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Special Issue "Creating Benefits through Life Cycle Thinking: Practices and Challenges from EcoBalance"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (21 October 2015)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Yasuhiro Fukushima

Department of Chemical Engineering, Tohoku University, Japan 6-6-07 Aramaki-aza Aoba, Aoba-ku, Sendai, 980-5869, Japan
E-Mail
Interests: assessment of systems technology; distributed energy systems; life cycle assessment; renewable energy; biofuels; industrial symbiosis; mathamatical modeling; chemical process
Guest Editor
Dr. Yasushi Kondo

Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University 1-6-1 Nishi-waseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 169-8050 Japan
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmentally extended input-output analysis; hybrid input-output analysis for material flow analysis and life cycle assessment; waste management and industrial symbiosis; consumer behavior and sustainable consumption; mathematical programming for sustainable decision making; socio-economic approaches for sustainability
Guest Editor
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Shinsuke Murakami

Department of Systems Innovation, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
E-Mail
Phone: 81-3-5841-7044
Interests: industrial ecology (materials flow analysis); mineral economics; resource/recycling policy; resource security; sustainable resources use
Guest Editor
Dr. Masaharu Motoshita

National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +81-29-861-8023
Interests: Life Cycle Assessment; Life Cycle Impact Assessment; Water Footprint
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Matthias Finkbeiner

Department of Environmental Technology, Technische Universität Berlin, 10623 Berlin, Germany
Website1 | Website2 | E-Mail
Phone: +49.(0)30.314-24341
Interests: water footprint; life cycle assessment; carbon footprint; water footprint; standardization; resource efficiency and availability; life cycle sustainability assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to submit articles for special issue on “Creating Benefits through Life Cycle Thinking: Practices and Challenges from EcoBalance”, by September 30, 2015.

The focus of this special issue covers discussions on methodologies and practices for sustainability based on life cycle thinking, which include but are not limited to:

  • Industrial symbiosis, circular society, inter-sectoral design
  • Sustainable resource and business management
  • Challenges for sustainable industry
  • Food security and sustainable agriculture
  • Socio-economic approaches to sustainability
  • Implementation of Eco-innovation

We would like to invite a wide range of studies to share their quests for creating benefits from life cycle thinking. In recognition of the fact that the benefits sought are diverse, contributions from various sectors are welcome to highlight advantages beyond mere financial considerations in the increasingly globalized supply chain under quickly changing circumstances.

This issue welcomes all the important studies in the abovementioned context from any researchers. Special encouragement goes to the papers that extend the presentations from the 11th International Conference on EcoBalance, the milestone conference held on the 20th year after its birth on 1994. The EcoBalance conference has been offering precious opportunities for the worldwide researchers that examined how life cycle thinking can actually make practical steps forward towards sustainability. Its uniqueness always lied on the presence of various industrial sectors and participants from the non-OECD countries especially from the Asia. Recognizing that the current problems met in developed regions are the ones that will be faced by the developing regions, the special issue hopes to respond to the practices and needs both in developed and developing regions worldwide.

Yasuhiro Fukushima
Yasushi Kondo
Shinsuke Murakami
Masaharu Motoshita
Matthias Finkbeiner
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

  • life cycle assessment
  • footprinting
  • management for sustainability
  • industrial symbiosis
  • socio-economic approaches
  • eco-innovation
  • resources

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Open AccessArticle Rice Cultivation Methods and Their Sustainability Aspects: Organic and Conventional Rice Production in Industrialized Tropical Monsoon Asia with a Dual Cropping System
Sustainability 2016, 8(6), 529; doi:10.3390/su8060529
Received: 21 October 2015 / Revised: 23 May 2016 / Accepted: 25 May 2016 / Published: 3 June 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1336 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Options to tackle the sustainability challenges faced in the production of rice, including global and local environmental perspectives, need to be discussed. Here, the global warming potential, water consumption and cumulative energy demand were analyzed using a life-cycle assessment to highlight the sustainability
[...] Read more.
Options to tackle the sustainability challenges faced in the production of rice, including global and local environmental perspectives, need to be discussed. Here, the global warming potential, water consumption and cumulative energy demand were analyzed using a life-cycle assessment to highlight the sustainability aspects of rice production in Taiwan, where a mixed organic and conventional rice production with a dual cropping system is practiced. The results show that the conventional farming method practiced in Houbi district contributes less to global warming and annual water consumption and consumes less energy than the organic method practiced in Luoshan village on a grain weight basis. It is also more lucrative for farmers because of the higher rice yield. Considering the yield ratio based on the data from two districts, the regional characteristics are more responsible for these differences. Giving up dual cropping to avail water to other sectors by fallowing during the second cropping season is preferable from the GHG emission and productivity perspectives. However, because water shortages usually occur in the first cropping season, it is more realistic to fallow during the first cropping season when domestic and other industrial users have the higher priority. The results presented here can serve as the foundation for exploring the possibilities of options, such as new biorefinery technologies and water allocation policies, in relation to influences on GHG emissions and the national self-sufficiency of rice. Full article
Open AccessArticle Life Cycle Inventory Analysis for a Small-Scale Trawl Fishery in Sendai Bay, Japan
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 399; doi:10.3390/su8040399
Received: 21 October 2015 / Revised: 14 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
PDF Full-text (3089 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A reduced environmental burden, while maintaining high quality and low cost, has become an important factor for achieving sustainability in the fisheries sector. The authors performed life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis targeting the fish production for a small-scale trawl fishery including small trawlers
[...] Read more.
A reduced environmental burden, while maintaining high quality and low cost, has become an important factor for achieving sustainability in the fisheries sector. The authors performed life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis targeting the fish production for a small-scale trawl fishery including small trawlers operating in Sendai Bay, Japan. The average annual cumulative CO2 emissions for the small trawlers were 4.7 ton-CO2/ton-product and 8.3 ton-CO2/million Japanese yen (JPN). Total fuel consumption contributed to 97% of the global warming potential. The range of variation in the basic unit of CO2 for each small trawler was also elucidated. Energy conservation through lower fuel consumption is shown to be an effective measure for reducing CO2 in a small trawler fishery. Moreover, the authors examined the system boundary, the determination of the functional unit, and the allocation method of applying LCI analysis to fisheries. Finally, the economy and environment of small trawler fisheries are discussed as important factors for sustainable fisheries, and the life cycle approach is applied to a new fishery type in Japan. Full article
Open AccessArticle New Key Performance Indicators for a Smart Sustainable City
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 206; doi:10.3390/su8030206
Received: 30 September 2015 / Revised: 5 February 2016 / Accepted: 18 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2905 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We propose key performance indicators (KPIs) based on the Gross Social Feel-Good Index to evaluate a smart sustainable city and report the results of a field trial in a city located almost at the center of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. We developed KPIs
[...] Read more.
We propose key performance indicators (KPIs) based on the Gross Social Feel-Good Index to evaluate a smart sustainable city and report the results of a field trial in a city located almost at the center of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. We developed KPIs based on the following concepts: (1). The triple bottom line is the basic evaluation criteria; (2). The same unit is used for every evaluation criterion; (3). The KPIs can be used to assess a diverse range of smart sustainable cities with different goals. With the proposed KPIs of smart sustainable cities, indicators are divided into four layers for simplicity: the triple bottom line and “satisfaction” lie in the first layer. Since the notion of “society” is broad, it is further split into “safety”, “health”, and “comfort”, which are positioned in the second layer. The third layer includes indicators such as “information security” and “ubiquitous society” from the perspective of information communication technology (ICT). We conducted a trial evaluation by applying the proposed KPIs to individual ICT solutions of “Internet Protocol announcements”, “Wi-Fi around the station” and “information transmission and control” which have already been installed in a smart sustainable city. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Effect of Land Use on Availability of Japanese Freshwater Resources and Its Significance for Water Footprinting
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 86; doi:10.3390/su8010086
Received: 19 October 2015 / Revised: 14 December 2015 / Accepted: 12 January 2016 / Published: 16 January 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1907 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
All relevant effects on water must be assessed in water footprinting for identifying hotspots and managing the impacts of products, processes, and services throughout the life cycle. Although several studies have focused on physical water scarcity and degradation of water quality, the relevance
[...] Read more.
All relevant effects on water must be assessed in water footprinting for identifying hotspots and managing the impacts of products, processes, and services throughout the life cycle. Although several studies have focused on physical water scarcity and degradation of water quality, the relevance of land use in water footprinting has not been widely addressed. Here, we aimed to verify the extent of land-use effect in the context of water footprinting. Intensity factors of land use regarding the loss of freshwater availability are modeled by calculating water balance at grid scale in Japan. A water footprint inventory and impacts related to land use are assessed by applying the developed intensity factors and comparing them with those related to water consumption and degradation. Artificial land use such as urban area results in the loss of many parts of available freshwater input by precipitation. When considering water footprint inventory, the dominance of land use is less than that of water consumption. However, the effect of land use is relevant to the assessment of water footprint impact by differentiating stress on water resources. The exclusion of land use effect underestimates the water footprint of goods produced in Japan by an average of around 37%. Full article
Open AccessArticle Life Cycle Assessment of Flat Roof Technologies for Office Buildings in Israel
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 54; doi:10.3390/su8010054
Received: 27 October 2015 / Revised: 10 December 2015 / Accepted: 5 January 2016 / Published: 8 January 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (644 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The goal of the current study was to evaluate the environmental damage from three flat roof technologies typically used in Israel: (i) concrete, (ii) ribbed slab with concrete blocks, and (iii) ribbed slab with autoclaved aerated blocks. The roofs were evaluated using the
[...] Read more.
The goal of the current study was to evaluate the environmental damage from three flat roof technologies typically used in Israel: (i) concrete, (ii) ribbed slab with concrete blocks, and (iii) ribbed slab with autoclaved aerated blocks. The roofs were evaluated using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. The Production and Construction (P and C), Operational Energy (OE), and Maintenance to Demolition (MtoD) stages were considered. The roofs were modeled based on an office building module located in the four climate zones of Israel, and the hierarchical ReCiPe2008 Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) method was applied. The percent difference of one, which is the default methodological option of ReCiPe2008, and an ANOVA of the six methodological options of ReCiPe2008 were used. The results revealed that (i) in a hot climate, the best roof technology can be selected by considering only the OE stage, whereas in a mild climate, both the OE and P and C stages must be considered; (ii) in a hot climate, the best roof technology is a concrete roof, but in a mild climate, the best options are ribbed slab roofs with concrete blocks and autoclaved aerated blocks; and (iii) the conjugation of ReCiPe2008 with a two-stage nested ANOVA is the appropriate approach to evaluate the differences in environmental damage in order to compare flat roof technologies. Full article
Open AccessArticle Describing Long-Term Electricity Demand Scenarios in the Telecommunications Industry: A Case Study of Japan
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 52; doi:10.3390/su8010052
Received: 21 October 2015 / Revised: 25 December 2015 / Accepted: 30 December 2015 / Published: 7 January 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2237 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Due to the rapid expansion of information and communication technology (ICT) usage, the telecommunications industry is faced with a challenge to promote green ICT toward achieving a low-carbon society. One critical obstacle in planning long-term strategies for green ICT is the uncertainty of
[...] Read more.
Due to the rapid expansion of information and communication technology (ICT) usage, the telecommunications industry is faced with a challenge to promote green ICT toward achieving a low-carbon society. One critical obstacle in planning long-term strategies for green ICT is the uncertainty of various external factors, such as consumers’ lifestyle and technological advancement. To tackle this issue, this paper employs a scenario planning method to analyze electricity consumption in the telecommunications industry, where both changes in various external factors and energy-saving measures are assumed. We propose a model to estimate future electricity consumption of the telecommunications industry using a statistical approach. In a case study, we describe four scenarios that differ in the diffusion of ICT and the technological advancement of ICT equipment in order to analyze the electricity consumption in Japan’s telecommunications industry to 2030. The results reveal that the electricity consumption in 2030 becomes 0.7–1.6-times larger than the 2012 level (10.7 TWh/year). It is also shown that the most effective measures to reduce the electricity consumption include improving the energy efficiency of IP (Internet Protocol) communication equipment and mobile communication equipment. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Environmental Consciousness in Daily Activities Measured by Negative Prompts
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 24; doi:10.3390/su8010024
Received: 30 September 2015 / Revised: 7 December 2015 / Accepted: 23 December 2015 / Published: 26 December 2015
PDF Full-text (1571 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The gap between people’s attitude and action as regards environmental issues has been pointed out even while surveys registered an increase in people’s environmental awareness. Among the possible reasons is that people tend to automatically answer “yes”, as most surveys on environmental consciousness
[...] Read more.
The gap between people’s attitude and action as regards environmental issues has been pointed out even while surveys registered an increase in people’s environmental awareness. Among the possible reasons is that people tend to automatically answer “yes”, as most surveys on environmental consciousness use positively-phrased questions or prompts. To remove the “yes-bias” in previous surveys, this present study conducted in Japan a large-scale questionnaire survey on environmental consciousness using negative prompts and free-answered prompts on which behaviors people feel good/bad/uncertain for the environment. This study also investigated peoples’ psychological factors and concrete pro-environmental behaviors (PEBs) in daily life. The results of the questionnaire with negative prompts showed that the rate of people’s consciousness to the environment was lower compared with other surveys. Through factor analysis, five psychological factors were extracted as the explanatory factors of environmental attitude. Demographic effects on the consciousness and PEBs were also observed. Comparison of free-answers on concrete daily behaviors among five different environmentally conscious groups showed there were certain phases in the perception of PEBs based on consciousness level. Similar common behaviors were highly ranked as both PEB and doubtful behaviors, indicating that people were worried about actions that involve a trade-off relationship from diversified standpoints. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Life Cycle Assessment of Silica Sand: Comparing the Beneficiation Processes
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 11; doi:10.3390/su8010011
Received: 18 September 2015 / Revised: 11 December 2015 / Accepted: 18 December 2015 / Published: 25 December 2015
PDF Full-text (826 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Silica sand or quartz sand is a mineral resource with a wide variety of application; glass industry, construction and foundry are the most common examples thereof. The Republic of Croatia has reserves of 40 million tons of silica sand and a long tradition
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Silica sand or quartz sand is a mineral resource with a wide variety of application; glass industry, construction and foundry are the most common examples thereof. The Republic of Croatia has reserves of 40 million tons of silica sand and a long tradition of surface mining and processing. The average annual production of raw silica sand in Croatia in the period from 2006 to 2011 amounted to 150 thousand tons. This paper presents cradle to gate LCA results of three different types of beneficiation techniques: electrostatic separation; flotation; gravity concentration. The aim of this research is to identify and quantify the environmental impacts of the silica sand production, to learn the range of the impacts for different processing methods, as well as to identify the major contributors and focus for further process design development. Full article
Open AccessArticle Region-Specific Indicators for Assessing the Sustainability of Biomass Utilisation in East Asia
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 16237-16259; doi:10.3390/su71215813
Received: 5 October 2015 / Revised: 18 November 2015 / Accepted: 1 December 2015 / Published: 4 December 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (598 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents the findings of an expert working group of researchers from East Asian countries. The group was tasked with developing a theoretically sound and practically implementable methodology for assessing the sustainability of biomass utilisation in East Asian countries based on the
[...] Read more.
This paper presents the findings of an expert working group of researchers from East Asian countries. The group was tasked with developing a theoretically sound and practically implementable methodology for assessing the sustainability of biomass utilisation in East Asian countries based on the needs and potential of biomass resources in this region. Building on six years of research conducted between 2007 and 2013, the working group formulated a set of main and secondary indicators for biomass utilisation under three pillars of sustainability. For the environmental pillar, the main indicator was life cycle greenhouse gas emissions and secondary indicators were water consumption and soil quality. For the economic pillar, the main indicator was total value added and secondary indicators were net profit, productivity, and net energy balance. For the social pillar, the main indicators were employment generation and access to modern energy, and the secondary indicator was the human development index. The application of the working group methodology and indicators in sustainability assessments of biomass utilisation will enable decision makers in East Asian countries to compare the sustainability of biomass utilisation options and to make decisions on whether or not to launch or sustain biomass utilisation initiatives. Full article
Open AccessArticle Establishing a Framework for Evaluating Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts by Power Generation Technology Using an Input–output Table—A Case Study of Japanese Future Electricity Grid Mix
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 15794-15811; doi:10.3390/su71215786
Received: 30 September 2015 / Revised: 19 November 2015 / Accepted: 20 November 2015 / Published: 27 November 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1867 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Input–output (IO) analysis is a useful economic method to evaluate the potential socio-economic and environmental impacts associated both directly and indirectly with energy technologies. Using an IO table, this study establishes a scenario analysis framework to evaluate the socio-economic and environmental impacts arising
[...] Read more.
Input–output (IO) analysis is a useful economic method to evaluate the potential socio-economic and environmental impacts associated both directly and indirectly with energy technologies. Using an IO table, this study establishes a scenario analysis framework to evaluate the socio-economic and environmental impacts arising from future power generation technology mixes. The impact indices selected are employment generation and greenhouse gas emissions. The study adopts a hybrid method for the framework it establishes: a combined bottom-up and IO life cycle inventory analysis approach to reflect the technological differences by power generation technology. Using an IO table for future analysis is limited because the industrial structure is fixed to the IO table benchmark year and it is thus not possible to reflect any potential inter-sector transaction changes that may arise from technological progress. However, the framework is valuable in estimating the future potential impacts that might arise from the current industrial structure and technology level. A case study is conducted using the established framework on the potential impacts of Japan’s future grid mix scenarios. The case study considers the differences in lead-times and durable years per power generation technology to ascertain the continuous and temporary jobs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Energy Service Demand Projections and CO2 Reduction Potentials in Rural Households in 31 Chinese Provinces
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 15833-15846; doi:10.3390/su71215789
Received: 30 September 2015 / Revised: 18 November 2015 / Accepted: 19 November 2015 / Published: 27 November 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1813 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Until 2012, most of China’s population lived in rural areas with markedly different patterns of household energy consumption from those in Chinese cities. The studies so far done on residential energy use in rural Chinese households have been limited to questionnaire surveys and
[...] Read more.
Until 2012, most of China’s population lived in rural areas with markedly different patterns of household energy consumption from those in Chinese cities. The studies so far done on residential energy use in rural Chinese households have been limited to questionnaire surveys and panel data analyses. Hardly any studies on energy demand in rural areas have considered both the climatic and economic disparities across Chinese regions. In this study we conduct a systematic analysis of the rural Chinese residential sector on a regional basis. We begin by developing a macro-model to estimate energy service demands up to 2050. Next, we apply the AIM(Asia-Pasific Integrated Model)/Enduse model, a bottom-up cost-minimization model with a detailed mitigation technology database, to estimate the mitigation potential of low-carbon technologies in rural China. Our results show that energy service demand in the rural household sector will continue to increase in regions with growing population or income conditions. However, after 2030, the rural residential energy service demand will start to decline in most Chinese regions. The impacts of efficient technologies will vary from one region to the next due to regional climatic and economic disparities. Throughout all of China, the penetration of efficient technologies can reduce CO2 emissions by 20% to 50%. Of the technologies available, efficient lighting, biomass water heaters, and efficient electronics bring the most benefit when implemented in rural households. Full article
Open AccessArticle Development of Benchmarks for Operating Costs and Resources Consumption to be Used in Healthcare Building Sustainability Assessment Methods
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13222-13248; doi:10.3390/su71013222
Received: 28 July 2015 / Revised: 16 September 2015 / Accepted: 17 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2962 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the last decade of the twentieth century, the healthcare industry is paying attention to the environmental impact of their buildings and therefore new regulations, policy goals, and Building Sustainability Assessment (HBSA) methods are being developed and implemented. At the present, healthcare is
[...] Read more.
Since the last decade of the twentieth century, the healthcare industry is paying attention to the environmental impact of their buildings and therefore new regulations, policy goals, and Building Sustainability Assessment (HBSA) methods are being developed and implemented. At the present, healthcare is one of the most regulated industries and it is also one of the largest consumers of energy per net floor area. To assess the sustainability of healthcare buildings it is necessary to establish a set of benchmarks related with their life-cycle performance. They are both essential to rate the sustainability of a project and to support designers and other stakeholders in the process of designing and operating a sustainable building, by allowing the comparison to be made between a project and the conventional and best market practices. This research is focused on the methodology to set the benchmarks for resources consumption, waste production, operation costs and potential environmental impacts related to the operational phase of healthcare buildings. It aims at contributing to the reduction of the subjectivity found in the definition of the benchmarks used in Building Sustainability Assessment (BSA) methods, and it is applied in the Portuguese context. These benchmarks will be used in the development of a Portuguese HBSA method. Full article
Open AccessArticle Experiential Knowledge Complements an LCA-Based Decision Support Framework
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12386-12401; doi:10.3390/su70912386
Received: 30 July 2015 / Revised: 7 September 2015 / Accepted: 7 September 2015 / Published: 10 September 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2003 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A shrimp farmer in Taiwan practices innovation through trial-and-error for better income and a better environment, but such farmer-based innovation sometimes fails because the biological mechanism is unclear. Systematic field experimentation and laboratory research are often too costly, and simulating ground conditions is
[...] Read more.
A shrimp farmer in Taiwan practices innovation through trial-and-error for better income and a better environment, but such farmer-based innovation sometimes fails because the biological mechanism is unclear. Systematic field experimentation and laboratory research are often too costly, and simulating ground conditions is often too challenging. To solve this dilemma, we propose a decision support framework that explicitly utilizes farmer experiential knowledge through a participatory approach to alternatively estimate prospective change in shrimp farming productivity, and to co-design options for improvement. Data obtained from the farmer enable us to quantitatively analyze the production cost and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission with a life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. We used semi-quantitative graphical representations of indifference curves and mixing triangles to compare and show better options for the farmer. Our results empower the farmer to make decisions more systematically and reliably based on the frequency of heterotrophic bacteria application and the revision of feed input. We argue that experiential knowledge may be less accurate due to its dependence on varying levels of farmer experience, but this knowledge is a reasonable alternative for immediate decision-making. More importantly, our developed framework advances the scope of LCA application to support practically important yet scientifically uncertain cases. Full article
Open AccessArticle Network Theory Integrated Life Cycle Assessment for an Electric Power System
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 10961-10975; doi:10.3390/su70810961
Received: 9 March 2015 / Revised: 28 July 2015 / Accepted: 3 August 2015 / Published: 11 August 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (720 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In this study, we allocate Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of electricity transmission to the consumers. As an allocation basis, we introduce energy distance. Energy distance takes the transmission load on the electricity energy system into account in addition to the amount of electricity
[...] Read more.
In this study, we allocate Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of electricity transmission to the consumers. As an allocation basis, we introduce energy distance. Energy distance takes the transmission load on the electricity energy system into account in addition to the amount of electricity consumption. As a case study, we estimate regional GHG emissions of electricity transmission loss in Chile. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is used to estimate the total GHG emissions of the Chilean electric power system. The regional GHG emission of transmission loss is calculated from the total GHG emissions. We construct the network model of Chilean electric power grid as an undirected network with 466 nodes and 543 edges holding the topology of the power grid based on the statistical record. We analyze the total annual GHG emissions of the Chilean electricity energy system as 23.07 Mt CO2-eq. and 1.61 Mt CO2-eq. for the transmission loss, respectively. The total energy distance for the electricity transmission accounts for 12,842.10 TWh km based on network analysis. We argue that when the GHG emission of electricity transmission loss is estimated, the electricity transmission load should be separately considered. We propose network theory as a useful complement to LCA analysis for the complex allocation. Energy distance is especially useful on a very large-scale electric power grid such as an intercontinental transmission network. Full article
Open AccessArticle Co-Benefits of Household Waste Recycling for Local Community’s Sustainable Waste Management in Thailand
Sustainability 2015, 7(6), 7417-7437; doi:10.3390/su7067417
Received: 27 February 2015 / Revised: 25 May 2015 / Accepted: 28 May 2015 / Published: 9 June 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2013 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction
Abstract
The study aimed to evaluate co-benefits in term of GHG reduction, and avoided landfill costs by implementing a community-based management (CBM) program for municipal solid waste (MSW). Two towns of peri-urban settlement in Thailand were investigated in case studies to compare eco-performance between
[...] Read more.
The study aimed to evaluate co-benefits in term of GHG reduction, and avoided landfill costs by implementing a community-based management (CBM) program for municipal solid waste (MSW). Two towns of peri-urban settlement in Thailand were investigated in case studies to compare eco-performance between the towns with and without implementation of the CBM program. MSW mass flows together with MSW utilization records were analyzed based on data in year 2013. Climate co-benefits from waste utilization activities were examined. Results from the study indicated that waste banks in the CBM program can effectively divert most of recyclables from entering landfills. The performance of “waste bank—recyclable recovery program” recycling rate from the case study with CBM is 172.20 kg per member per year, which is about 926% higher than average CBMs with MSW recycling in Thailand, and the success of CBM can be attributed to its curbside pickup service and fair-pricing of recyclables. The study also found that if the town decided to divert wastes from landfilling, carbon intensity of the MSW system would be 0.47 tons of CO2-eq per ton of collected MSW. The landfilling cost would be approximately 7.41 USD per ton of MSW as landfilling cost. With CBM programs, current MSW reutilization rate has achieved 9.68% of generated waste, and 16.80% of GHG emission has been avoided, along with a reduction in landfill costs of 11.57%. Two scenarios of waste utilization in Thailand were explored and compared, in terms of which scenarios yielded the highest co-benefits. The study demonstrates that by allowing local mechanism and community involvement programs to develop with operational waste banks, the efficiency of collecting recycling wastes increased. A similar system can be applied to other communities in other countries. Full article

Other

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Open AccessFeature PaperCommentary EU Product Environmental Footprint—Mid-Term Review of the Pilot Phase
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 92; doi:10.3390/su8010092
Received: 30 September 2015 / Revised: 6 January 2016 / Accepted: 13 January 2016 / Published: 18 January 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (710 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The ongoing pilot phase of the European Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) tests the PEF method and develops product category-specific rules (PEFCRs) for selected product categories. The goal of PEF is to address all relevant environmental impacts and the full life cycle of products
[...] Read more.
The ongoing pilot phase of the European Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) tests the PEF method and develops product category-specific rules (PEFCRs) for selected product categories. The goal of PEF is to address all relevant environmental impacts and the full life cycle of products is acknowledged. However, PEF faces several methodological and practical challenges. This paper presents key findings of a comprehensive analysis of the current status of the PEF pilot phase (mainly based on the evaluation of all draft PEFCRs). Remaining key challenges are: (1) the still open goal and policy outcome of the PEF process; (2) the difficult applicability and, thus, the unclear tangible added value of some PEF rules compared to current life cycle assessment (LCA) practice; (3) the insufficient maturity level of some predefined impact assessment methods and missing reliable methods for prioritizing impact categories; and (4) the fact that, in the worst case, the developed PEFCRs may not support a fair comparability of products. This “mid-term review” of the PEF pilot phase shows that the PEF method and the PEFCRs need to be further improved and refined for a successful policy implementation of PEF, but also for avoiding that unsolved issues of PEF affect the LCA method as such. Full article

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