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Sustainability, Volume 10, Issue 5 (May 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The 20th century was the age of great acceleration. Population grew by a factor 3.7, material [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability Indicators Past and Present: What Next?
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1688; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051688
Received: 27 March 2018 / Revised: 11 April 2018 / Accepted: 16 April 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
This paper discusses the current state of thought amongst the Sustainability Indicator (SI) community, what has been achieved and where we are succeeding and failing. Recent years have witnessed the rise of “alternative facts” and “fake news” and this paper discusses how SIs
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This paper discusses the current state of thought amongst the Sustainability Indicator (SI) community, what has been achieved and where we are succeeding and failing. Recent years have witnessed the rise of “alternative facts” and “fake news” and this paper discusses how SIs fit into this maelstrom, especially as they are themselves designed to encapsulate complexity into condensed signals and it has long been known that SIs can be selectively used to support polarized sides of a debate. This paper draws from chapters in a new edited volume, the “Routledge Handbook of Sustainability Indicators and Indices”, edited by the authors. The book has 34 chapters written by a total of 59 SI experts from a wide range of backgrounds, and attempts to provide a picture of the past and present, strengths and weaknesses of SI development today. This paper is an “analysis of those analyses”—a mindful reflection on reflection, and an assessment of the malign and benign forces at work in 2018 within the SI arena. Finally, we seek to identify where SIs may be going over the coming, unpredictable years. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Climate Change Perceptions and Observations of Agricultural Stakeholders in the Northern Great Plains
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1687; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051687
Received: 25 April 2018 / Revised: 18 May 2018 / Accepted: 19 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
This study explored whether Montana agricultural stakeholders’ perceptions and observations of climate change vary according to four socio-ecological variables: income, political view, agricultural occupation, and production region. A survey including 27 questions was developed into five sections: (1) agricultural background information; (2) perceptions
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This study explored whether Montana agricultural stakeholders’ perceptions and observations of climate change vary according to four socio-ecological variables: income, political view, agricultural occupation, and production region. A survey including 27 questions was developed into five sections: (1) agricultural background information; (2) perceptions about climate change; (3) observed changes in climate-related variables; (4) adaptation practices and strategies; and (5) demographic information. The survey included Likert-scored responses and multiple-choice questions, and was completed by 452 participants, including conventional and organic farmers and ranchers, extension agents, crop consultants, and researchers. The results indicate that while a notable fraction of agricultural stakeholders are alarmed about climate change and optimistic about the human capacity to reduce climate change, the degree of concern and optimism significantly varies depending on the stakeholder’s political views, production region, and agricultural occupation group. We found that observations of changes in climate, perceptions about climate change, and potential risks to agricultural production are driven mainly by political views. Both perceptions and observations drive the choice of adaptation and mitigation practices. It is thus essential to understand farmers’ socio-ecological characteristics when designing agricultural outreach programs in order to reduce barriers for the adoption of climate-resilient agriculture. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Decision and Coordination in a Low-Carbon E-Supply Chain Considering the Manufacturer’s Carbon Emission Reduction Behavior
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1686; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051686
Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 13 May 2018 / Accepted: 19 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
At present, online shopping is becoming increasingly popular. In particular, low-carbon products are becoming more favored as consumers’ low-carbon awareness increases. Manufacturers sell their low-carbon products through e-commerce platforms. Thus, the manufacturer and the e-commerce platform form a low-carbon e-supply chain system. The
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At present, online shopping is becoming increasingly popular. In particular, low-carbon products are becoming more favored as consumers’ low-carbon awareness increases. Manufacturers sell their low-carbon products through e-commerce platforms. Thus, the manufacturer and the e-commerce platform form a low-carbon e-supply chain system. The manufacturer makes products with carbon emission reduction efforts, while the e-commerce platform provides a sales service. In this paper, we described models for a decentralized decision mode and a centralized decision mode in the low-carbon e-supply chain, and compare the decision results. Our findings show that the centralized decision mode has a better performance than the decentralized one, the ability of the e-supply chain to respond to consumers’ preference for a low-carbon product has a direct effect on its operation, and the manufacturer’s carbon emission reduction behavior will be a potential source for enterprises to gain more revenue. Further, we designed a coordination contract for them that can be accepted by both sides in the decentralized decision mode. We find that if the e-commerce platform can share the carbon emission reduction costs of the manufacturer, the performance of the e-supply chain will be greatly improved. A practical case study and numerical examples validate our analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Supply Chain System Design and Optimization)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Sustainable Energy Security and an Empirical Analysis of China
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1685; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051685
Received: 4 April 2018 / Revised: 17 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
Energy security and sustainability are crucial factors for the development of China. The creation of an evaluation theoretical system of the energy has theoretical and practical significance that is important for ensuring the safe and sustainable development of energy security that matches the
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Energy security and sustainability are crucial factors for the development of China. The creation of an evaluation theoretical system of the energy has theoretical and practical significance that is important for ensuring the safe and sustainable development of energy security that matches the national development phase and reflects the sustainable development of national energy. Sustainable energy security must not only take into account the security of energy supply–demand in the long-term and short-term, it must also focus on the coordinated development between energy, the environment, and the economy in China. This paper proposes five dimensions of energy security (availability, accessibility, affordability, acceptability, and develop-ability) to construct China’s Sustainable Energy Security (CSES) evaluation index model. Based on the model, an empirical study of China’s energy security is carried out with data from 2005 to 2015, and dynamic changing trends are analyzed accordingly. The results indicate that availability and develop-ability are the most important weights in China’s Sustainable Energy Security index system, where availability shows a general downward trend, and develop-ability presents an inverted U-type trend, with its lowest point in 2011. From 2008 to 2012, China’s sustainable energy security had been at risk. Taking the year 2010 as the demarcation, two phases were obtained: before and after 2010, during which the level of China’s sustainable energy security first dropped, and then rose. However, compared with 2005, CSES level decreased by 28% in 2015 due to the decline of availability and accessibility. During 2005–2015, China’s energy security system had relative high scores in acceptability and develop-ability, while the sustained downward trend of availability is in need of more regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Building Ownership, Renovation Investments, and Energy Performance—A Study of Multi-Family Dwellings in Gothenburg
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1684; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051684
Received: 28 March 2018 / Revised: 28 April 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
The European building stock was renewed at a rapid pace during the period 1950–1975. In many European countries, the building stock from this time needs to be renovated, and there are opportunities to introduce energy efficiency measures in the renovation process. Information availability
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The European building stock was renewed at a rapid pace during the period 1950–1975. In many European countries, the building stock from this time needs to be renovated, and there are opportunities to introduce energy efficiency measures in the renovation process. Information availability and increasingly available analysis tools make it possible to assess the impact of policy and regulation. This article describes methods developed for analyzing investments in renovation and energy performance based on building ownership and inhabitant socio-economic information developed for Swedish authorities, to be used for the Swedish national renovations strategy in 2019. This was done by analyzing measured energy usage and renovation investments made during the last 30 years, coupled with building specific official information of buildings and resident area characteristics, for multi-family dwellings in Gothenburg (N = 6319). The statistical analyses show that more costly renovations lead to decreasing energy usage for heating, but buildings that have been renovated during the last decades have a higher energy usage when accounting for current heating system, ownership, and resident socio-economic background. It is appropriate to include an affordability aspect in larger renovation projects since economically disadvantaged groups are over-represented in buildings with poorer energy performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Built Environment and Urban Growth Management)
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Open AccessArticle Is Peru Prepared for Large-Scale Sustainable Rural Electrification?
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1683; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051683
Received: 24 April 2018 / Revised: 16 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
Peru has historically been among the Latin-American countries with a low rural electrification rate. Aiming to improve this situation, the country conducted several electrification efforts in the last few decades that included off-grid photovoltaic (PV) solutions for remote areas (where the grid expansion
[...] Read more.
Peru has historically been among the Latin-American countries with a low rural electrification rate. Aiming to improve this situation, the country conducted several electrification efforts in the last few decades that included off-grid photovoltaic (PV) solutions for remote areas (where the grid expansion was unviable). More recently, the government has also sponsored a ‘massive program’ that aims to deploy a minimum of 150,000 off-grid PV solutions in the upcoming years. In this paper, we assess the sustainability of rural electrification programs in Peru, paying special attention to the ongoing “massive program”. Our assessment considers four dimensions of sustainability (institutional, economic, environmental, and socio-cultural) and is based on an exhaustive qualitative document analysis complemented by semi-structured expert interviews. We found that the lack of strong formal institutions with a flexible and decentralized structure seriously compromises the sustainability of rural electrification efforts in Peru. Staff rotation and overlapping competences have caused disturbing changes and inhibited following a strategic line, while widespread outsourcing combined with weak controls have often affected the reliability of the deployed systems. Although cross subsidies have made off-grid PV systems affordable for users, systems often fell short of energy demand. Notably, we found that Peruvian officials appear to be unaware of the importance of local participation, and there is a significant mistrust between the government and the rural population (especially in areas where mining is extensive). As a consequence, most of the projects are still designed without the participation and engagement of the communities, which has frequently led to project failures, payment defaults, and inhibited seizing opportunities regarding productive uses of off-grid PV systems. We expect that our findings may help Peruvian institutions to address the most severe drawbacks affecting their rural electrification efforts based on off-grid PV systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Open AccessReview Flooding Hazards across Southern China and Prospective Sustainability Measures
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1682; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051682
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 7 May 2018 / Accepted: 14 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
The Yangtze River Basin and Huaihe River Basin in Southern China experienced severe floods 1998 and 2016. The reasons for the flooding hazards include the following two factors: hazardous weather conditions and degradation of the hydrological environment due to anthropogenic activities. This review
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The Yangtze River Basin and Huaihe River Basin in Southern China experienced severe floods 1998 and 2016. The reasons for the flooding hazards include the following two factors: hazardous weather conditions and degradation of the hydrological environment due to anthropogenic activities. This review work investigated the weather conditions based on recorded data, which showed that both 1998 and 2016 were in El Nino periods. Human activities include the degradations of rivers and lakes and the effects caused by the building of the Three Gorges Dam. In addition, the flooding in 2016 had a lower hazard scale than that in 1998 but resulted in larger economic losses than that of 1998. To mitigate urban waterlogging caused by flooding hazards, China proposed a new strategy named Spongy City (SPC) in 2014. SPC promotes sustainable city development so that a city has the resilience to adapt to climate change, to mitigate the impacts of waterlogging caused by extreme rainfall events. The countermeasures used to tackle the SPC construction-related problems, such as local inundation, water resource shortage, storm water usage, and water pollution control, are proposed for city management to improve the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Environmental Carrying Capacity with Emergy Perspective of Jeju Island
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1681; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051681
Received: 22 March 2018 / Revised: 17 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
Jeju Island experienced an approximately 42% increase in energy consumption from 2006 to 2015 and the demand for energy consumption is expected to continue to increase. Thus, Jeju Island is planning a project entitled “Carbon Free Island by 2030” to promote sustainable development
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Jeju Island experienced an approximately 42% increase in energy consumption from 2006 to 2015 and the demand for energy consumption is expected to continue to increase. Thus, Jeju Island is planning a project entitled “Carbon Free Island by 2030” to promote sustainable development and is required to estimate the environmental carrying capacity for future energy demand changes. The purpose of this study was to calculate the emergy inherent in Jeju Island’s energy, materials, and information in 2015 using the emergy analysis method and local characteristics. In addition, this study aimed to estimate the emergy indices to evaluate the environmental carrying capacity for sustainable development in 2005, 2015, and 2030 considering the future energy demand. This study’s outputs provide the environmental carrying capacity with emergy indices, such as the percent renewable (%Renew), emergy yield ratio (EYR), environmental loading ratio (ELR), sustainability index (SI), and carrying capacity of the population (CCP) for social and economic activities on Jeju Island, which are expected to be saturated. These findings show regions with heavy tourism require development strategies, including the concept of environmental carrying capacity. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Validating the City Region Food System Approach: Enacting Inclusive, Transformational City Region Food Systems
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1680; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051680
Received: 16 February 2018 / Revised: 19 April 2018 / Accepted: 20 April 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
This paper offers a critical assessment of the value and utility of the evolving City Region Food Systems (CRFS) approach to improve our insights into flows of resources—food, waste, people, and knowledge—from rural to peri-urban to urban and back again, and the policies
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This paper offers a critical assessment of the value and utility of the evolving City Region Food Systems (CRFS) approach to improve our insights into flows of resources—food, waste, people, and knowledge—from rural to peri-urban to urban and back again, and the policies and process needed to enable sustainability. This paper reflects on (1) CRFS merits compared to other approaches; (2) the operational potential of applying the CRFS approach to existing projects through case analysis; (3) how to make the CRFS approach more robust and ways to further operationalize the approach; and (4) the potential for the CRFS approach to address complex challenges including integrated governance, territorial development, metabolic flows, and climate change. The paper begins with the rationale for CRFS as both a conceptual framework and an integrative operational approach, as it helps to build increasingly coherent transformational food systems. CRFS is differentiated from existing approaches to understand the context and gaps in theory and practice. We then explore the strength of CRFS through the conceptual building blocks of ‘food systems’ and ‘city-regions’ as appropriate, or not, to address pressing complex challenges. As both a multi-stakeholder, sustainability-building approach and process, CRFS provides a collective voice for food actors across scales and could provide coherence across jurisdictions, policies, and scales, including the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Habitat III New Urban Agenda, and the Conference of the Parties (COP) 21. CRFS responds directly to calls in the literature to provide a conceptual and practical framing for policy through wide engagement across sectors that enables the co-construction of a relevant policy frame that can be enacted through sufficiently integrated policies and programs that achieve increasingly sustainable food systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Balancing Urban Biodiversity Needs and Resident Preferences for Vacant Lot Management
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1679; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051679
Received: 19 April 2018 / Revised: 16 May 2018 / Accepted: 16 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Urban vacant lots are often a contentious feature in cities, seen as overgrown, messy eyesores that plague neighborhoods. We propose a shift in this perception to locations of urban potential, because vacant lots may serve as informal greenspaces that maximize urban biodiversity while
[...] Read more.
Urban vacant lots are often a contentious feature in cities, seen as overgrown, messy eyesores that plague neighborhoods. We propose a shift in this perception to locations of urban potential, because vacant lots may serve as informal greenspaces that maximize urban biodiversity while satisfying residents’ preferences for their design and use. Our goal was to assess what kind of vacant lots are ecologically valuable by assessing their biotic contents and residents’ preferences within a variety of settings. We surveyed 150 vacant lots throughout Baltimore, Maryland for their plant and bird communities, classified the lot’s setting within the urban matrix, and surveyed residents. Remnant vacant lots had greater vegetative structure and bird species richness as compared to other lot origins, while vacant lot settings had limited effects on their contents. Residents preferred well-maintained lots with more trees and less artificial cover, support of which may increase local biodiversity in vacant lots. Collectively, we propose that vacant lots with a mixture of remnant and planted vegetation can act as sustainable urban greenspaces with the potential for some locations to enhance urban tree cover and bird habitat, while balancing the needs and preferences of city residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustaining the Shrinking City: Concepts, Dynamics and Management)
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Open AccessArticle A Multi-Temporal Analyses of Land Surface Temperature Using Landsat-8 Data and Open Source Software: The Case Study of Modena, Italy
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1678; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051678
Received: 26 April 2018 / Revised: 17 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
The Urban Heat Island (UHI) phenomenon, namely urban areas where the atmospheric temperature is significantly higher than in the surrounding rural areas, is currently a very well-known topic both in the scientific community and in public debates. Growing urbanization is one of the
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The Urban Heat Island (UHI) phenomenon, namely urban areas where the atmospheric temperature is significantly higher than in the surrounding rural areas, is currently a very well-known topic both in the scientific community and in public debates. Growing urbanization is one of the anthropic causes of UHI. The UHI phenomenon has a negative impact on the life quality of the local population (thermal discomfort, summer thermal shock, etc.), thus investigations and analyses on this topic are really useful and important for correct and sustainable urban planning; this study is included in this context. A multi-temporal analysis was performed in the municipality of Modena (Italy) to identify and estimate the Surface Urban Heat Island (SUHI, strictly correlated to the UHI phenomenon) from 2014 to 2017. For this purpose, Landsat-8 satellite images were processed with Quantum Geographic Information System (QGIS) to obtain the Land Surface Temperature (LST) and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). For every pixel, LST and NDVI values of three regions of interest (ROI, i.e., Countryside, Suburbs, and City Center) were extracted and their correlations were investigated. A maximum variation of 6.4 °C in the LST values between City Center and Countryside was highlighted, confirming the presence of the SUHI phenomenon even in a medium-sized municipality like Modena. The implemented procedure demonstrates that satellite data are suitable for SUHI identification and estimation, therefore it could be a useful tool for public administration for urban planning policies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Analysis of CO2 Emissions from International Transport and the Driving Forces of Emissions Change
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1677; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051677
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 17 May 2018 / Accepted: 19 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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As a consequence of globalization, increased international transport generates many pollutants. Pollution generation from other industries related to international transport also cannot be ignored. This paper thus aims to investigate the carbon emissions from international transport. We analyzed embodied carbon emissions of international
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As a consequence of globalization, increased international transport generates many pollutants. Pollution generation from other industries related to international transport also cannot be ignored. This paper thus aims to investigate the carbon emissions from international transport. We analyzed embodied carbon emissions of international transport using multi-region input output analysis, and identified the factors underlying changes in emissions using structural decomposition analysis. China was the world’s largest CO2-emitting country in international transport in terms of both production- and consumption-based standards. However, consumption-based emissions in that country were much lower than production-based emissions, while in the United States, with second largest emissions, the situation was the opposite. Major emission changes were contingent on demands for international transportation and emission efficiency. In the case of the European Union (EU), consumption-based emissions were higher, but CO2 emissions decreased gradually due to increased emission efficiency. The different information is provided by each standard, and reduction targets can change according to the standards employed. While discussions on emissions standards are still in progress, the results of this study suggest that CO2 emissions from international transport, and according to different emissions standards, should receive careful attention in energy policy design, in order to limit CO2 emissions globally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Influence Factors and Regression Model of Urban Housing Prices Based on Internet Open Access Data
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1676; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051676
Received: 24 April 2018 / Revised: 13 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
With the commercialization of housing and the deepening of urbanization in China, housing prices are having increasing influence on the land market, and thus indirectly affecting urban development. As various spatial features of an urban housing property directly affect its price, the study
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With the commercialization of housing and the deepening of urbanization in China, housing prices are having increasing influence on the land market, and thus indirectly affecting urban development. As various spatial features of an urban housing property directly affect its price, the study of this connection has significance for urban planning. The present study uses mainly open internet data of housing prices, supplemented by other data sources, to identify the spatial features of housing prices and the influence factors in a case study city, Wuhan. Methods employed in the study include the hedonic linear regression model, the geographically weighted regression (GWR) model and the artificial neural network (ANN) model, etc. Progress is made in the following two aspects: first, when calculating the influence factors, hierarchical values for accessibility variables of certain public facilities are used instead of simple Euclidean distance and the results shows a better model fit; second, the ANN model shows the best fit in the study, and while the three models all show respective strengths, the combined use of all models offers the possibility of a more comprehensive analysis of the influence factors of housing prices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Corporate Social Responsibility, Internal Controls, and Stock Price Crash Risk: The Chinese Stock Market
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1675; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051675
Received: 15 April 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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As the core of sustainable development strategy, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a concept that influences business missions, management, operations, finance, and marketing. Studies of the economic consequences of CSR have focused on the theoretical and practical arenas. However, few studies have examined
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As the core of sustainable development strategy, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a concept that influences business missions, management, operations, finance, and marketing. Studies of the economic consequences of CSR have focused on the theoretical and practical arenas. However, few studies have examined the impact of CSR on the market price fluctuations of company shares. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of CSR on stock price crash risk and its relationship with the role of internal controls in China. After empirical analysis, we found a significantly negative association between CSR and stock price crash risk. Furthermore, we determined that internal controls play a significant and partially mediating role between CSR and stock price crash risk. Internal controls have become an important system for Chinese companies to improve their social responsibility and reduce their operating risk, especially the risk of a stock price crash. We also found that internal controls had a significant and partial moderating effect on the relationship between CSR and stock price crash risk. In certain environments with higher levels of internal controls, CSR prominently reduced the risk of stock price crash. In theory, our study adds to the growing literature about CSR, expands the scope of CSR research, elaborates upon relevant CSR economic consequences, and complements the literature about the determinants of stock price crash risk. In practice, our conclusions provide a reference for Chinese managers, investors, and the related government departments to evaluate the effects of CSR and internal controls, and provides regulators with a method to help control abnormal fluctuations in the stock market. More importantly, the results of this study have reference value for scholars and practitioners in developing countries like China. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Tool for Sourcing Sustainable Building Renovation: The Energy Efficiency Maturity Matrix
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1674; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051674
Received: 15 April 2018 / Revised: 13 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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The success of sustainable building renovation is inevitably dependent on the capabilities of the involved stakeholders throughout the entire project. Therefore, any building client with intentions of sustainable building renovations must reflect on sourcing the adequate capabilities for a sustainable renovation project. The
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The success of sustainable building renovation is inevitably dependent on the capabilities of the involved stakeholders throughout the entire project. Therefore, any building client with intentions of sustainable building renovations must reflect on sourcing the adequate capabilities for a sustainable renovation project. The question in focus is: how to facilitate a sourcing strategy for energy-efficient sustainable building renovation and maintenance. This study on energy efficiency implementations shows that even in developed countries like Sweden, where energy efficiency is regulated by the EU, national legislation and other public policies, the municipal facilities management organizations need process guidance to navigate in decisions regarding in-house capabilities and collaboration with external service providers. A dialogue tool for the sourcing process, the energy efficiency maturity matrix, is developed to support future sourcing processes for energy-efficient buildings as a prominent part of the broader field of sustainable building renovation and maintenance. The future will show when building clients to a larger extent will embrace sourcing strategies instead of mainly focusing on specific technical improvements. The new International standards for facilities management (ISO18480 series) might support this change process, as it includes a sourcing approach, from a strategic level to an operational level, to add more value and to optimize costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Renovation)
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Open AccessArticle Dependence on Supplier, Supplier Trust and Green Supplier Integration: The Moderating Role of Contract Management Difficulty
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1673; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051673
Received: 10 April 2018 / Revised: 2 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
This study aims to investigate the impacts of dependence on supplier and supplier trust on green supplier integration, and the moderating role of contract management difficulty. In this study, we develop a dependence-trust-integration model based on resource dependence theory, social capital theory and
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This study aims to investigate the impacts of dependence on supplier and supplier trust on green supplier integration, and the moderating role of contract management difficulty. In this study, we develop a dependence-trust-integration model based on resource dependence theory, social capital theory and transaction cost theory. We examine the hypothesized relationships using hierarchical regression analyses based on data collected from 187 Chinese firms. Our findings suggest that dependence on supplier has positive impacts on green supplier integration and supplier trust. Supplier trust partially mediates the relationship between dependence on supplier and green supplier integration. In addition, contract management difficulty negatively moderates the relationship between supplier trust and green supplier integration. This research contributes to the literature by offering empirical evidence concerning the indirect relationship between dependence on supplier and green supplier integration via supplier trust, and the trust-integration link depends on the level of contract management difficulty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Gaining Flexibility and Innovation through Offshore Outsourcing
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1672; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051672
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 5 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
Recently, offshore outsourcing has become extremely important for companies that compete worldwide. In many industries, only companies that manage to be competitive globally can aspire to attain sustainable competitive advantages. Therefore, offshore outsourcing has become essential for many companies and recently has become
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Recently, offshore outsourcing has become extremely important for companies that compete worldwide. In many industries, only companies that manage to be competitive globally can aspire to attain sustainable competitive advantages. Therefore, offshore outsourcing has become essential for many companies and recently has become more and more a vital part of the long-term strategies of the leading firms. The rapidly shifting conditions in the marketplace is forcing management to constantly review and defend its core competencies. Management is now confronted with a higher level of complexity and disruptions brought about in particular by the new waves of globalization and the irresistible march of technological changes. For these reasons, offshore outsourcing is transforming the functions of the traditional firms into a network of competencies. The tendency to offshore most of the productive and economic activities and processes can lead companies to transform themselves into virtual organizations, where all the functions could be outsourced through the formation of flexible networks and agile organizational structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How does Outsourcing Affect the Economy and its Sustainability?)
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Open AccessArticle Lighting Design for Energy Sustainability, Information, and Perception. A Museum Environment as a Case Study
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1671; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051671
Received: 8 April 2018 / Revised: 16 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
The aim of our research is to investigate the physical connection between light, perception, and information by means of an integrated methodological approach. The proposed method was used for sustainable lighting design aiming at light efficacy and quality, visual perception, communication, and energy
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The aim of our research is to investigate the physical connection between light, perception, and information by means of an integrated methodological approach. The proposed method was used for sustainable lighting design aiming at light efficacy and quality, visual perception, communication, and energy saving. Three types of synergic measurement were carried out: photometric, colourimetric, and perception measurements. Starting from the results and the post-processing of photometric and colourimetric measurements on different light sources and fresco surfaces, by applying the eye-tracking technique for eye movement analysis of a people sample, entropy calculations were carried out. The results of observer perception and preferences, patterns of their visual scanning due to different LED (Light Emitting Diode) sources, were quantified by means of Shannon entropy calculation and, consequently, the information content of images that each light source can transmit. A new lighting proposal, based on the use of LED sources characterized by a spectral emission of light in strong compliance with surface colour and relevant transmission image content information was suggested and checked by transient simulations. Our proposal was based on sustainability because this concept is linked to developing perception and visual wellbeing, information, light communication, and lower energy consumption for maintenance, but especially for preventive conservation and the protection of works of art by means quality of light. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Lighting and Energy Saving)
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Open AccessArticle Corporate Sustainability in the Process of Employee Recruitment through Social Networks in Conditions of Slovak Small and Medium Enterprises
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1670; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051670
Received: 26 April 2018 / Revised: 15 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
Recruitment strategy and policy are significantly affected by both the internal conditions of the enterprise and the external environment. It is important to anticipate and react to changes in the labor market in a timely manner, to eliminate potential threats and take advantage
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Recruitment strategy and policy are significantly affected by both the internal conditions of the enterprise and the external environment. It is important to anticipate and react to changes in the labor market in a timely manner, to eliminate potential threats and take advantage of opportunities to continuous staffing of current and future needs of the enterprise. The role of managers in deciding on possible techniques for recruiting employees is to respect the principles of sustainability both economically and socially. Due to the use of information technology, this trend is easier to apply in practice, as enterprises can present themselves and get information about potential job seekers. The success of the recruitment process is increasing if public awareness about the employer is positive. Designing the survey methodology was based on the axiom that traditional ways of recruiting employees are being replaced by techniques using the Internet and social networks. The aim of the paper is to present the views of domestic and foreign experts on the recruitment of employees using social networks. We compare the theoretical knowledge with the results of social networking research in SMEs in Slovakia and especially their use in the process of recruiting employees. A total of 324 enterprises with domestic and foreign capital share participated in the sociological questionnaire. The results have shown that enterprises with foreign capital share are more progressive in using the Internet to offer jobs and in gaining information on jobseekers through social networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in E-Business)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Conflict over Mining in Rural China: A Comprehensive Survey of Intentions and Strategies for Environmental Activism
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1669; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051669
Received: 20 February 2018 / Revised: 25 April 2018 / Accepted: 26 April 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
Mining causes severe adverse effects such as pollution and forced resettlement. Accordingly, it has prompted conflicts that are also evident in China. Our study assesses whether and how rural residents’ engage in environmental activism (EA) against mining. This is achieved by constructing a
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Mining causes severe adverse effects such as pollution and forced resettlement. Accordingly, it has prompted conflicts that are also evident in China. Our study assesses whether and how rural residents’ engage in environmental activism (EA) against mining. This is achieved by constructing a model of EA strategies, coupled to variables that examine respondents’ intentions. The model uses data from a survey (n = 352) covering 37 villages spread over 5 provinces and 1 provincial-level municipality. The model is based on a refinement of the theory of planned behavior (TPB). Various findings are reported: (1) a majority of respondents (77%) believes that pollution in the mining areas is serious; (2) there is pessimism about the effects of EA with 41% believing it does not improve the environment, and less than one-fifth feeling the government supports EA, contradictorily; (3) well over half has engaged in one or more forms of EA, while (4) dominant EA strategies consist of complaining to local government or village authorities (both over 40%), or open protest (opted for by over 17%); (5) economic dependency and gender affect the intention for EA, as those employed in mining and women are less inclined to participate. Whereas studies pointed to “inclined abstainers” or the “silent majority”, this study ascertains that—with regard to mining—rural residents are not silent. We posit that a threshold of environmental endurance might have been reached. In this context, policymakers need to tackle the adverse effects of mining, as it is likely to generate more violent confrontations that ultimately pose risks to political credibility and social stability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Firm Characteristics, Uncertainty and Research and Development (R&D) Investment: The Role of Size and Innovation Capacity
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1668; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051668
Received: 24 April 2018 / Revised: 15 May 2018 / Accepted: 16 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
This paper examines the investment behavior of research and development (R&D) under uncertainty. We assume that there is a heterogeneous effect of uncertainty on R&D investment depending on characteristics of a firm. According to the results, the size and the innovation capacity of
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This paper examines the investment behavior of research and development (R&D) under uncertainty. We assume that there is a heterogeneous effect of uncertainty on R&D investment depending on characteristics of a firm. According to the results, the size and the innovation capacity of a firm are found to positively moderate the negative relationship between uncertainty and R&D investment. When the entire sample is divided into large and small-and-medium enterprises and high innovation capacity and low innovation capacity, it is found that the innovation capacity of a firm is a more crucial factor in positively moderating the negative relationship between R&D investment and uncertainty than the size of a firm. These findings provide policy implications, particularly for small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs), to promote R&D activities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Empirical Study on Optimal Strategies of Industry-University-Institute Green Innovation with Subsidy
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1667; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051667
Received: 25 April 2018 / Revised: 13 May 2018 / Accepted: 14 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
With the increasing awareness of environmental protection and the complexity and rapid change of technological innovation, more and more enterprises seek to develop and research (R&D) institutions to cooperate with green innovation. In order to promote the cooperation efficiency of green innovation, this
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With the increasing awareness of environmental protection and the complexity and rapid change of technological innovation, more and more enterprises seek to develop and research (R&D) institutions to cooperate with green innovation. In order to promote the cooperation efficiency of green innovation, this paper develops a multi-stage game model to analyze the optimal strategies of the enterprise, the university and the policy-maker with consumer learning and government subsidy. Then the paper compares the difference of optimal subsidy between the single-stage green innovation cooperation and the multi-stage green innovation cooperation. The research shows that consumers’ initial learning factors and green innovation cooperation cycle have a significant impact on the optimal input level of the enterprise and the university and also have a significant impact on the optimal subsidy of the government. The specific government subsidy and subsidy ratio depend on the comprehensive role of consumer learning factors and the green innovation cooperation cycle. In the end, we propose that the government should subsidize the university at times when the initial consumer learning factor is low; the government subsidy should be properly lagged when the initial consumer learning factor is high. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Empirical Study on Annual Energy-Saving Performance of Energy Performance Contracting in China
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1666; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051666
Received: 20 April 2018 / Revised: 15 May 2018 / Accepted: 16 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
A lack of trust in Energy Service Company (ESCo) is the most critical factor affecting the development of Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) in China, compared with other constraints. One cannot easily estimate the energy-saving performance of an EPC project. Under that condition, lack
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A lack of trust in Energy Service Company (ESCo) is the most critical factor affecting the development of Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) in China, compared with other constraints. One cannot easily estimate the energy-saving performance of an EPC project. Under that condition, lack of trust may cause the Energy-Consuming Unit (ECU) to suspect the energy-saving performance promised by the ESCo, thus leaving potentially profitable projects without necessary funding. Currently, specific studies taking an across-projects viewpoint on annual energy-saving performance of EPC projects in multiple subsectors, objectively and quantitatively, are lacking. This paper studies the regression relationships of annual energy-saving quantity in terms of revamping cost and the regression relationships of annual cost saving in terms of revamping cost. The regression results show that there are statistically significant correlations in the above relationships in the nine subsectors investigated. This is significant for ESCos and ECUs, because knowledge on energy-saving performance could contribute to EPC investment decisions and trust relationships between ESCos and ECUs. Then, a multiple linear regression model of revamping cost is set up to analyze its influencing factors. The model indicates that the subsector the sample belongs to, financing, registered capital of the ESCo, and contract period have significant effects on revamping cost. Thus, policy implications regarding innovation of EE promotion technology, clarifying ESCos’ exit mechanism, innovation of financing mechanism, and improving the market credit environment for promoting investment in EPC projects, are provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Technological Configuration Capability, Strategic Flexibility, and Organizational Performance in Chinese High-Tech Organizations
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1665; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051665
Received: 19 March 2018 / Revised: 7 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the moderating effect of corporate technology configuration capability on the relationship between strategic flexibility and organizational performance throughout the different stages of the technological life cycle. By empirically examining 439 Chinese high-tech organizations, we found
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the moderating effect of corporate technology configuration capability on the relationship between strategic flexibility and organizational performance throughout the different stages of the technological life cycle. By empirically examining 439 Chinese high-tech organizations, we found that technological configuration capability enhances the effect of strategic flexibility on organizational performance in a complex dynamic environment. However, different impacts were observed on the different stages of the technological life cycle. In addition, we explored the strategic flexibility during the different stages of the technological life cycle based on our empirical study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Designing Business Solutions for Plastic Waste Management to Enhance Circular Transitions in Kenya
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1664; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051664
Received: 23 March 2018 / Revised: 1 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
Least-developed countries face many challenges regarding their plastic waste management systems. In 2017, Kenya imposed a selective ban targeting manufacturers and consumers of plastic carrier bags. However, this selectivity does not avoid the continuous use of other plastic products. The present paper states
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Least-developed countries face many challenges regarding their plastic waste management systems. In 2017, Kenya imposed a selective ban targeting manufacturers and consumers of plastic carrier bags. However, this selectivity does not avoid the continuous use of other plastic products. The present paper states that circular priorities, which have been defined to advanced economies, would not be entirely valid for the rest of the world. While high-income countries face only the impacts of their own consumption, developing nations must endure the externalities of these developed economies. Thus, the focus of the least developed part of the world must not be on reducing its relatively normal (or even low) consumption, but to manage its surplus material flow. According to the employed circular evaluation methodology (CEV—Circular Economic Value), the circularity level in Kenya’s plastic material flow stands on a rather low stage with 32.72%. This result outlines the linear deficiencies of the plastic waste management system and urges the prevention of further material leakage (such as energy use). Through the Business Model Canvas (BMC) approach this study offers a holistic business solution which can improve the system’s sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy—Sustainable Energy and Waste Policies)
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Open AccessArticle Environmental Behavior of Secondary Education Students: A Case Study at Central Greece
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1663; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051663
Received: 3 April 2018 / Revised: 28 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
During the last three decades, human behavior has been becoming energy alarming towards environmental sustainability. One of the most influential initiatives towards environmental protection and increased environmental consciousness is the solidification of primary and secondary environmental education. The purpose of this paper is
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During the last three decades, human behavior has been becoming energy alarming towards environmental sustainability. One of the most influential initiatives towards environmental protection and increased environmental consciousness is the solidification of primary and secondary environmental education. The purpose of this paper is to investigate different environmental profiles amongst secondary education students, in light of a multi-parametric analysis that involved the contributive role of school and family towards environmental awareness and participation. By reviewing relevant studies, the benefits offered by environmental education are presented. Accordingly, a questionnaire survey was deployed using a sample of 270 secondary education students, from schools situated in the prefecture of Larissa, central Greece. The statistical methods included factor analysis and cluster analysis. Particularly, four groups of different environmental characteristics are identified and interviewed. Results suggest that most students are environmental affectionate, although there is a need for more solidified environmental education and motivation from out-of-school societal opportunities, such as in the contexts of family and public socialization. The deployed research method and analysis can be proven supportive in adopting and scheduling school environmental programs after an initial identification of the various environmental attitudes among the student population. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Developing a Model to Assess the Potential Impact of TUM Hydropower Turbines on Small River Ecology
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1662; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051662
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 7 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
Small hydropower is a renewable energy technology that is used for electricity generation worldwide, but still has potential for further development. However, during the installation of small hydropower, the ecological impacts of the power plants need to be thoroughly investigated. In addressing the
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Small hydropower is a renewable energy technology that is used for electricity generation worldwide, but still has potential for further development. However, during the installation of small hydropower, the ecological impacts of the power plants need to be thoroughly investigated. In addressing the challenges of energy production and minimizing the environmental impacts of small hydropower installation and operation, this study has applied an ecohydraulic model to investigate river hydrodynamics, hydromorphology, habitat, and the population impacts of small hydropower, and presented the Mum River as a case study. Two scenarios were implemented in this research to simulate the hydrodynamic, sedimentation, habitat, and population status in order to assess the potential effects caused by the TUM plant. At the Mum River, two scenarios were proposed: the TUM plant was not considered in scenario S1, but was considered in scenario S2. The model results for scenario S2 indicated that the habitat was suitable for fish species living in the Mum River, with fish population numbers between 4.6 × 103 and 6.6 × 103. The S2 results indicated that the impacts of the TUM plant were negligible when compared with S1. Although the impact of the TUM plant on the Mum River is relatively large when the discharge is high (19 m3/s), calculations based on stable flow shows that the TUM plant could function well on the river ecosystem when the discharge is low or at normal rates. Therefore, this study shows that the TUM plant would be a good option to meet the needs of energy generation whilst having a minimal impact on river habitats and changes in fish species population in similar small rivers and streams. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Automation on Employment: Just the Usual Structural Change?
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1661; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051661
Received: 2 March 2018 / Revised: 30 April 2018 / Accepted: 14 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
We study the projected impact of automation on employment in the forthcoming decade, both at the macro-level and in actual (types of) sectors. Hereto, we unite an evolutionary economic model of multisectoral structural change with labor economic theory. We thus get a comprehensive
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We study the projected impact of automation on employment in the forthcoming decade, both at the macro-level and in actual (types of) sectors. Hereto, we unite an evolutionary economic model of multisectoral structural change with labor economic theory. We thus get a comprehensive framework of how displacement of labor in sectors of application is compensated by intra- and intersectoral countervailing effects and notably mopped up by newly created, labor-intensive sectors. We use several reputable datasets with expert projections on employment in occupations affected by automation (and notably by the introduction of robotics and AI) to pinpoint which and how sectors and occupations face employment shifts. This reveals how potential job loss due to automation in “applying” sectors is counterbalanced by job creation in “making” sectors as well in complementary and quaternary, spillover sectors. Finally, we study several macro-level scenarios on employment and find that mankind is facing “the usual structural change” rather than the “end of work”. We provide recommendations on policy instruments that enhance the dynamic efficiency of structural change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Technological Change on Employment, Skills and Earnings)
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Open AccessArticle Optimisation of Multipurpose Reservoir Operation by Coupling Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and Genetic Algorithm for Optimal Operating Policy (Case Study: Ganga River Basin)
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1660; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051660
Received: 2 April 2018 / Revised: 9 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
Reservoirs are recognized as one of the most efficient infrastructure components in integrated water resources management. At present, with the ongoing advancement of social economy and requirement of water, the water resources shortage problem has worsened, and the operation of reservoirs, in terms
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Reservoirs are recognized as one of the most efficient infrastructure components in integrated water resources management. At present, with the ongoing advancement of social economy and requirement of water, the water resources shortage problem has worsened, and the operation of reservoirs, in terms of consumption of flood water, has become significantly important. To achieve optimal reservoirs operating policies, a considerable amount of optimization and simulation models have been introduced in the course of recent years. Subsequently, the assessment and estimation that is associated with the operation of reservoir stays conventional. In the present study, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) models and a Genetic Algorithm model has been employed to two reservoirs in Ganga River basin, India in order to obtain the optimal reservoir operational policies. The objective function has been added to reduce the yearly sum of squared deviation from preferred storage capacity and required release for the irrigation purpose. The rule curves that were estimated via random search have been discovered to be consistent with that of demand requests. Thus, in the present case study, on the basis of the generated result, it has been concluded that GA-derived optimal reservoir operation rules are competitive and promising, and can be efficiently used for the derivation of operation of the reservoir. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Simulation of Rainwater Harvesting Design and Demand-Side Controls for Large Hospitals
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1659; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051659
Received: 19 March 2018 / Revised: 12 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
Inpatient health buildings in the United States are the most intensive users of water among large commercial buildings. Large facilities (greater than 1 million square feet) consume an average of 90 million gallons per building per year. The distribution and treatment of water
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Inpatient health buildings in the United States are the most intensive users of water among large commercial buildings. Large facilities (greater than 1 million square feet) consume an average of 90 million gallons per building per year. The distribution and treatment of water imposes a significant electrical power demand, which may be the single largest energy requirement for various states. Supply and demand-side solutions are needed, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions where water is scarce. This study uses continuous simulations based on 71 years of historical data to estimate how rainwater harvesting systems and demand-side interventions (e.g., low-flow devices, xeriscaping) would offset the demand for externally-provided water sources in a semi-arid region. Simulations from time series models are used to generate alternative rainfall models to account for potential non-stationarity and volatility. Results demonstrate that hospital external water consumption might be reduced by approximately 25% using conservative assumptions and depending on the design of experiment parameters associated with rainfall capture area, building size, holding tank specifications, and conservation efforts. Full article
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