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Special Issue "Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Engineering and Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Mattias Höjer

Division of Environmental Strategies Research (fms), and Centre for Sustainable Communications, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
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Interests: futures studies for sustainable development; ICT4S; smart sustainable cities; environmental policy
Guest Editor
Dr. Elina Eriksson

Green Leap and CESC, KTH - Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Human-Computer Interaction; user-centred design; sustainability; sustainable consumption; education for sustainable development
Guest Editor
Dr. Chris Preist

Department of Computer Science, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TH, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: computer technology; carbon footprinting techniques

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We invite papers from a broad range of topics connected to Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Sustainability to this Special Issue. ICT through digitalization is affecting all parts of society and changes the preconditions for, and opportunities of, sustainability. We are in an era of both digitization and digitalization, with the first focusing on the technical development and the latter on the use of this development. This Special Issue is covering both these changes, and their relation to mainly environmental and social sustainability.

Received papers are expected to include (but are not limited to) the following examples that all ought to discuss ICT and sustainability implications: ICT in a transforming society, changing practices and lifestyles, smart technologies and the environment, ICT applications for decision support in organizations, assessing and reducing the direct environmental impact of ICT, and sustainability assessments of ICT-based solutions.

We are foreseeing contributions covering for example topics related to energy, cities, transport and food and we highly encourage interdisciplinary work.

Prof. Dr. Mattias Höjer
Dr. Elina Eriksson
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • ICT
  • digitalization
  • societal change
  • sustainability

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Energy Consumption of Mobile Data Transfer—From Technology Development to Consumer Behaviour and Life Cycle Thinking
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2494; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072494
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 11 July 2018 / Accepted: 11 July 2018 / Published: 17 July 2018
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Abstract
Mobile data consumption in Finland is among the highest in the world. The increase in mobile data usage has been rapid and continual future growth is foreseen. Simultaneously, consumer behaviour is changing. While new end-user devices are more and more energy-efficient and energy
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Mobile data consumption in Finland is among the highest in the world. The increase in mobile data usage has been rapid and continual future growth is foreseen. Simultaneously, consumer behaviour is changing. While new end-user devices are more and more energy-efficient and energy consumption per transferred gigabyte has significantly decreased, people spend more time and consume more data via their mobile devices than ever before. Does the increased usage outweigh the energy savings that have been achieved? What options are available for tackling increasing energy demand? And should consumers have a role to play in this discussion? This paper examines the current and future trends that results from the energy consumption of mobile data transfer and mobile networks in Finland. The findings presented in this paper are based on a top-down energy intensity estimate and publicly available data, which was employed to construct an illustrative trend (kWh/gigabyte) for the energy consumption of transmitted mobile data for the years 2010–2017. In addition, energy consumption related to mobile data transfer is discussed from a life cycle perspective, considering both direct and indirect energy use. Finally, the challenges in conducting such assessments are examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Unintended Effects of Autonomous Driving: A Study on Mobility Preferences in the Future
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2404; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072404
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 6 July 2018 / Published: 10 July 2018
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Abstract
Innovations in the mobility industry such as automated and connected cars could significantly reduce congestion and emissions by allowing the traffic to flow more freely and reducing the number of vehicles according to some researchers. However, the effectiveness of these sustainable product and
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Innovations in the mobility industry such as automated and connected cars could significantly reduce congestion and emissions by allowing the traffic to flow more freely and reducing the number of vehicles according to some researchers. However, the effectiveness of these sustainable product and service innovations is often limited by unexpected changes in consumption: some researchers thus hypothesize that the higher comfort and improved quality of time in driverless cars could lead to an increase in demand for driving with autonomous vehicles. So far, there is a lack of empirical evidence supporting either one or other of these hypotheses. To analyze the influence of autonomous driving on mobility behavior and to uncover user preferences, which serve as indicators for future travel mode choices, we conducted an online survey with a paired comparison of current and future travel modes with 302 participants in Germany. The results do not confirm the hypothesis that ownership will become an outdated model in the future. Instead they suggest that private cars, whether conventional or fully automated, will remain the preferred travel mode. At the same time, carsharing will benefit from full automation more than private cars. However, the findings indicate that the growth of carsharing will mainly be at the expense of public transport, showing that more emphasis should be placed in making public transport more attractive if sustainable mobility is to be developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle A Catalogue Supporting Software Sustainability Design
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2296; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072296
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 26 June 2018 / Accepted: 27 June 2018 / Published: 3 July 2018
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Abstract
Like other communities, sustainability in and for software design is a grand research and development challenge. Current research focuses on eliciting the meanings of sustainability and on building approaches for its engineering and integration into the mainstream software development lifecycle. However, few concrete
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Like other communities, sustainability in and for software design is a grand research and development challenge. Current research focuses on eliciting the meanings of sustainability and on building approaches for its engineering and integration into the mainstream software development lifecycle. However, few concrete guidelines that software designers can apply effectively are available. A guideline aims to streamline the design processes according to a set of well-known research routines or sound industry practices. Such guidelines can help software developers in the elicitation of sustainability requirements and testing software against these requirements. This paper introduces a sustainability design catalogue (SSDC) comprising a series of guidelines. It aims to assist software developers and managers in eliciting sustainability requirements, and then in measuring and testing software sustainability. The catalogue is based on reviews of the current and past research on sustainability in software engineering, which are the grounds for the development of the catalogue. Four different case studies were analyzed using the Karlskrona manifesto principles on sustainability design. A pilot framework is also proposed that includes a set of sustainability goals, concepts and methods. It exemplifies how to apply and quantify sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle What Can You Do with 100 kWh? A Longitudinal Study of Using an Interactive Energy Comparison Tool to Increase Energy Awareness
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2269; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072269
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 28 June 2018 / Accepted: 28 June 2018 / Published: 2 July 2018
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Abstract
Reducing the use of energy is important for several reasons, such as saving money and reducing impact on the climate. However, the awareness among non-experts of how much energy is required by different activities and appliances is generally low, which can lead to
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Reducing the use of energy is important for several reasons, such as saving money and reducing impact on the climate. However, the awareness among non-experts of how much energy is required by different activities and appliances is generally low, which can lead to wrong prioritizations. In this study, we have developed an interactive tool to increase “energy awareness”, and performed a longitudinal study to evaluate its effect. A group of 58 students first did a test to benchmark their current energy awareness, where their current knowledge of energy used for 14 different activities, such as driving vehicles and using home appliances, was measured. They then tried the interactive learning tool for 10 min. Next, they did the same test immediately after trying the tool, then again one week after trying the tool, and finally again six months after trying the tool. The results showed a significant learning effect in energy awareness with a “huge” effect size of 2.25 immediately after the intervention, a “very large” effect size of 1.70 after one week, and a “large” effect size of 0.93 after six months. The results further showed that the respondents consistently underestimated what 100 kWh could be used for, and especially so for appliances and activities requiring little energy. Before the intervention, on average they underestimated how much 100 kWh could be used for by 95.2%, and six months after the intervention the underestimation was 86.8%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Is the Maker Movement Contributing to Sustainability?
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2212; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072212
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 17 June 2018 / Accepted: 26 June 2018 / Published: 28 June 2018
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Abstract
ICT has already revolutionized content creation and communications. In principle, today, everybody with Internet access, the right skills and equipment can produce digital content composed of virtual “bits” and make it instantly available across the globe. The same is now happening to manufacturing
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ICT has already revolutionized content creation and communications. In principle, today, everybody with Internet access, the right skills and equipment can produce digital content composed of virtual “bits” and make it instantly available across the globe. The same is now happening to manufacturing for everyone with access to tools like 3D printers. This inter-changeability of bits and atoms is being called the maker movement, which started as a community-based, socially-driven bottom-up movement but is today also impacting mainstream manufacturing through increased efficiencies, distributed local production and the circular economy. The maker movement thus has significant promise for increasing social, economic and environmental sustainability, but is it currently living up to this potential? This paper reports on work undertaken by the European-funded MAKE-IT project has examined this question through detailed qualitative and quantitative empirical research, including ten in-depth case studies across Europe and a detailed examination of 42 maker initiatives at Europe’s foremost city-based maker faire, supplemented by extensive secondary research. Despite the maker movement’s short history, the overall results provide sound evidence of its important though variable contribution to sustainability thus far. In addition, there is a strong gender dimension showing that females are underrepresented both as users and leaders of maker initiatives, whilst female leaders tend to achieve much higher sustainability impacts than their male counterparts. There is also clear evidence that maker initiatives in close collaboration with each other and other actors in city- and region-wide ecosystems are much more successful in achieving sustainability impacts than others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle E-Government Maturity Model for Sustainable E-Government Services from the Perspective of Developing Countries
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1882; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061882
Received: 11 April 2018 / Revised: 16 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 5 June 2018
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Abstract
Electric government (e-government) projects in developing countries are facing many challenges to deliver sustainable e-government services. From the existing literature, we found that most of the studies considered lack of technology, and limitations in budgets and human resources as the main hurdles in
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Electric government (e-government) projects in developing countries are facing many challenges to deliver sustainable e-government services. From the existing literature, we found that most of the studies considered lack of technology, and limitations in budgets and human resources as the main hurdles in effective implementation of e-government services. Along with these limitations, we found that the e-government maturity models adopted by developing countries are failing to provide an appropriate strategic plan to deploy sustainable e-government services. While assessing the existing e-government maturity model, we made several observations on the lack of detail, the technology-centric nature, the emphasis on implementation, and the lack of an adoption strategy. This work contributes toward the proposition of a new e-government maturity model that would address the limitations of exiting e-government maturity models, and would support governments in developing countries to achieve sustainable e-government services. To achieve this goal, we considered five determinants—a detailed process, streamlined services, agile accessibility, use of state-of-the-art technology, and trust and awareness. The proposed model was validated by employing an empirical investigation through case-study and survey methods. We found that both the implementers (government) and adopters (users) of the e-government services benefited from the proposed model, resulting in an increased sustainability of e-government services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Optimal Price Subsidy for Universal Internet Service Provision
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1576; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051576
Received: 19 April 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 15 May 2018
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Abstract
Universal service has been adopted by many countries to bridge the digital divide between Information and communication technologies (ICTs) “haves” and “have-nots”. The key goal of universal service is to provide telecommunications services to “needy persons” at “reasonable” rate. It is, therefore, critical
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Universal service has been adopted by many countries to bridge the digital divide between Information and communication technologies (ICTs) “haves” and “have-nots”. The key goal of universal service is to provide telecommunications services to “needy persons” at “reasonable” rate. It is, therefore, critical for policymakers to make decisions on what is a “reasonable” price or subsidy for “needy persons” so that the targeted users do utilize ICTs and benefit from them. This paper analyzes universal service subsidies in providing subsidized Internet access from a pricing point of view through a hypothetical scenario where the subsidized users being subsidized through a price subsidy and non-subsidized users share the same network operated by a service provider. We propose a service differentiation system based on priority queuing to accommodate both groups of users, and model such a system as a Stackelberg game from both a revenue-maximizing service provider perspective and a social welfare maximizing planner’s perspective. We then analyze the optimal prices that maximize the service provider’s revenue and social welfare respectively, investigate how the revenue maximizing price and social welfare maximizing price are effected by users’ willingness to pay and the subsidy ratio, and evaluate the revenue maximizing solution on welfare grounds using the social-maximizing solution as a benchmark. Interestingly, the optimal revenue maximizing solution corresponds to the socially optimal solution in terms of social welfare under the optimum subsidy ratio that maximizes the social welfare. This suggests that the subsidy ratio can be used as a tool to induce the revenue maximizing service provider to set a price that leads to social optimality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Spatio-Temporal River Contamination Measurements with Electrochemical Probes and Mobile Sensor Networks
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1449; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051449
Received: 28 March 2018 / Revised: 25 April 2018 / Accepted: 1 May 2018 / Published: 7 May 2018
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Abstract
The pollution of the rivers running through the cities or near to them is a current world-wide problem and requires actions and new technologically available approaches to control and restore those waters. In this work, we hypothesized that last-generation mobile sensor networks can
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The pollution of the rivers running through the cities or near to them is a current world-wide problem and requires actions and new technologically available approaches to control and restore those waters. In this work, we hypothesized that last-generation mobile sensor networks can be combined with emergent electrochemical probes and with recently proposed spatio-temporal analysis of the measurement dynamics using machine learning tools. With this purpose, we designed a mobile system to measure five variables: two environmental and three water quality variables in rivers: dissolved oxygen with an electrochemical probe, water temperature, electrical conductivity, air temperature and percentage of relative humidity using solid-state sensors, in each monitoring station. Our main contribution is a first mobile-sensor system that allows mobile campaigns for acquiring measurements with increased temporal and spatial resolution, which in turn allows for better capturing the spatio-temporal behavior of water quality parameters than conventional campaign measurements. Up to 23 monitoring campaigns were carried out, and the resulting measurements allowed the generation of spatio-temporal maps of first and second order statistics for the dynamics of the variables measured in the San Pedro River (Ecuador), by using previously proposed suitable machine learning algorithms. Significantly lower mean absolute interpolation errors were obtained for the set of mean values of the measurements interpolated with Support Vector Regression and Mahalanobis kernel distance, specifically 0.8 for water temperature, 0.4 for dissolved oxygen, 3.0 for air temperature, 11.6 for the percentage relative humidity, and 33.4 for the electrical conductivity of the water. The proposed system paves the way towards a new generation of contamination measurement systems, taking profit of information and communication technologies in several fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Voice-Controlled and Wireless Solid Set Canopy Delivery (VCW-SSCD) System for Mist-Cooling
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020421
Received: 22 January 2018 / Revised: 30 January 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
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Abstract
California growers in the San Joaquin Valley believe that climate change will affect the pistachio yield dramatically. As the central valley fog disappears, insufficient dormant chill accumulation results in poor flowering synchrony, flower quality, and fruit set in this dioecious species. We have
[...] Read more.
California growers in the San Joaquin Valley believe that climate change will affect the pistachio yield dramatically. As the central valley fog disappears, insufficient dormant chill accumulation results in poor flowering synchrony, flower quality, and fruit set in this dioecious species. We have developed a novel, user-friendly, and low-cost Voice-Controlled Wireless Solid Set Canopy Delivery (VCW-SSCD) system to increase bud chill accumulation with evaporative cooling on sunny (winter) days. This system includes: (i) an automated solid-state canopy delivery (SSCD) system; (ii) a wireless weather-, crop-related data acquisition system; (iii) a Voice-Controlled (VC) system using Amazon Alexa; (iv) a mobile application to visualize the collected data and wirelessly control the SSCD system; and (v) a smart control system. The proposed system was deployed and evaluated in a commercial pistachio orchard in Bakersfield, CA. The system worked well with no reported errors. Results demonstrated the system’s ability to cool bud temperatures in a low relative humidity climate. At an ambient temperature of 10–20 °C, bud temperatures were lowered 5–10 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Sustainability)
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