Sustainability2014, 6(10), 6862-6871; doi:10.3390/su6106862 - published 30 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Companies understand the importance of monitoring and managing their environmental impacts and aim to integrate, with consistent quality control, effective reduce-reuse-recycle programs and risk preventions. By building an integrated sustainable business and development system to meet certain environmental standards, many companies are eligible to be “green” certified. Companies may consider recognizing global visions on sustainability while implementing local best practices. An integrated sustainable business and development system includes talent management, sustainable supply chain, practicing strategies of leveraging resources effectively, implementing social responsibilities, initiating innovative programs of recycling, reducing, and reusing, advancing leaders’ perceptions towards sustainability, reducing innovation barriers, and engaging sustainable practices strategically.
Sustainability2014, 6(10), 6847-6861; doi:10.3390/su6106847 - published 30 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The challenge of managing forests for the production of commercial non-timber forest products (NTFPs) lies in promoting economic development by maintaining and even increasing production while simultaneously maintaining or improving ecological conditions. The discussion of forest management therefore encompasses a wide range of social, economic, political, and ecological questions. Empirically, it is clear that both market and government failure can lead to unsustainable management in commercial NTFP use. How can we manage the market and at the same time formulate good policies? Taking cases from Southwest China, this paper critically examines the current development of NTFP commercialization in the mountainous region of Southwest China. It focuses particularly on three pieces of research on mushroom collection and marketing. By examining empirical data, the paper analyzes current gaps in the policy and the market in mountainous areas in the context of promoting sustainable use of NTFP. It examines the market structure from the perspective of market failure and explores the government’s failure to promote commercial NTFPs. We recommend economic and political decentralization, capacity building, and government investment as means to improve sustainable management.
Sustainability2014, 6(10), 6830-6846; doi:10.3390/su6106830 - published 30 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Sun simulators are employed to test the performance of photovoltaic (PV) devices, according to the standard International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61215. Economical and technical analysis show that PV manufacturers need to integrate Sun simulators in the production process and, in particular, at the end of the production chain in order to measure the I-V curve and to evaluate the peak power of PV devices. Sun simulators need specific lamps to simulate the solar spectrum and a specific filter to simulate atmosphere absorbance. Such a filter can cost over €6 per square centimeter. The aim of this work is to develop an alternative filter. In particular, both chemical analysis and spectrophotometric measurements are carried out to evaluate if the Air Mass (AM) 1.5 G filter can be replaced by a cheaper material. Preliminary simulations show how specific compounds coated on a glass surface can absorb the Sun spectrum, such as the AM 1.5 filter, but with lower costs.
Sustainability2014, 6(10), 6815-6829; doi:10.3390/su6106815 - published 30 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Increasing energy costs are at the origin of the great progress in the field of phase change materials (PCMs). The present work aims at studying the application of clathrate hydrates as PCMs in buildings. Clathrate hydrates are crystalline structures in which guest molecules are enclosed in the crystal lattice of water molecules. Clathrate hydrates can form also at ambient pressure and present a high latent heat, and for this reason, they are good candidates for being used as PCMs. The parameter that makes a PCM suitable to be used in buildings is, first of all, a melting temperature at about 25 °C. The paper provides an overview of groups of clathrate hydrates, whose physical and chemical characteristics could meet the requirements needed for their application in buildings. Simulations with a dynamic building simulation tool are carried out to evaluate the performance of clathrate hydrates in enhancing thermal comfort through the moderation of summer temperature swings and, therefore, in reducing energy consumption. Simulations suggest that clathrate hydrates have a potential in terms of improvement of indoor thermal comfort and a reduction of energy consumption for cooling. Cooling effects of 0.5 °C and reduced overheating hours of up to 1.1% are predicted.
Sustainability2014, 6(10), 6799-6814; doi:10.3390/su6106799 - published 30 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Understanding the link between greenspace patterns and land surface temperature is very important for mitigating the urban heat island (UHI) effect and is also useful for planners and decision-makers for providing a sustainable design for urban greenspace. Although coupling remote sensing data with a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model has widely been used to examine interactions between UHI and greenspace patterns, the paper aims to examine the impact of five theoretical models of greenspace patterns on land surface temperature based on the improvement of the accuracy of CFD modeling by the combination of LiDAR data with remote sensing images to build a 3D urban model. The simulated results demonstrated that the zonal pattern always had the obvious cooling effects when there are no large buildings or terrain obstacles. For ambient environments, the building or terrain obstacles and the type of greenspace have the hugest influence on mitigating the UHI, but the greenspace area behaves as having the least cooling effect. A dotted greenspace pattern shows the best cooling effect in the central area or residential district within a city, while a radial and a wedge pattern may result in a “cold source” for the urban thermal environment.
Sustainability2014, 6(10), 6781-6798; doi:10.3390/su6106781 - published 29 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Ecological and environmental protection is the core content of ecotourism development. A quantitative evaluation of the effects of ecotourism environmental protection (hereinafter referred to as EEP) measures on protected areas is conducive to a deeper understanding of the key issues related to ecotourism development in China, thus providing the theoretical basis for formulating the relevant national policies of sustainable ecotourism development in China. This paper first discusses the evaluation index system and then establishes an index evaluation model of EEP measures and their effects on protected areas. Using surveys of more than 1110 protected areas in 27 provinces (autonomous regions or municipalities), we evaluated the EEP measures and their effects from a quantitative and spatial perspective. The completeness of EEP measures for Chinese protected areas was moderately effective, and the implementation status of the protection measures varied with the protection region. The effectiveness of EEP measures in different provinces and regions showed significant differences. The effectiveness decreased from east to west. The evaluation index values of the environmental protection measures displayed a high correlation with the effects of environmental protection on protected areas. The ecological protection measures should be further improved and strengthened according to their regional differences during ecotourism development.