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Special Issue "Advanced Methodologies and Tools for Measuring “Environmental Sustainability""

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2016)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Fausto Cavallaro

Department of Economics, Management, Society and Institutions (EGSI)-University of Molise, Via De Sanctis, 86100 Campobasso, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: my research interest are in the areas of sustainable technology assessment, renewable energy systems, fuzzy multicriteria, decision making, tools for the assessment of sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the concept of sustainability has been revised and new models have become increasingly pervasive. Appraising sustainability is complex and uncertain because sustainability encompasses environmental, technical, economic, and social dimensions. The scientific procedure of assessment has a vital role because it can supply the right tools for understanding the real meaning of sustainability. Indeed, many researchers have contributed new approaches or models for measuring sustainability. A very important line of research concerns the applications of multi-criteria and soft computing models that address the complexity of the value of sustainability.

This Special Issue aims to collect original contributions, subject to a rigorous peer review, concerning the main advancements and innovations in evaluation methods and theories for estimating sustainability values, as applied in practice in various sectors (e.g., those areas concerning water, soil, air, waste management, supply chains, materials, renewable energy, etc.).

Topics of interest include current research about applications of sustainability measurement in the following area:
1) Multi-criteria, analytic network process;
2) Fuzzy set, Fuzzy inference, Fuzzy multicriteria;
3) Soft computing: Neuro-fuzzy, Neural net, Algorithm genetics, evolution algorithms particle swarm optimization (PSO), chaos theory;
4) Hybrid models: LCA+multi-criteria, LCA+Fuzzy-sets, LCA+Algoritm genetics, Footprint+fuzzy inference, Carbon footprint+ fuzzy-sets, others hybrids models;
5) Dynamic Systems;
6) Montecarlo analysis, mathematical programming and goal programming;
7) Other advanced modeling of environmental sustainability

Dr. Fausto Cavallaro
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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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

  • Sustainability assessment
  • Sustainabilty management
  • Multi-criteria
  • Fuzzy set and inference
  • Soft computing

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Influence of Different Mowing Systems on Community Characteristics and the Compensatory Growth of Important Species of the Stipa grandis Steppe in Inner Mongolia
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1121; doi:10.3390/su8111121
Received: 13 May 2016 / Revised: 26 July 2016 / Accepted: 7 September 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
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Abstract
The Stipa grandis steppe is a type of steppe in the Central Asian sub-region, and it is an important resource for livestock production in China. Mowing is one of the main management methods for this steppe. Verifying the response of the Stipa grandis
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The Stipa grandis steppe is a type of steppe in the Central Asian sub-region, and it is an important resource for livestock production in China. Mowing is one of the main management methods for this steppe. Verifying the response of the Stipa grandis steppe communities to different mowing frequencies is essential for the rational utilization of pastures and the protection and recovery of natural steppe. In this study, we investigated the community characteristics and compensatory growth of important species of the Stipa grandis steppe community under four mowing frequencies (TAY: twice a year; OAY: once a year; OTY: once every other year; NM: no mowing/enclosure), and found that different frequencies of mowing significantly influenced the community characteristics and the compensatory growth of dominant plant species. In the enclosure, species density was significantly lower, and height and biomass were significantly greater than in the mowing treatments. At the beginning of the growing season, mowing had a significant impact on the individual miniaturization of Stipa grandis, Leymus chinensis, and Anemarrhena asphodeloides. Mowing also had a significant impact on the diversity of the community. The Shannon diversity index, the Pielou evenness index, and the richness index were higher under OTY than other mowing frequencies. Under different mowing frequencies, growth rates were significantly different after the aboveground portions were cut, while the levels of biomass were not significantly different. Stipa grandis, Leymus chinensis, and Anemarrhena asphodeloides had less compensatory height growth under OAY compared to the other treatments; however, there were no significant differences in the relative growth rates of the three species under different treatments. Stipa grandis exhibited equivalent compensatory height growth; both Leymus chinensis and Anemarrhena asphodeloides exhibited over-compensatory growth. Based on the results of community characteristics and the compensatory growth of the dominant species, mowing every other year is currently the most practical mowing system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Correlation between Type of Mountain Area and Land Use Degree in Guizhou Province, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 849; doi:10.3390/su8090849
Received: 17 May 2016 / Revised: 5 August 2016 / Accepted: 24 August 2016 / Published: 29 August 2016
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Abstract
A scientific definition of the type of mountain area and an exploration of the spatial correlation between different types of mountain areas and regional land use at the county level are important for reasonable land resource utilization and regional sustainable development. Here, a
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A scientific definition of the type of mountain area and an exploration of the spatial correlation between different types of mountain areas and regional land use at the county level are important for reasonable land resource utilization and regional sustainable development. Here, a geographic information system was used to analyze digital elevation model data and to define the extent of mountainous land and types of mountain areas in Guizhou province. Exploratory spatial data analysis was used to study the spatial coupling relation between the type of mountain area and land use degree in Guizhou province at the county level. The results were as follows: (1) Guizhou province has a high proportion of mountainous land, with a ratio of mountainous land to non-mountainous land of 88:11. The county-level administrative units in Guizhou province were exclusively mountainous, consisting of eight semi mountainous counties, nine quasi mountainous counties, 35 apparently mountainous counties, 13 type I completely mountainous counties, and 23 type II completely mountainous counties; (2) The land use degree at the county level in Guizhou province have remarkable spatial differentiation characteristics. Counties with a high cultivation coefficient are mainly located in the western area along the line between Yinjiang county and Anlong county in west Guizhou province. Counties with a large proportion of construction land or a high integrated index of land use degree are mainly distributed in the economically developed area of central Guizhou province, including parts of the counties (districts/cities) administrated by Guiyang, Zunyi, Liupanshui, Anshun, Duyun, and Kaili; (3) County-level administrative units with relatively flat topography and a low proportion of mountainous land have a large proportion of construction land and a large degree of regional land exploitation. However, the extent of cultivation of county-level administrative units under similar topography differs considerably; (4) The increase in urban land intensity and the decrease in cultivated land intensity are distinctive features of land system change in mountain areas, which is conducive to the sustainable development of mountain. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Performance Indicator Framework for Evaluation of Sustainable Tourism in the Taiwan Coastal Zone
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 652; doi:10.3390/su8070652
Received: 25 April 2016 / Revised: 26 June 2016 / Accepted: 5 July 2016 / Published: 9 July 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1353 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Surrounded by the ocean, Taiwan has been increasingly developing coastal tourism projects. Concerns that negative impacts might be brought about by prosperous tourism have resulted in a recent focus on sustainable tourism. Sustainable tourism involves policies that acknowledge the interdependences among the environment,
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Surrounded by the ocean, Taiwan has been increasingly developing coastal tourism projects. Concerns that negative impacts might be brought about by prosperous tourism have resulted in a recent focus on sustainable tourism. Sustainable tourism involves policies that acknowledge the interdependences among the environment, the community, and the economy. The goal of sustainable tourism is to enhance and protect the environment while satisfying basic human requirements, as well as those of the contemporary and future tourism industries to improve quality of life. On the other hand, unsustainable coastal tourism might undermine the natural environment and society, resulting in air, water, and soil pollution, wildlife habitat disruption, and changes of local community cultural characteristics. Therefore, performance evaluation of coastal tourism, using an indicator framework to facilitate sustainable development and enhance the effectiveness of coastal resources exploitation, is critical. Through a literature review and expert surveys using the methods of the fuzzy Delphi method (FDM) and the fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP), this study builds a performance indicator framework and identifies the key factors affecting the sustainable development of coastal tourism in Taiwan. The results can serve as a reference for the public sector to be used for the sustainable planning and development of coastal tourism. Full article
Open AccessArticle Energy Utilization Evaluation of Carbon Performance in Public Projects by FAHP and Cloud Model
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 630; doi:10.3390/su8070630
Received: 5 March 2016 / Revised: 6 June 2016 / Accepted: 29 June 2016 / Published: 7 July 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1782 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the low-carbon economy advocated all over the world, how to use energy reasonably and efficiently in public projects has become a major issue. It has brought many open questions, including which method is more reasonable in evaluating the energy utilization of carbon
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With the low-carbon economy advocated all over the world, how to use energy reasonably and efficiently in public projects has become a major issue. It has brought many open questions, including which method is more reasonable in evaluating the energy utilization of carbon performance in public projects when the evaluation information is fuzzy; whether an indicator system can be constructed; and which indicators have more impact on carbon performance. This article aims to solve these problems. We propose a new carbon performance evaluation system for energy utilization based on project processes (design, construction, and operation). Fuzzy Analytic Hierarchy Process (FAHP) is used to accumulate the indicator weights and cloud model is incorporated when the indicator value is fuzzy. Finally, we apply our indicator system to a case study of the Xiangjiang River project in China, which demonstrates the applicability and efficiency of our method. Full article
Open AccessArticle Impact on Water Quality of Nandoni Water Reservoir Downstream of Municipal Sewage Plants in Vhembe District, South Africa
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 597; doi:10.3390/su8070597
Received: 10 May 2016 / Revised: 5 June 2016 / Accepted: 20 June 2016 / Published: 24 June 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2569 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The deterioration of water quality in our freshwater sources is on the increase worldwide and, in South Africa, mostly due to the discharge of municipal sewage effluent. Here we report on the use of principal component analysis, coupled with factor and cluster analysis,
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The deterioration of water quality in our freshwater sources is on the increase worldwide and, in South Africa, mostly due to the discharge of municipal sewage effluent. Here we report on the use of principal component analysis, coupled with factor and cluster analysis, to study the similarities and differences between upstream and downstream sampling sites that are downstream of municipal sewage plants. The contribution of climatic variables, air temperature, humidity, and rainfall were also evaluated with respect to variations in water quality at the sampling sites. The physicochemical and microbial values were higher than the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The cluster analysis showed the presence of two clusters for each of the Mvudi, Dzindi, and Luvuvhu Rivers and Nandoni reservoir sampling sites. The principal component analysis (PCA) accounted for 40% of the water quality variation and was associated strongly with pH, electrical conductivity, calcium, magnesium, chloride, bromide, nitrate, and total coliform, and negatively with rainfall, which represented Mvudi downstream and was attributed to the Thohoyandou sewage plant. The PCA accounted for 54% of the variation and was associated strongly with electrical conductivity, sulfate; total dissolved solids, fluoride, turbidity, nitrate, manganese, alkalinity, magnesium, and total coliform represented Dzindi downstream, with inflows from the Vuwani sewage plant and agriculture. The PCA accounted for 30% of the variation and was associated strongly with total dissolved solids, electrical conductivity, magnesium, fluoride, nitrate, sulfate, total coliform average air temperature, and total rainfall, and negatively associated with manganese and bromide represented Luvuvhu upstream and was associated with commercial agriculture. The PCA accounted for 21% of the variation and was associated strongly with turbidity, alkalinity, magnesium, chloride, fluoride, nitrate, and strongly negatively associated with rainfall, which represented Luvuvhu downstream, associated with inflows from Vuwani oxidation ponds, Elim and Waterval sewage plants, and agriculture. The PCA accounted for 14% of the variation and was moderately associated with rainfall and weakly associated with chloride and bromide and negatively associated with nitrate, which represented the natural Nandoni reservoir system. The continued discharge of effluent may render the raw water supply unsuitable for human consumption and lead to eutrophication due to nitrate enrichment and proliferation of harmful algal blooms and schistomiasis infections in the long term. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Assessment of Aerosol Pollution Decrease Applying Multiple Attribute Decision-Making Methods
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 586; doi:10.3390/su8070586
Received: 18 March 2016 / Revised: 15 June 2016 / Accepted: 17 June 2016 / Published: 23 June 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1199 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Air pollution with various materials, particularly with aerosols, increases with the advances in technological development. This is a complicated global problem. One of the priorities in achieving sustainable development is the reduction of harmful technological effects on the environment and human health. It
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Air pollution with various materials, particularly with aerosols, increases with the advances in technological development. This is a complicated global problem. One of the priorities in achieving sustainable development is the reduction of harmful technological effects on the environment and human health. It is a responsibility of researchers to search for effective methods of reducing pollution. The reliable results can be obtained by combining the approaches used in various fields of science and technology. This paper aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of the multiple attribute decision-making (MADM) methods in investigating and solving the environmental pollution problems. The paper presents the study of the process of the evaporation of a toxic liquid based on using the MADM methods. A schematic view of the test setup is presented. The density, viscosity, and rate of the released vapor flow are measured and the dependence of the variation of the solution concentration on its temperature is determined in the experimental study. The concentration of hydrochloric acid solution (HAS) varies in the range from 28% to 34%, while the liquid is heated from 50 to 80 °C. The variations in the parameters are analyzed using the well-known VIKOR and COPRAS MADM methods. For determining the criteria weights, a new CILOS (Criterion Impact LOSs) method is used. The experimental results are arranged in the priority order, using the MADM methods. Based on the obtained data, the technological parameters of production, ensuring minimum environmental pollution, can be chosen. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Systems Using Fuzzy Shannon Entropy and Fuzzy TOPSIS
Sustainability 2016, 8(6), 556; doi:10.3390/su8060556
Received: 26 February 2016 / Revised: 17 May 2016 / Accepted: 31 May 2016 / Published: 15 June 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1307 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration can play a strategic role in addressing environmental issues and climate change. CHP systems require less fuel than separate heat and power systems in order to produce the same amount of energy saving primary energy, improving
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Combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration can play a strategic role in addressing environmental issues and climate change. CHP systems require less fuel than separate heat and power systems in order to produce the same amount of energy saving primary energy, improving the security of the supply. Because less fuel is combusted, greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants are reduced. If we are to consider the CHP system as “sustainable”, we must include in its assessment not only energetic performance but also environmental and economic aspects, presenting a multicriteria issue. The purpose of the paper is to apply a fuzzy multicriteria methodology to the assessment of five CHP commercial technologies. Specifically, the combination of the fuzzy Shannon’s entropy and the fuzzy Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) approach will be tested for this purpose. Shannon’s entropy concept, using interval data such as the α-cut, is a particularly suitable technique for assigning weights to criteria—it does not require a decision-making (DM) to assign a weight to the criteria. To rank the proposed alternatives, a fuzzy TOPSIS method has been applied. It is based on the principle that the chosen alternative should be as close as possible to the positive ideal solution and be as far as possible from the negative ideal solution. The proposed approach provides a useful technical–scientific decision-making tool that can effectively support, in a consistent and transparent way, the assessment of various CHP technologies from a sustainable point of view. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing Jatropha Crop Production Alternatives in Abandoned Agricultural Arid Soils Using MCA and GIS
Sustainability 2016, 8(6), 505; doi:10.3390/su8060505
Received: 28 February 2016 / Revised: 28 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 May 2016 / Published: 25 May 2016
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Abstract
This paper discusses the assessment of various biofuel crop production alternatives on the island of Fuerteventura using Jatropha crops. It adopts an integrated approach by carrying out a multi-criteria assessment with the support of participatory techniques and geographical information systems. Sixteen production alternatives
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This paper discusses the assessment of various biofuel crop production alternatives on the island of Fuerteventura using Jatropha crops. It adopts an integrated approach by carrying out a multi-criteria assessment with the support of participatory techniques and geographical information systems. Sixteen production alternatives were analyzed for growing Jatropha, and the results suggest that the best alternative involves using typical torrifluvent soils irrigated with recycled urban wastewater using surface drip irrigation covering 100% evapotranspiration. It was also determined that a potential area of 2546 ha could be used for cultivation within a radius of 10 km from a wastewater treatment plant. This level of production would supply 27.56% of the biofuel needs of Fuerteventura, thereby contributing to the 2020 target of the European Commission regarding biofuels for land transport. Full article
Open AccessArticle Modeling on Regional Atmosphere-Soil-Land Plant Carbon Cycle Dynamic System
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 303; doi:10.3390/su8040303
Received: 2 January 2016 / Revised: 4 March 2016 / Accepted: 16 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
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Abstract
This paper establishes a nonlinear carbon cycle model based on the analysis of the carbon flux relationship among the atmosphere cycle, soil cycle and land cycle. By using nonlinear dynamics method, we examine the regional carbon cycle evolution along with the temporal evolution
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This paper establishes a nonlinear carbon cycle model based on the analysis of the carbon flux relationship among the atmosphere cycle, soil cycle and land cycle. By using nonlinear dynamics method, we examine the regional carbon cycle evolution along with the temporal evolution of the regional carbon flux. A neural network has been employed to identify the parameters of the proposed model, accordingly. In the numerical study, we propose the atmosphere-soil-land cycle model for Nanjing city of China. Then, the carbon cycle evolution of Nanjing has been simulated with the given model and actual data. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Comparison of Wind Energy Investment Alternatives Using Interval-Valued Intuitionistic Fuzzy Benefit/Cost Analysis
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 118; doi:10.3390/su8020118
Received: 27 November 2015 / Revised: 20 January 2016 / Accepted: 22 January 2016 / Published: 28 January 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2207 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
One of the tools for maintaining environmental sustainability is transformation from fossil-based energy sources to renewable energy sources in energy consumption. Among renewable energy alternatives, wind energy is the most prominent and reliable energy source for fulfilling energy demand. Traditional investment evaluation techniques
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One of the tools for maintaining environmental sustainability is transformation from fossil-based energy sources to renewable energy sources in energy consumption. Among renewable energy alternatives, wind energy is the most prominent and reliable energy source for fulfilling energy demand. Traditional investment evaluation techniques based on discounted cash flows are not capable of capturing the uncertainty and vagueness in the data related to the wind energy investment parameters. Fuzzy capital budgeting techniques can capture this vagueness and model the imprecise estimations of parameter values. In this paper, we develop interval-valued intuitionistic fuzzy benefit-cost analysis for the evaluation of wind energy technology investments. The fuzzy benefit-cost analyses are based on both present worth and annual worth analyses. The developed analyses can handle the assessments of multiple experts through aggregation operators. In the proposed economic model, the components of each wind energy investment parameter are incorporated into the equations in detail. A real case study is also presented in this paper. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing Air Quality in Turkey: A Proposed, Air Quality Index
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 73; doi:10.3390/su8010073
Received: 20 October 2015 / Revised: 6 January 2016 / Accepted: 8 January 2016 / Published: 13 January 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (848 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The annual air quality indices are aimed at better taking into account of long-term exposure to air pollution. This type of indices offer decision-makers condensed environmental information for performance monitoring, policy progress evaluation, benchmarking comparisons, and decision-making. This paper evaluates the air quality
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The annual air quality indices are aimed at better taking into account of long-term exposure to air pollution. This type of indices offer decision-makers condensed environmental information for performance monitoring, policy progress evaluation, benchmarking comparisons, and decision-making. This paper evaluates the air quality of eight Turkish cities in view of the European Union (EU) norms. The proposed index aggregates concentrations of three air pollutants, namely sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter and it is built by using 2014 data from 20 air quality monitoring stations. According to the results obtained from the calculation, the EU standards were exceeded at 14 stations, while at six stations the situation is better than the norms. These results indicate that Turkey has failed in fulfilling the European air quality standards. Full article
Open AccessArticle Strategic Planning for Land Use under Extreme Climate Changes: A Case Study in Taiwan
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 53; doi:10.3390/su8010053
Received: 26 October 2015 / Revised: 24 December 2015 / Accepted: 4 January 2016 / Published: 8 January 2016
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Abstract
Extreme weather caused by global climate change affects slope-land in Taiwan, causing soil loss, floods, and sediment hazards. Although Taiwan is a small island, the population density is ranked second highest worldwide. With three-fourths of the island area being slope-land, soil and water
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Extreme weather caused by global climate change affects slope-land in Taiwan, causing soil loss, floods, and sediment hazards. Although Taiwan is a small island, the population density is ranked second highest worldwide. With three-fourths of the island area being slope-land, soil and water conservation (SWC) is crucial. Therefore, because of the impact of climate and social change, the means of maintaining sustainable development of slope-land and the safety of the living environment in Taiwan is a developing and crucial issue. This study applied four foresight analysis tools that covered both qualitative and quantitative aspects, including international trend analysis, a focus group, the Delphi method, and a strategy roadmap. By combining the four analysis tools, we developed corresponding strategies to address climate change for use as references for policy-makers. The findings of this study can contribute to consensus-forming among multiple stakeholders on the sustainable development of soil and water resources and to devising foresight strategies for SWC in short-term, middle-term, and long-term bases. Ultimately, the goal of “considering climate and socioeconomic change, watershed resources being managed on a multiple-use basis to avoid disasters and to sustain SWC” can be realized by the year 2025. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Evolution of River–Lake and Urban Compound Systems: A Case Study in Wuhan, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 15; doi:10.3390/su8010015
Received: 23 September 2015 / Revised: 16 December 2015 / Accepted: 17 December 2015 / Published: 23 December 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (994 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The process of urbanization takes up a lot of wetlands, profoundly changing the natural connection of surrounding river–lake systems, all the while causing serious damage to the environment of connected catchments. Urban systems and river–lake systems are not isolated and static, there is
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The process of urbanization takes up a lot of wetlands, profoundly changing the natural connection of surrounding river–lake systems, all the while causing serious damage to the environment of connected catchments. Urban systems and river–lake systems are not isolated and static, there is a relation between them which is constantly changing. Based on the idea of system research, the urban system is simplified into four subsystems: environment, infrastructure, social, and economic. These four components interact together, influencing the river–lake system to form a compound system. This paper aims to reflect the features and evolution laws of the compound system, by building a Collaborative Development Model to study the changing of the compound system in Wuhan, China over a 10-year period. The results show that by implementing the Donghu Lake Ecological River Network Engineering Project, the damaged river–lake system in Wuhan showed some improvement. However, in order to improve the sustainability of the compound system in Wuhan, the status of the river–lake system, social system and environment system, which are still comparatively substandard, should be constantly improved. The Collaborative Development Model could also be used in other cities and regions, to provide the basis for sustainable development. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Effects of Mitigation Measures on Flood Damage Prevention in Korea
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 16866-16884; doi:10.3390/su71215851
Received: 2 October 2015 / Revised: 9 December 2015 / Accepted: 10 December 2015 / Published: 21 December 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (5604 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study analyzed the characteristics of flood damages and the effects of structural and non-structural flood damage mitigation measures in Korea. First, a theoretical discussion of the structural and non-structural measures to mitigate flood damages was used to select the variables and devise
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This study analyzed the characteristics of flood damages and the effects of structural and non-structural flood damage mitigation measures in Korea. First, a theoretical discussion of the structural and non-structural measures to mitigate flood damages was used to select the variables and devise the hypotheses. An analysis was conducted using the Auto-Regressive Integrated Moving-Average (ARIMA) time series methodology, Korean socioeconomic data, and damage characteristics of major flood events. The effects of flood damage mitigation measures on the extent of flood damages were assessed using an intervention time series model. The major findings were that the intervention effects of structural and non-structural measures were statistically significant from 1958 to 2013 (a period of 55 years) and that while the former were ineffective at mitigating flood damages, the latter were successful in doing so. Based on the above findings, policy suggestions for future flood damage mitigation measures in Korea were offered. For structural measures, the government should manage its existing facilities, recover ecosystems of damaged rivers, and devise mitigation measures for urban areas. For non-structural measures, the government should enhance its flood forecasting capacity, revise laws related to flood control and prevention, and update and rationalize land-use plans. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Sustainable Assessment of Alternative Sites for the Construction of a Waste Incineration Plant by Applying WASPAS Method with Single-Valued Neutrosophic Set
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 15923-15936; doi:10.3390/su71215792
Received: 24 September 2015 / Revised: 11 November 2015 / Accepted: 23 November 2015 / Published: 1 December 2015
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (228 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The principles of sustainability have become particularly important in the construction, real estate maintenance sector, and all areas of life in recent years. The one of the major problem of urban territories that domestic and construction waste of generated products cannot be removed
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The principles of sustainability have become particularly important in the construction, real estate maintenance sector, and all areas of life in recent years. The one of the major problem of urban territories that domestic and construction waste of generated products cannot be removed automatically. The above necessity induces the demand of systems and technologies for waste life cycle and proper disposal development. Siting of the waste incineration plant is a complex process, which includes all factors of sustainability principles. The selection of the construction area is a complex problem due to the existence of different tangible and intangible factors and the multiple alternatives available. Multicriteria decision-making methods (MCDM) present powerful and flexible techniques for the solution of many sustainability problems. In this paper, we propose a new extension of WASPAS method, namely WASPAS-SVNS. This extension is realized in the framework of the single-valued neutrosophic set that enables to represent and model the indeterminacy explicitly and the functions of the truth-membership, the indeterminacy-membership and the falsity-membership are not related to each other. The paper deals with the solution of the waste incineration plant siting problem due to the requirements of sustainability factors. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Study on Soil and Groundwater Pollution Remediation of the Surrounding Real Estate Prices and Tax Revenue Impact
Sustainability 2015, 7(11), 14618-14630; doi:10.3390/su71114618
Received: 17 June 2015 / Revised: 28 October 2015 / Accepted: 28 October 2015 / Published: 3 November 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To see whether the surrounding real estate price after soil and groundwater pollution remediation will revert to the level before the risk of implicit pollution, this paper uses research methods, such as the hedonic price method and contingent valuation method for analysis. The
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To see whether the surrounding real estate price after soil and groundwater pollution remediation will revert to the level before the risk of implicit pollution, this paper uses research methods, such as the hedonic price method and contingent valuation method for analysis. The results of empirical analysis reveal that the hedonic price method will be restricted by trade cases around pollution sites. In view of this, it proposes using the contingent valuation method and consumers’ viewpoints for the analysis. Empirical results show that after pollution remediation the respondents are willing to pay an average of $1168 per square meter, which is slightly higher than the current price of $1059 per square meter with an increase of about 10%. Therefore, prices will recover after remediation at least to the level of the surrounding area. Full article
Open AccessArticle Dynamic Sustainability. Sustainability Window Analysis of Chinese Poverty-Environment Nexus Development
Sustainability 2015, 7(11), 14488-14500; doi:10.3390/su71114488
Received: 19 June 2015 / Revised: 18 October 2015 / Accepted: 23 October 2015 / Published: 28 October 2015
PDF Full-text (758 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability Window is a new analysis tool for assessing the sustainability of development simultaneously in all of its three dimensions (environmental, economic, and social). The analysis method provides information of the maximum and minimum economic development that is required to maintain the direction
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Sustainability Window is a new analysis tool for assessing the sustainability of development simultaneously in all of its three dimensions (environmental, economic, and social). The analysis method provides information of the maximum and minimum economic development that is required to maintain the direction of social and environmental development towards more sustainable targets. With the Sustainability Window method it is possible to easily analyze the sustainability using different indicators and different time periods making comparative analyses easy. The new method makes it also possible to analyze the dynamics of the sustainability and the changes over time in the width of the window. This provides a new perspective for analyzing the trends of sustainability and the impacts of underlying sustainability policies. As an illustration of the method, we have carried out an analysis of Chinese development using CO2 and SO2 emissions as indicators of the environmental dimension, number of non-poor people as an indicator of the social dimension and GDP as an indicator of the economic dimension. Full article
Open AccessArticle Influencing Factors of Energy-Related CO2 Emissions in China: A Decomposition Analysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14408-14426; doi:10.3390/su71014408
Received: 11 September 2015 / Revised: 7 October 2015 / Accepted: 21 October 2015 / Published: 26 October 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (4677 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China is the largest CO2 emitter in the world and is still reliant on energy consumption for economic growth. Research has focused on effective approaches of reducing and mitigating CO2 emissions. This paper undertakes a decomposition study of energy-related CO2
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China is the largest CO2 emitter in the world and is still reliant on energy consumption for economic growth. Research has focused on effective approaches of reducing and mitigating CO2 emissions. This paper undertakes a decomposition study of energy-related CO2 emissions from the industrial and household sectors during the period 1996–2012, with the objectives of investigating trends of the changes in energy-related CO2 emissions, the driving forces of these changes, and approaches of mitigating CO2 emission. Results show the following: (1) the expansion of economic activity is the dominant stimulatory factor of the increase of CO2 emissions in China and that a sustained increase in CO2 emissions can be expected; (2) the decline in energy intensity and the adjustment of energy mix and industrial structure effectively mitigate CO2 emissions; and (3) the government should give more attention to enhancing the energy utility efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions in rural households. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Various Retrofitting Concepts of Building Envelope for Offices Equipped with Large Radiant Ceiling Panels by Dynamic Simulations
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13169-13191; doi:10.3390/su71013169
Received: 31 July 2015 / Revised: 9 September 2015 / Accepted: 18 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4069 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order to achieve significant savings in energy and an improved level of thermal comfort in retrofitted existing buildings, specific retrofitting concepts that combine new technologies and design need to be developed and implemented. Large radiant surfaces systems are now among the most
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In order to achieve significant savings in energy and an improved level of thermal comfort in retrofitted existing buildings, specific retrofitting concepts that combine new technologies and design need to be developed and implemented. Large radiant surfaces systems are now among the most promising future technologies to be used both in retrofitted and in new low-energy buildings. These kinds of systems have been the topic of several studies dealing with thermal comfort and energy utilization, but some specific issues concerning their possible use in various concepts for retrofitting are still poorly understood. In the present paper, some results of dynamic simulations, with the transient system simulation tool (TRNSYS) model, of the retrofitted offices equipped with radiant ceiling panels are presented and thoroughly analysed. Based on a precise comparison of the results of these simulations with actual measurements in the offices, certain input data for the model were added, so that the model was consequently validated. The model was then applied to the evaluation of various concepts of building envelopes for office retrofitting. By means of dynamic simulations of indoor environment it was possible to determine the benefits and limitations of individual retrofitting concepts. Some specific parameters, which are relevant to these concepts, were also identified. 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 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 3 | 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

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Open AccessReview Sustainable and Renewable Energy: An Overview of the Application of Multiple Criteria Decision Making Techniques and Approaches
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13947-13984; doi:10.3390/su71013947
Received: 2 September 2015 / Revised: 21 September 2015 / Accepted: 30 September 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
Cited by 35 | PDF Full-text (1347 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main purpose of this paper is to present a systematic review of MCDM techniques and approaches in sustainable and renewable energy systems problems. This study reviewed a total of 54 papers published from 2003–2015 in more than 20 high-ranking journals, most related
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The main purpose of this paper is to present a systematic review of MCDM techniques and approaches in sustainable and renewable energy systems problems. This study reviewed a total of 54 papers published from 2003–2015 in more than 20 high-ranking journals, most related to sustainable and renewable energies, and which were extracted from the Web of Science database. In the category of application areas, papers were classified into two main groups: (1) sustainable energy and (2) renewable energy. Furthermore, in the classification of techniques and approaches, the papers were categorized into six groups: (1) AHP and F-AHP; (2) ANP and VIKOR; (3) TOPSIS and F-TOPSIS; (4) PROMETHEE; (5) integrated methods and (6) other methods. In addition, papers were reviewed based on the authors’ nationalities, the publication date, techniques and approaches, the name of journal and studies criteria. The results of this study indicated that, in 2015, scholars have published more papers than in other years. Furthermore, AHP/fuzzy AHP and integrated methods were ranked as the first rank, with 14 papers. Additionally, Journal of Renewable Energy is the first journal, with 16 publications, and this was the most significant journal in this study. Findings of this review paper confirm that MCDM techniques can assist stakeholders and decision makers in unravelling some of the uncertainties inherent in environmental decision making, and these techniques demonstrate a growing interest of previous scholars to apply these techniques for solving different stages of sustainable and renewable energy systems. Full article

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