Sustainability2014, 6(9), 5839-5852; doi:10.3390/su6095839 - published 1 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The thermal and acoustic properties of innovative insulating systems used as building coatings were investigated: Granular silica aerogel was mixed with natural plaster in different percentages. This coating solution is transpiring and insulating, thanks to the use of a natural lime coat and aerogel, a highly porous light material with very low thermal conductivity. The thermal conductivity of the proposed solution was evaluated by means of a Heat Flow meter apparatus (EN ISO 12667), considering different percentages of aerogel. The natural plaster without aerogel has a thermal conductivity of about 0.50 W/m K; considering a percentage of granular aerogel of about 90% in volume, the thermal conductivity of the insulating natural coating falls to 0.050 W/m K. Increasing the percentage of granular aerogel, a value of about 0.018–0.020 W/m K can be reached. The acoustic properties were also evaluated in terms of the acoustic absorption coefficient, measured by means of a Kundt’s Tube (ISO 10534-2). Two samples composed by a plasterboard support, an insulation plaster with aerogel (thicknesses 10 mm and 30 mm respectively) and a final coat were assembled. The results showed that the absorption coefficient strongly depends on the final coat, so the aerogel-based plaster layer moderately influences the final value. The application of this innovative solution can be a useful tool for new buildings, but also for the refurbishment of existing ones. This material is in development: until now, the best value of the thermal conductivity obtained from manufacturers is about 0.015 W/m K.
Sustainability2014, 6(9), 5820-5838; doi:10.3390/su6095820 - published 1 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In the past 30 years, China’s economy has experienced rapid development, which led to a vast increase in energy consumption and serious environmental pollution. Among the different types of pollution, heavy metal pollution has become one of the major environmental issues in China. A number of studies show that high level of heavy metal exposure is a frequent cause of permanent intellectual and developmental disabilities. In recent years, some traditional pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, have been put under control in China. However, heavy metal pollution, which poses even greater risks to public health and sustainable development, has yet to gain policymakers’ attention. The purpose of this paper is to explore effective countermeasures for heavy metal pollution in China. The present study reviews the current status of China’s heavy metal pollution and analyzes related public policies and countermeasures against that pollution. It also presents a few recommendations and measures for prevention of heavy metal pollution.
Sustainability2014, 6(9), 5801-5819; doi:10.3390/su6095801 - published 1 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of energy resources. The production of energy resources in Russia is profitable both economically and in terms of energy production. Currently, Russian oil and gas companies have a policy of increasing energy efficiency, which will led to an increase in the energy return on investment (EROI) of both oil and gas production as a whole, and of separate companies in particular. By our calculations, the EROI for oil production in Russia differs for the different companies, and in 2012 was in the range of 22–35:1. The EROI for light oil products in 2012 was in the range of 5–13:1.
Sustainability2014, 6(9), 5785-5800; doi:10.3390/su6095785 - published 29 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Increasing and sustainable production of rice in tropical hill area is facing various problems where rice ratooning can overcome the limitations. In this study; 22 rice entries were transplanted into experimental tank placed in the hill slope following Completely Randomized Design with five replications to asses’ agronomic performance of main crop and ratoon crop where Entry 13 demonstrated highest grain yield per plant (42.06 ± 1.2 gm) as main crop, as well as ratoon crop (3.37 ± 0.28 gm); Entry 19 produced lowest grain yield per plant (5.01 ± 0.31 gm) as main crop and Entry 31 as ratoon crop (0.47 ± 0.03 gm). The grain yield per plant of both the main and ratoon crop demonstrated significant (** at 5% level and *** at 1% level) positive correlation with number of tiller per plant (0.64 ** and 0.52); number of fertile tiller per plant (0.66 ** and 0.63 **); grain per panicle (0.72 ** and 0.53); fertile grain per panicle (0.80 *** and 0.63) and thousand-grain weight (0.66 ** and 0.54). The Duncan Multiple Range test and Analysis of Variance also confirmed the different grouping and significant differences of productivity and agronomic performances of the entries. The information of this investigation will helps the rice breeder as well as marginal rice farmers to consider rice ratooning as an important practice for sustainable rice production in tropical agriculture system for maximum gains.
Sustainability2014, 6(9), 5763-5784; doi:10.3390/su6095763 - published 29 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper investigates regional inequality in a multi-scale framework, using Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis, based on the per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of counties and municipalities within the Zhejiang province in China between the years of 1990 and 2010. A Spatial Markov Chain is used to identify the dynamics of regional wealth disparity in Zhejiang. The results show that the regional inequality of Zhejiang is sensitive to the geographic scale of the analysis. In addition, the inter-county inequality shows an inverted-U shape pattern. At the same time, the inter-municipality inequality displays a more consistently upward trend, and the evolution of the interregional inequality is relatively stable over time. The regional inequality is more significant at finer (larger) spatial scales. The decomposition of the Theil Index shows that the contribution of the inequalities between Northeast Zhejiang and Southwest Zhejiang increased. The increasingly larger values of the Global Moran’s I show that there is an intensifying spatial aggregation of economic development. The comparison of the traditional Markov transition matrix and the Spatial Markov transition matrix illustrates how the relative wealth or poverty of neighboring counties make a significance difference in wealth in a given county as measured using domestic GDP per capita in Zhejiang province. This space-time analysis is valuable for policy making towards sustainable economic development in China given the soaring spatial inequality.
Sustainability2014, 6(9), 5745-5762; doi:10.3390/su6095745 - published 28 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The main purpose of this study is to propose a visitor centric perspective that can support museums towards sustainability. The main premise of this study is due to a concept of economic and social sustainability of museums, defined as the possession of sufficient resources to maintain the existence of an organization, and achieve their goals in the future, ensuring a certain flow of visitors. A great number of museums are characterized by a low number of visits; therefore, in order to become sustainable, museums should pay attention to audience and its internal diversity. In this way, a cultural site can plan tailored strategies to increase the number of visits and re-visits and to achieve community support. For this reason it is necessary to understand the cultural needs of visitors, acquiring appropriate monitoring tools, such as qualitative and quantitative ones. Generally, quantitative analyses are more reliable and complete, even if they require a considerable number of observations for the reliability of the results. Moreover, qualitative analysis provides more in depth information, even if their data do not allow us to make generalizations. The qualitative and quantitative methods for the detection of satisfaction are usually used separately, but their integration may bring significant added value in terms of the wealth of information. This study follows the analysis of the potential of the integration of qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques customized with respect to different types of targets. The results of the experimentation performed on ethnographic museums shows a consistency of the results obtained by the two different tools that increase the capacity information of survey instruments.