dietary requirements. In a second cycle, the upper boundary for climate
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Background: This study aims to find diets with low price and low climate impact, yet fulfilling all nutritional requirements. Methods: Optimization by linear programming. The program constrains 33 nutrients to fulfill Dutch dietary requirements. In a second cycle, the upper boundary for climate impact through greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) is set to 1.6 kg carbon dioxide equivalents/day (CO2eq). In a third cycle, the costs are set on €2.50 as a constraint. The objective function of the optimization maximized the most consumed food products (n = 206) for male and female adults separately (age 31–50). Results: A diet of 63 popular and low priced basic products was found to deliver all required nutrients at an adequate level for both male and female adults. This plant-based, carbohydrate and fiber-rich diet consists mainly of wholegrain bread, potatoes, muesli, open-field vegetables and fruits. The climate impact of this diet is very low (1.59 kg CO2eq/day) compared to the average Dutch diet. By constraining costs, a low carbon diet of €2.59/day is possible. Conclusions: A two-person diet consisting of 63 products and costing €37 per week can simultaneously be healthy and yet have half the average climate impact. Linear programming is a promising tool to combine health and sustainability on both societal and individual levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of the Effects of Mitigation on Methane and Ammonia Production by Using Origanum vulgare L. and Rosmarinus officinalis L. Essential Oils on in Vitro Rumen Fermentation Systems
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12856-12869; doi:10.3390/su70912856
Received: 20 May 2015 / Revised: 1 September 2015 / Accepted: 16 September 2015 / Published: 18 September 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (760 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The effects of increasing concentrations of oregano (Origanum vulgare L.) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) essentials oil (EO) on ruminal gas emissions were tested in vitro using 50 mL serum bottles. Each bottle contained a 200 mg substrate (alfalfa hay and
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The effects of increasing concentrations of oregano (Origanum vulgare L.) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) essentials oil (EO) on ruminal gas emissions were tested in vitro using 50 mL serum bottles. Each bottle contained a 200 mg substrate (alfalfa hay and corn meal 1:1) and a 20 mL solution composed of a buffered medium and rumen fluid (1:2). The percentage of ruminal fermentation products was quantified by an infrared analyzer. The reduction of total gas production was 6% and 9% respectively when using the 1.5 and 2.0 g/L oregano EO measurements. The reduction of methane production was 55%, 72% and 71% respectively with regard to the 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 g/L oregano EO doses, while rosemary EO (2.0 g/L) reduced the methane production by 9%. The production of ammonia was significantly reduced (59%–78%) by all treatments with the exception of rosemary EO at the lowest dose. Dry matter and neutral detergent fiber degradability was reduced by most of the treatments (respectively 4%–9% and 8%–24%). The total volatile fatty acids (VFA) concentration was markedly decreased by oregano EO and was not affected by rosemary EO. Both EOs mitigated rumen fermentations, but oregano EO gave rise to the highest reduction in methane and ammonia production. However, further research is needed to evaluate the use of these essential oils as dietary supplements by taking into account the negative effects on feed degradability. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Process for the Implementation of New Renewable Energy Systems in a Building by Considering Environmental and Economic Effect
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12870-12890; doi:10.3390/su70912870
Received: 3 March 2015 / Revised: 20 August 2015 / Accepted: 15 September 2015 / Published: 18 September 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1068 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The excessive use of fossil fuels has led to global warming and air pollution. To solve these problems, interest in new renewable energy system (NRE system) has increased in recent years. In particular, photovoltaic, solar thermal heating, fuel cell and ground source heating
[...] Read more.
The excessive use of fossil fuels has led to global warming and air pollution. To solve these problems, interest in new renewable energy system (NRE system) has increased in recent years. In particular, photovoltaic, solar thermal heating, fuel cell and ground source heating system are actively implemented for achieving the zero energy building. Since the initial investment cost of the NRE system is quite expensive, it is necessary to conduct a feasibility study from the life cycle perspective. Therefore, this study aimed to develop the process for the implementation of NRE system in a building for the optimal design. This study was conducted with four steps: (i) establishing the basic information for the system installation; (ii) selecting key factors affecting system performances; (iii) making possible alternatives of the system installation; and (iv) selecting optimal system by considering environmental and economic effect. The proposed process could enable the final decision-maker to easily and accurately determine the optimal design of the NRE systems from the economic and environmental efficiency in the early design phase. The process could also be applied to any other NRE system and could be extended to any other country in the global environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Strategies to Adapt to Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Using a Coupled Human-Natural System to Assess the Vulnerability of the Karst Landform Region in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12910-12925; doi:10.3390/su70912910
Received: 5 July 2015 / Revised: 11 September 2015 / Accepted: 17 September 2015 / Published: 18 September 2015
PDF Full-text (1743 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Guizhou Plateau is a region in China that typically shows the contradictory human-earth system. A vulnerability assessment indicator system was constructed to explore the coupled human-natural system characteristic of the karst landform based on the grey correlation analysis mathematic model. The quantitative assessment
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Guizhou Plateau is a region in China that typically shows the contradictory human-earth system. A vulnerability assessment indicator system was constructed to explore the coupled human-natural system characteristic of the karst landform based on the grey correlation analysis mathematic model. The quantitative assessment results show that Qiandongnan and Tongren Districts belong to the slight degree of the sensitivity evaluation index. Bijie district belongs to the middle degree and the other districts of Guizhou Plateau belong to the light degree. In terms of the exposure and resilience evaluation index, only Guiyang City belongs to the slight degree and other districts are in the middle degree. Thus, Guizhou Plateau could be divided into three level zones based on the comprehensive vulnerability degree of the coupled human-natural system. The strong degree vulnerability zone includes Liupanshui City, Bijie City, Anshun City, and Qiannan District. The middle degree vulnerability zone includes the districts of Qiandongnan, Qianxinan, and Tongren and the city of Zunyi. The slight degree vulnerability zone only includes Guiyang City. The research results suggest that the coupled human-natural system in Guizhou Plateau has a high vulnerability. Full article
Open AccessArticle Energy Efficiency Evaluation and Economic Feasibility Analysis of a Geothermal Heating and Cooling System with a Vapor-Compression Chiller System
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12926-12946; doi:10.3390/su70912926
Received: 21 July 2015 / Revised: 12 September 2015 / Accepted: 15 September 2015 / Published: 22 September 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1255 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increasing attention has been given to energy utilization in Turkey. In this report, we present an energy efficiency evaluation and economic feasibility analysis of a geothermal heating and cooling system (GSHP) and a mechanical compression water chiller system (ACHP) to improve the energy
[...] Read more.
Increasing attention has been given to energy utilization in Turkey. In this report, we present an energy efficiency evaluation and economic feasibility analysis of a geothermal heating and cooling system (GSHP) and a mechanical compression water chiller system (ACHP) to improve the energy utilization efficiency and reduce the primary energy demand for industrial use. Analyses of a mechanical water chiller unit, GSW 180, and geothermal heating and cooling system, EAR 431 SK, were conducted in experimental working areas of the office buildings in a cigarette factory in Mersin, Turkey. The heating and cooling loads of the cigarette factory building were calculated, and actual thermal data were collected and analyzed. To calculate these loads, the cooling load temperature difference method was used. It was concluded that the geothermal heating and cooling system was more useful and productive and provides substantial economic benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Conversion System Analysis)
Open AccessArticle Adsorptive Removal of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Using Bamboo Biochar
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12947-12957; doi:10.3390/su70912947
Received: 28 July 2015 / Revised: 13 September 2015 / Accepted: 17 September 2015 / Published: 22 September 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (745 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The occurrence of fluoroquinolone antibiotics in wastewater has drawn great attention. Adsorption of widely used fluoroquinolone antibiotics (enrofloxacin and ofloxacin) in wastewater using bamboo biochar was investigated. More than 99% of fluoroquinolone antibiotics were removed from the synthetic wastewater through adsorption. Adsorption capacities
[...] Read more.
The occurrence of fluoroquinolone antibiotics in wastewater has drawn great attention. Adsorption of widely used fluoroquinolone antibiotics (enrofloxacin and ofloxacin) in wastewater using bamboo biochar was investigated. More than 99% of fluoroquinolone antibiotics were removed from the synthetic wastewater through adsorption. Adsorption capacities of bamboo biochar slightly changed when pH increased from 3.0 to 10.0. The adsorption capacity of bamboo biochar increased sharply when the initial concentration of enrofloxacin or ofloxacin increased from 1 to 200 mg L−1 and then began to plateau with further increases in initial concentration. The maximum adsorption capacity (45.88 ± 0.90 mg·g−1) was observed when the ratio of bamboo biochar to fluoroquinolone antibiotics was 10. The enrofloxacin adsorption capacity of bamboo biochar decreased from 19.91 ± 0.21 mg·g−1 to 14.30 ± 0.51 mg·g−1 while that of ofloxacin decreased from 19.82 ± 0.22 mg·g−1 to 13.31 ± 0.56 mg·g−1 when the NaCl concentrations increased from 0 to 30 g·L−1. The adsorptions of fluoroquinolone on bamboo biochar have isotherms that obeyed the Freundlich model (r2 values were in the range of 0.990–0.991). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biochar)
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Open AccessArticle Risk Assessment of Regional Irrigation Water Demand and Supply in an Arid Inland River Basin of Northwestern China
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12958-12973; doi:10.3390/su70912958
Received: 10 August 2015 / Revised: 30 August 2015 / Accepted: 15 September 2015 / Published: 22 September 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1652 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Irrigation water demand accounts for more than 95% of the total water use in the Kaidu-kongqi River Basin. Determination of the spatial and temporal trends in irrigation water demand is important for making sustainable and wise water management strategies in this highly water
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Irrigation water demand accounts for more than 95% of the total water use in the Kaidu-kongqi River Basin. Determination of the spatial and temporal trends in irrigation water demand is important for making sustainable and wise water management strategies in this highly water deficit region. In this study, the spatial and temporal trends in irrigation water demand as well as net crop irrigation water requirements for nine major crops during 1985–2009 were analyzed by combining the Penman-Monteith equation recommended by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and GIS technology. The regional water stress was also evaluated based on the total irrigation water demand and river discharge at the annual and monthly scales. The results indicated that the annual irrigation water demand in this arid region showed a significant increasing trend during the past 25 years. Total irrigation water demand increased from 14.68 × 108 m3 in 1985 to 34.15 × 108 m3 in 2009. The spatial pattern of total irrigation water demand was significantly affected by the changes in cotton growing area. Due to differences in crop planting structure, the monthly average irrigation water demands in Korla City and Yuli County amounted to the peak in July, while those in other regions reached the maximum in June. Although the annual river runoff was much larger than the irrigation water demand, there was serious water deficit during the critical water use period in May and June in some dry years. The presented study provides important information for managers and planners on sustainable use of water resources in this arid region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Irrigation and Drainage)

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Open AccessReview Ecologizing Our Cities: A Particular, Process-Function View of Southern California, from within Complexity
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11756-11776; doi:10.3390/su70911756
Received: 8 July 2015 / Revised: 16 August 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
PDF Full-text (696 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cities, as the quintessential socio-technological artifacts of human civilization, are seen to set us apart from nature. But an ecosystem view from nested scale-hierarchical process-function ecology shows us that cities are best seen as the emergent and nodal end points of interactive flows
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Cities, as the quintessential socio-technological artifacts of human civilization, are seen to set us apart from nature. But an ecosystem view from nested scale-hierarchical process-function ecology shows us that cities are best seen as the emergent and nodal end points of interactive flows of matter, energy and information. From within such a view, a clear need emerges to ecologize our cities by better integrating them back with nature. Arguing from such an ecosystem approach to depicting reality, this paper proposes that tracing the processes and functions which constitute the morphology of the city leads us to articulate an urban ecology that incorporates heat island mitigations, urban forestry, and ecological landscape management (taken both as the introduction of native vegetation and the insertion of increased proportions of pervious paving), all considered within the framework of an integrative ecosystem approach to land use planning. More importantly, such an approach to urban ecology is useful because, as a mode of intervention, it rests on—indeed, requires—an acknowledgement in ecological planning of the often amorphous and usually only indirectly sensible atmospheric, biogeochemical and hydrological processes and functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessReview Sustainable Land Management in Mining Areas in Serbia and Romania
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11857-11877; doi:10.3390/su70911857
Received: 18 June 2015 / Revised: 20 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 August 2015 / Published: 26 August 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2523 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper analyzes the impacts of mining activities on sustainable land management in mining areas in the Republic of Serbia and Romania and discusses the main challenges related to the management of these issues in legislation and practice. Particular attention is paid to
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The paper analyzes the impacts of mining activities on sustainable land management in mining areas in the Republic of Serbia and Romania and discusses the main challenges related to the management of these issues in legislation and practice. Particular attention is paid to land disturbance, mine waste management and land reclamation, as well as access to land for mining purposes, the transfer of mining royalties and the partnerships of the mining industry, governments, communities and civil society for sustainable mining. Both governments are willing to provide the adequate role to mining in strengthening the national economies, but they face numerous constraints in this matter. Sustainable mining practices and consistent implementation of the mining for the closure planning approach, within an improved legislative framework and in cooperation with stakeholders at all levels, create conditions for the development of creative, profitable, environmentally-sound and socially-responsible management and reuse of mine lands. Full article
Open AccessReview Sustainable Water Systems for the City of Tomorrow—A Conceptual Framework
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12071-12105; doi:10.3390/su70912071
Received: 19 December 2014 / Revised: 15 August 2015 / Accepted: 24 August 2015 / Published: 1 September 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1166 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban water systems are an example of complex, dynamic human–environment coupled systems which exhibit emergent behaviors that transcend individual scientific disciplines. While previous siloed approaches to water services (i.e., water resources, drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater) have led to great improvements
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Urban water systems are an example of complex, dynamic human–environment coupled systems which exhibit emergent behaviors that transcend individual scientific disciplines. While previous siloed approaches to water services (i.e., water resources, drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater) have led to great improvements in public health protection, sustainable solutions for a growing global population facing increased resource constraints demand a paradigm shift based on holistic management to maximize the use and recovery of water, energy, nutrients, and materials. The objective of this review paper is to highlight the issues in traditional water systems including water demand and use, centralized configuration, sewer collection systems, characteristics of mixed wastewater, and to explore alternative solutions such as decentralized water systems, fit for purpose and water reuse, natural/green infrastructure, vacuum sewer collection systems, and nutrient/energy recovery. This review also emphasizes a system thinking approach for evaluating alternatives that should include sustainability indicators and metrics such as emergy to assess global system efficiency. An example paradigm shift design for urban water system is presented, not as the recommended solution for all environments, but to emphasize the framework of system-level analysis and the need to visualize water services as an organic whole. When water systems are designed to maximize the resources and optimum efficiency, they are more prevailing and sustainable than siloed management because a system is more than the sum of its parts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Development)
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Open AccessReview Sustainability Issues and Opportunities in the Sugar and Sugar-Bioproduct Industries
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12209-12235; doi:10.3390/su70912209
Received: 10 July 2015 / Revised: 24 August 2015 / Accepted: 25 August 2015 / Published: 3 September 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (3857 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Like many other industries, the sugar and sugar-bioproduct industries are facing important sustainability issues and opportunities. The relatively low and fluctuating profit for sugar, surpluses of sugar, world-wide trend to produce alternative, renewable bio-based fuels and chemicals to those derived from petroleum and
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Like many other industries, the sugar and sugar-bioproduct industries are facing important sustainability issues and opportunities. The relatively low and fluctuating profit for sugar, surpluses of sugar, world-wide trend to produce alternative, renewable bio-based fuels and chemicals to those derived from petroleum and reduce greenhouse gases, water- and energy-intensive factories and refineries, and increased consumer demands for sustainably manufactured products are putting pressure on the industries to diversify for sustainability. Sugar crops, including sugar and energy cane (Saccharum officinarum), sugar and energy beets (Beta vulgaris), and sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench), are excellent, renewable biomass feedstocks because of their availability, their being amongst the plants that give the highest yields of carbohydrates per hectare, and high sugar contents. While much research has been focused on conversion technologies for advanced biofuels and bioproducts, attention is now focused on developing sustainable supply chains of sugar feedstocks for the new, flexible biorefineries, with customers wanting maximum feedstock reliability and quality, while minimizing cost. All biomass from sugar crops are potential feedstocks. The cogeneration of bioelectricity from bagasse and leaf residues is being increasingly manufactured in more countries and, due to the high carbon content of bagasse and leaves, can also be converted into value-added products such as biochar. Sugar crops are superior feedstocks for the production of platform chemicals for the manufacture of a range of end-products, e.g., bioplastics, chemicals, and biomaterials. In several countries and regions, green sustainability criteria are now in place and have to be met to count against national biofuel targets. Processes to convert high-fiber sugar crop biomass into biofuel have been developed but there has only been limited commercialization at the large-scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Use of Biomass Energy)

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Open AccessCase Report Desperately Seeking Sustainability: Urban Shrinkage, Land Consumption and Regional Planning in a Mediterranean Metropolitan Area
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11980-11997; doi:10.3390/su70911980
Received: 5 July 2015 / Revised: 20 August 2015 / Accepted: 20 August 2015 / Published: 28 August 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1605 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Land degradation has expanded in the Mediterranean region as a result of a variety of factors, including economic and population growth, land-use changes and climate variations. The level of land vulnerability to degradation and its growth over time are distributed heterogeneously over space,
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Land degradation has expanded in the Mediterranean region as a result of a variety of factors, including economic and population growth, land-use changes and climate variations. The level of land vulnerability to degradation and its growth over time are distributed heterogeneously over space, concentrating on landscapes exposed to high human pressure. The present study investigates the level of land vulnerability to degradation in a shrinking urban area (Rome, Italy) at four points in time (1960, 1990, 2000 and 2010) and it identifies relevant factors negatively impacting the quality of land and the level of landscape fragmentation. A multi-domain assessment of land vulnerability incorporating indicators of climate quality, soil quality, vegetation quality and land management quality was carried out based on the Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) framework. The highest rate of growth in the level of land vulnerability was observed in low-density suburban areas. The peri-urban mosaic formed by coastal woodlands and traditional cropland preserved high-quality land with a stable degree of vulnerability over time. Evidence suggests that the agro-forest mosaic surrounding Mediterranean cities act as a “buffer zone” mitigating on-site and off-site land degradation. The conservation of relict natural landscapes is a crucial target for multi-scale policies combating land degradation in suburban dry regions. Full article
Open AccessCase Report Assessing Sustainability of Mixed Use Neighbourhoods through Residents’ Travel Behaviour and Perception: The Case of Nagpur, India
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12164-12189; doi:10.3390/su70912164
Received: 27 March 2015 / Revised: 10 August 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 2 September 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1717 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mixed land-use development is the integration of different land-use functions like residential, commercial, recreational, and institutional in an urban sector or a neighbourhood. Integrating transport and land-use mix is one of the goals of planning policies around the world. Prior studies mention the
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Mixed land-use development is the integration of different land-use functions like residential, commercial, recreational, and institutional in an urban sector or a neighbourhood. Integrating transport and land-use mix is one of the goals of planning policies around the world. Prior studies mention the benefits of mixed land-use development towards creating sustainable environment, but do not specify the proportion of the mix of compatible land uses. This study attempts to assess the sustainability of the neighbourhoods with mixed land-use in the context of the Nagpur city, India. Residents’ travel behaviour in twelve neighbourhoods is studied by means of indicators namely trip lengths, mode of travel, vehicle ownership, and travel expenses. To investigate the users’ insight, the study further examines residents’ perception with the help of parameters such as safety, satisfaction, pollution, and mix. The sustainability indices are computed for both residents’ travel behaviour and perception, for each neighbourhood. The study revealed that neighbourhoods with high and moderate land-use mix are sustainable with travel behaviour. Residents’ perception sustainability index indicates neighbourhoods with moderate land-use mix are more sustainable than those with high and low land-use mixed neighbourhoods. This study advocates stakeholders’ insight and the proportion of mix in land-use planning decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessDiscussion Raising Competitiveness for Tourist Destinations through Information Technologies within the Newest Tourism Action Framework Proposed by the European Commission
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12891-12909; doi:10.3390/su70912891
Received: 28 June 2015 / Revised: 12 September 2015 / Accepted: 14 September 2015 / Published: 18 September 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (812 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Several challenges regarding the European tourism industry were recently identified at EU level which the experts of the European Commission tried to meet, thus formulating several priorities within the newest Tourism Action Framework: Stimulate long-term competitiveness in the European tourism sector, promote the
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Several challenges regarding the European tourism industry were recently identified at EU level which the experts of the European Commission tried to meet, thus formulating several priorities within the newest Tourism Action Framework: Stimulate long-term competitiveness in the European tourism sector, promote the development of sustainable and high-quality tourism, and consolidate the image and promotion of European tourist destinations. Due to the new generational context, information and communications technology ICT and innovation became keywords within the most recent European Tourism Policy. Considering the symbiotic relationship that exists at the European tourism level between sustainable development, innovative ICT solutions, and long-term competitiveness, the decision-makers in European destinations should focus on identifying innovative ways to implement the new Tourism Action Framework adopted by the European Commission, through ICT applications, in order to support long-term competitiveness achievement. Two such authentic proposals are formulated within the present discussion paper: the creation of a decision support system for the management of sustainable European destinations and the development of a trip-planner for quality-sensitive tourists based on an umbrella European certification/labeling system for tourism quality. There is still a fertile field in these areas and, therefore, more innovative ICT tools to support the long-term competitiveness of European tourist destinations can be developed. Full article
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