Special Issue "Challenges in Industrial Ecology"

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A special issue of Challenges (ISSN 2078-1547).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Thomas L. Theis (Website)

Institute for Environmental Science and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2121 West Taylor Street, MC 673 Chicago, IL 60612, USA
Interests: mathematical modeling and systems analysis of environmental processes; industrial pollution prevention; industrial ecology; the environmental chemistry of trace organic and inorganic substances; interfacial reactions; subsurface contaminant transport; hazardous waste management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Industrial Ecology is an interdisciplinary field of study that fosters an integrated understanding of the ways in which environmental, social, economic, and ethical dimensions can be integrated for holistic solutions to critical human problems. Although a relatively young science in the formal sense, the field has matured rapidly, making seminal contributions to our understanding of such phenomena as material and substance flows, life cycle assessment, environmental impact analysis, and sustainability science to name a few.

And yet the challenges to sustain human industry and its impacts continue to grow, encompassing such areas as:

  • Food supply and food security
  • Sustainability and resilience in urban systems
  • The development of new energy supplies and their distribution
  • The future of nuclear energy
  • The economics of sustainability
  • Resource supply and equity
  • Reuse and control of wastes
  • Lessening impacts of rapidly industrializing nations
  • New integrated policies informed by industrial ecology
  • Efficiency, consumption, and the “rebound effect”
  • Economic growth and financial stability
  • Links between environmental and social justice
  • Connections between the sustainability and resilience of human-natural systems
  • Global and local education challenges

This issue of “Challenges” invites scholars from all fields to contribute research and discussion that explore and illuminate core sustainability challenges ahead for this growing and dynamic field of study.

Prof. Dr. Thomas L. Theis
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • industrial ecology
  • life cycle impact analysis
  • material flow analysis
  • sustainability
  • resilience
  • human-natural systems
  • industrial metabolism
  • policy

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Happiness versus the Environment—A Case Study of Australian Lifestyles
Challenges 2013, 4(1), 56-74; doi:10.3390/challe4010056
Received: 19 March 2013 / Revised: 4 April 2013 / Accepted: 9 April 2013 / Published: 2 May 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (797 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Crafting environmental policies that at the same time enhance, or at least not reduce people’s wellbeing, is crucial for the success of government action aimed at mitigating environmental impact. However, there does not yet exist any survey that refers to one and [...] Read more.
Crafting environmental policies that at the same time enhance, or at least not reduce people’s wellbeing, is crucial for the success of government action aimed at mitigating environmental impact. However, there does not yet exist any survey that refers to one and the same population, and that allows the identifying relationships and trade-offs between subjective wellbeing and the complete environmental impact of households. In order to circumvent the lack of comprehensive survey information, we attempt to integrate two separate survey databases, and describe the challenges associated with this integration. Our results indicate that carbon footprints are likely to increase, but wellbeing levels off with increasing income. Living together with people is likely to create a win-win situation where both climate and wellbeing benefit. Car ownership obviously creates emissions, however personal car ownership enhances subjective wellbeing, but living in an area with high car ownership decreases subjective wellbeing. Finally, gaining educational qualifications is linked with increased emissions. These results indicate that policy-making is challenged in striking a wise balance between individual convenience and the common good. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Industrial Ecology)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Challenges in Improving Energy Efficiency in a University Campus Through the Application of Persuasive Technology and Smart Sensors
Challenges 2012, 3(2), 290-318; doi:10.3390/challe3020290
Received: 4 September 2012 / Revised: 8 November 2012 / Accepted: 9 November 2012 / Published: 19 December 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2344 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The impact of energy consumption and carbon emission in the UK poses a grave challenge. This challenge is particularly high amongst residents of university campuses, where usage of electricity and carbon emission remain invisible to the students. In student residential accommodation, personal [...] Read more.
The impact of energy consumption and carbon emission in the UK poses a grave challenge. This challenge is particularly high amongst residents of university campuses, where usage of electricity and carbon emission remain invisible to the students. In student residential accommodation, personal choices and social influences affect electricity consumption and ultimately the resultant reduction in carbon emissions. Therefore, innovative solutions are required to change students’ energy consumption behavior, and one promising part of the solution is to present real-time electricity consumption data to students in real-time via a dedicated web platform, while, at the same time, appointing an energy delegate in each hall to induce motivation among the students. The results of some interventions show that immediate energy feedback from smart meters or display devices can provide savings of 5%–15%. However, the situation is different; with the complexity in behavior of our target groups “the students who are living in the halls of residence”, there are economical and environmental aspects to be addressed in these issues, in the campus halls of residence. Therefore, we propose a system to address this issue, by applying smart sensors (real-time electricity data capture), integration of dedicated visual web interface (real-time electricity feedback display) and an appointed energy delegate in each hall (a motivator). It is expected that this will motivate students living in the halls of residence to reduce their electricity wastage and, therefore, control the energy cost and also reduce the carbon emissions released into the environment. In the present research, we focus on the University of Kent, Canterbury campus to study energy conservation and carbon emission reduction strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Industrial Ecology)
Open AccessReview A Life-cycle Approach to Improve the Sustainability of Rural Water Systems in Resource-Limited Countries
Challenges 2012, 3(2), 233-260; doi:10.3390/challe3020233
Received: 10 August 2012 / Revised: 29 October 2012 / Accepted: 31 October 2012 / Published: 8 November 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (488 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A WHO and UNICEF joint report states that in 2008, 884 million people lacked access to potable drinking water. A life-cycle approach to develop potable water systems may improve the sustainability for such systems, however, a review of the literature shows that [...] Read more.
A WHO and UNICEF joint report states that in 2008, 884 million people lacked access to potable drinking water. A life-cycle approach to develop potable water systems may improve the sustainability for such systems, however, a review of the literature shows that such an approach has primarily been used for urban systems located in resourced countries. Although urbanization is increasing globally, over 40 percent of the world’s population is currently rural with many considered poor. In this paper, we present a first step towards using life-cycle assessment to develop sustainable rural water systems in resource-limited countries while pointing out the needs. For example, while there are few differences in costs and environmental impacts for many improved rural water system options, a system that uses groundwater with community standpipes is substantially lower in cost that other alternatives with a somewhat lower environmental inventory. However, a LCA approach shows that from institutional as well as community and managerial perspectives, sustainability includes many other factors besides cost and environment that are a function of the interdependent decision process used across the life cycle of a water system by aid organizations, water user committees, and household users. These factors often present the biggest challenge to designing sustainable rural water systems for resource-limited countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Industrial Ecology)

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