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Sustainability, Volume 14, Issue 3 (February-1 2022) – 895 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Conflicts between different goals can obstruct progress in sustainability, but interests may also coincide. We evaluated relationships between environmental quality and animal welfare on Swedish farms with grazing livestock and semi-natural grasslands, using publicly available databases. Data were collected from 8700 official animal welfare inspections on 5808 cattle farms, and 2823 inspections on 2280 sheep farms from 2012 to 2017. Compliance with three animal-based checkpoints in the legislation was modelled using logistic regression, including a random farm effect, to account for repeated inspections. The results suggest a direct or indirect causal effect of biodiversity on cattle welfare. The same associations could not be shown in sheep. View this paper
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Article
University as a Site to Learn Citizenship from the Perspectives of Students in the UK
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1939; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031939 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 586
Abstract
The role of universities in preparing students to be active citizens within civil society has gained increasing attention. However, only limited research has been conducted on students’ views of universities as sites to learn representative democracy. To address the research gap, this article [...] Read more.
The role of universities in preparing students to be active citizens within civil society has gained increasing attention. However, only limited research has been conducted on students’ views of universities as sites to learn representative democracy. To address the research gap, this article conducts eight semi-structured interviews with staff, student leaders and students without any positions in a case university. The students are undergraduate and post-graduate from different academic majors. Community of practice theory is employed to help understand students’ views of their experiences of representative democracy at the university. After analysing the interview data, the article finds that student leaders regard their role as mainly representing students and that all students in the study realise the importance of such democratic representation through participation. Importantly, through participation in representative democracy, students, especially student leaders, gain knowledge and skills on voting and elections. Interestingly, students’ sense of belonging is a result of participation in student union, society and club activities, which very likely includes voting and engagement with elections. Learning and belongingness are likely to make students participate more in future democratic representation activities. Although students give credit to the university’s role in promoting representative democracy, there are challenges. Specifically, the university is supposed to promote more participation in voting and elections for first-year students, and there is also concern that the short-term nature of positions in the student union may not allow real changes to be made. The findings shed some light on how students learn representative democracy in universities in neoliberal countries. Full article
Article
Greenhouse Gas Fluxes from Selected Soil Fertility Management Practices in Humic Nitisols of Upper Eastern Kenya
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1938; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031938 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 638
Abstract
We quantified the soil carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes of five soil fertility management practices (inorganic fertilizer (Mf), maize residue + inorganic fertilizer (RMf), maize residue + inorganic fertilizer + goat manure [...] Read more.
We quantified the soil carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes of five soil fertility management practices (inorganic fertilizer (Mf), maize residue + inorganic fertilizer (RMf), maize residue + inorganic fertilizer + goat manure (RMfM), maize residue + tithonia diversifolia + goat manure (RTiM), and a control (CtC)) in Kenya’s central highlands using a static chamber method from March 2019 to March 2020. The cumulative annual soil CH4 uptake ranged from −1.07 to −0.64 kg CH4-C ha−1 yr−1, CO2 emissions from 4.59 to 9.01 Mg CO2-C ha−1 yr−1, and N2O fluxes from 104 to 279 g N2O-N ha−1 yr−1. The RTiM produced the highest CO2 emissions (9.01 Mg CO2-C ha−1 yr−1), carbon sequestration (3.99 Mg CO2-eq ha−1), yield-scaled N2O emissions (YSE) (0.043 g N2O-N kg−1 grain yield), the lowest net global warming potential (net GWP) (−14.7 Mg CO2-eq ha−1) and greenhouse gas intensities (GHGI) (−2.81 Kg CO2-eq kg−1 grain yield). We observed average maize grain yields of 7.98 Mg ha−1 yr−1 under RMfM treatment. Integrating inorganic fertilizer and maize residue retention resulted in low emissions, increased soil organic carbon sequestration, and high maize yields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils)
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Article
Geopolymer Concrete Performance Study for High-Temperature Thermal Energy Storage (TES) Applications
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1937; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031937 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 548
Abstract
Solar energy is an energy intermittent source that faces a substantial challenge for its power dispatchability. Hence, concentrating solar power (CSP) plants and solar process heat (SPH) applications employ thermal energy storage (TES) technologies as a link between power generation and optimal load [...] Read more.
Solar energy is an energy intermittent source that faces a substantial challenge for its power dispatchability. Hence, concentrating solar power (CSP) plants and solar process heat (SPH) applications employ thermal energy storage (TES) technologies as a link between power generation and optimal load distribution. Ordinary Portland cement (OPC)-based materials are widely used in sensible TES, but their use is limited to operation temperatures below 400 to 500 °C because of thermal degradation processes. This work proposes a geopolymer (GEO)-based concrete as a suitable alternative to OPC concrete for TES that withstands high running temperatures, higher than 500 °C. To this end, thermophysical properties of a geopolymer-based concrete sample were initially measured experimentally; later, energy storage capacity and thermal behavior of the GEO sample were modeled numerically. In fact, different thermal scenarios were modeled, revealing that GEO-based concrete can be a sound choice due to its thermal energy storage capacity, high thermal diffusivity and capability to work at high temperature regimes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Deal in Construction and Building Materials)
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Article
Characterization of Mutant Aspergillus niger and the Impact on Certain Plants
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1936; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031936 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 422
Abstract
Aspergillus niger is a dangerous pathogen for many plants. It is a major cause of the destruction, rotting and decomposition of plant tissues. Toxicity caused by A. niger can be inhibited by mutation decreasing the destructive effect on plants. An 18S rDNA molecular [...] Read more.
Aspergillus niger is a dangerous pathogen for many plants. It is a major cause of the destruction, rotting and decomposition of plant tissues. Toxicity caused by A. niger can be inhibited by mutation decreasing the destructive effect on plants. An 18S rDNA molecular tool was used to identify A. niger strains. Sodium azide (NaN3) is a chemical mutagen that disturbs fungal enzymatic activity and causes microbial production of cellulose-degrading enzymes, decreasing mycotoxin production. Different concentrations of sodium azide were used to treat A. niger (30, 40 and 50 µM). The study was designed on two levels: the first level concerned the mutant A. niger’s mode of action: the higher the mutagen concentration, the lower the growth diameter and spore counts. The mutant A. niger’s total proteins and flavonoids were reduced when compared to control. RAPD-PCR showed genetic variation in the genetic content of mutant fungi compared to control resulting in a polymorphism percentage of 78.56%. The second level included the effect of these mutants on two plants (onion and maize). The greater the increase in mutant concentration, the greater the increase in the plants’ morphological and physiological behavior. In conclusion, mutation reduced fungal activity and strengthened plant resistance. Full article
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Article
Social Sustainability?: Exploring the Relationship between Community Experience and Perceptions of the Environment
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1935; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031935 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 726
Abstract
This study uses the Rural Utah Community Study (RUCS) to explore how social sustainability shapes a community’s approach to environmental sustainability. The results indicate that respondents who feel attached to and are satisfied with their community had a more positive relationship with the [...] Read more.
This study uses the Rural Utah Community Study (RUCS) to explore how social sustainability shapes a community’s approach to environmental sustainability. The results indicate that respondents who feel attached to and are satisfied with their community had a more positive relationship with the natural environment than those who were dissatisfied with their communities. We also find evidence that social ties, measured by the number of people known by their first name in the community, positively influence perceptions of the environment, and that a significant link exists between environmental sustainability and a higher sense of community belonging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Sustainability)
Article
Investing in Urban Blue–Green Infrastructure—Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Stormwater Management in a Peri-Urban Catchment in Oslo, Norway
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1934; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031934 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 862
Abstract
Cities are challenged by climate change impacts, such as extreme rainfall events that affect conventional urban water management systems via increased sewage water overflows resulting in water quality deterioration and urban floods causing infrastructure damage. Investments in blue–green infrastructure (BGI) are increasingly considered [...] Read more.
Cities are challenged by climate change impacts, such as extreme rainfall events that affect conventional urban water management systems via increased sewage water overflows resulting in water quality deterioration and urban floods causing infrastructure damage. Investments in blue–green infrastructure (BGI) are increasingly considered to address these issues. However, these should be cost-effective. In this study, the effectiveness of five different BGI strategies and one grey strategy are assessed for a peri-urban catchment area in Oslo (Grefsen) using a cost–benefit analysis. The strategies include (i) wadis; (ii) green roofs; (iii) raingardens, rain barrels and wadis; (iv) infiltration crates; (v) water squares, and (vi) a separate sewage system. Besides economic effectiveness, the study also aims to identify the proper protection level by comparing cost–benefit ratios and net benefits for 60-min rainfall events occurring once every 5, 20, and 100 years (M5, M20, and M100), concerning both the current situation and under future climate change (using the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5). The analyses revealed the highest BC ratios for wadis (12.0–17.3), separate sewage systems (7.7–15.1), and a combination of raingardens, rain barrels, and wadis (1.6–2.3). Strategies dimensioned for less frequent but more intensive rainfall events yielded higher BC ratios. Results for infiltration crates were difficult to interpret and were found to be very sensitive to input parameters. The other strategies implied a negative BC ratio. The study concludes that investments in BGI in Grefsen, Oslo, can be positively judged from a social–economic perspective and provide suitable information for water-related decision makers to decide upon the strategy selection and the appropriate flood protection level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Urban Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change)
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Article
Opportunities, Quality Factors, and Required Changes during the Pandemic Based on Higher Education Leaders’ Perspective
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1933; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031933 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 618
Abstract
The pandemic period in education brought many challenges to all organizations. The activities of the higher educational institutions are being affected and the situation can last for a longer time. Under these circumstances, it is important to shift to online learning and improve [...] Read more.
The pandemic period in education brought many challenges to all organizations. The activities of the higher educational institutions are being affected and the situation can last for a longer time. Under these circumstances, it is important to shift to online learning and improve educational processes through all organizational levels. The organizations had to assure appropriate distance or remote learning process by identifying their opportunities, meeting challenges, and identifying the sustainable quality factors for remote or distance learning. This study aimed to map and test the factors that influence online learning success in the pandemic situation in higher education in one of the European Union countries, Lithuania. Factors analyzed and presented in the paper are the quality of institutions and services, infrastructure and system quality, quality of courses and information, and online learning environment. Data were collected through surveys by distributing questionnaires and interviews. Authors are providing the main criteria for successful education based on administrative positions and design makers of the educational organizations. The article summarizes the interviews of 15 respondents from the three Lithuanian higher education institutions and how their informants met changes, opportunities, and identified quality factors addressed to the successful learning and teaching process during a pandemic period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Pedagogies for Training with Technologies)
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Article
Hydrodynamic Response of Ocean-Towed Cable-Array System under Different Munk Moment Coefficients
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1932; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031932 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 423
Abstract
The ocean towing system plays an important role in the ocean development process. The motion of a towed body is closely coupled with the motion of a towing cable. In this paper, the lumped mass method is used to discrete a towing cable [...] Read more.
The ocean towing system plays an important role in the ocean development process. The motion of a towed body is closely coupled with the motion of a towing cable. In this paper, the lumped mass method is used to discrete a towing cable into a lumped mass model. At the same time, on the basis of some assumptions, the relationship between the expression of Munk moments in the classical towed body kinematics and the expression of the Munk moments in the hydrodynamic analysis software OrcaFlex is established. Based on the above assumptions and the derivation, combined with the specific parameters of a certain sea state and a certain towing system, the dynamic simulation of the towing system is made by OrcaFlex. By changing the different Munk moment coefficients, the real-time response of the cable tension and the towed underwater body under different Munk moments is achieved. The effects of different Munk moment coefficients on the change of the tension are obtained; the six degrees of freedom of the towed body under the action of different Munk moment coefficients are shown. To obtain the spectral density of the six degrees of freedom of the towed body under the action of different Munk moment coefficients, Fast Fourier Transform is performed on the calculated results of the towed body in the time domain. The results provide a theoretical basis for the optimal design of a cable and towed body. Full article
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Article
Analysis of Agricultural CO2 Emissions in Henan Province, China, Based on EKC and Decoupling
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1931; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031931 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 452
Abstract
Global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions is highly concerning. Both the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) hypothesis and decoupling analysis indicate a dynamic relationship between economic growth and environmental pollution, and each method has its own emphasis. The objective of this paper is [...] Read more.
Global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions is highly concerning. Both the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) hypothesis and decoupling analysis indicate a dynamic relationship between economic growth and environmental pollution, and each method has its own emphasis. The objective of this paper is to investigate the nexus between grain production and agricultural carbon emissions for the main grain-producing areas in China. Taking Henan Province, the second largest agricultural province, as an example, this paper examines the relationship between grain production and agricultural CO2 emissions during 2000–2019, using the EKC hypothesis and decoupling analysis. The results are as follows: (1) The estimation model of CO2 EKC shows the climbing stage of an inverted U-shaped relationship, which suggests that agricultural economic growth occurred at the cost of an increase in agricultural CO2 emissions in Henan Province during the past 20 years. (2) The results of the decoupling analysis show that incidences of weak decoupling and expansive coupling states took up most of the study period, accompanied by an occasionally strong decoupling state; decoupling and coupling states alternated irregularly, and no clear development trends were observed. (3) Considering the shape of the CO2 EKC and the decoupling state, environmental policies encouraged decoupling, but suffered from time lags and poor continuity; long-term incentives, such as an ecological compensation policy, could perhaps drive carbon emission reduction. On this basis, Chinese agricultural policy should combine environmentally targeted interventions with measures supporting production and farmers’ incomes, and environmental policy should also adapt to economic growth. Only when both supplement each other can sustainable agricultural goals be achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drivers of Environmental Impacts from Agricultural Production Systems)
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Article
How Green Are the National Hydrogen Strategies?
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1930; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031930 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 1165
Abstract
Since Japan promulgated the world’s first national hydrogen strategy in 2017, 28 national (or regional, in the case of the EU) hydrogen strategies have been issued by major world economies. As carbon emissions vary with different types of hydrogen, and only green hydrogen [...] Read more.
Since Japan promulgated the world’s first national hydrogen strategy in 2017, 28 national (or regional, in the case of the EU) hydrogen strategies have been issued by major world economies. As carbon emissions vary with different types of hydrogen, and only green hydrogen produced from renewable energy can be zero-emissions fuel, this paper interrogates the commitment of the national hydrogen strategies to achieve decarbonization objectives, focusing on the question “how green are the national hydrogen strategies?” We create a typology of regulatory stringency for green hydrogen in national hydrogen strategies, analyzing the text of these strategies and their supporting policies, and evaluating their regulatory stringency toward decarbonization. Our typology includes four parameters, fossilfuel penalties, hydrogen certifications, innovation enablement, and the temporal dimension of coal phasing out. Following the typology, we categorize the national hydrogen strategies into three groups: zero regulatory stringency, scale first and clean later, and green hydrogen now. We find that most national strategies are of the type “scale first and clean later”, with one or more regulatory measures in place. This article identifies further challenges to enhancing regulatory stringency for green hydrogen at both national and international levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Analyzing the Implementation of Lean Methodologies and Practices in the Portuguese Industry: A Survey
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1929; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031929 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 557
Abstract
The mass production paradigm on which much of the industry was based has changed. The market is increasingly demanding, requesting diversity and products that are more and more adapted to personal wishes and requirements. This implies producing a greater diversity of products in [...] Read more.
The mass production paradigm on which much of the industry was based has changed. The market is increasingly demanding, requesting diversity and products that are more and more adapted to personal wishes and requirements. This implies producing a greater diversity of products in smaller quantities. Competitiveness is enormous, which forces most companies to be truly effective and efficient, taking care of product quality, delivery time, and final cost. Lean methodologies have been a valuable aid in this field. The diversity of Lean tools has been shown to have answers to the most diverse challenges, and companies are aware of this, increasingly adopting methodologies and processes that aim to progressively reduce waste and adapting their production paradigm to what the market requires. This work intends to provide a vision, as global as possible, of the pathway of Lean implementation in the Portuguese industry. For this purpose, a survey was carried out with a significant sample of Portuguese industrial companies from a wide range of activity sectors. The data collected through the survey were treated statistically, and then a SWOT analysis of the results was performed, which provided a collection of precious information on the evolution of industrial companies in Portugal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Production Engineering)
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Article
Empowering Local Practitioners to Collect and Report on Anthropogenic Riverine and Marine Debris Using Inexpensive Methods in India
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1928; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031928 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 668
Abstract
This article includes a review of the literature on marine debris in an Indian context and introduces a replicable, scientific, and inexpensive collection method to build capacity and inform policymakers. We share baseline data resulting from ten cleanups using these methods in India. [...] Read more.
This article includes a review of the literature on marine debris in an Indian context and introduces a replicable, scientific, and inexpensive collection method to build capacity and inform policymakers. We share baseline data resulting from ten cleanups using these methods in India. This method was introduced in a 2019 workshop to train Indian researchers, leading to local-led collections in three states and two Union Territories (8 beaches, 2 riversides) yielding 33,474 individual pieces of debris weighing a total of 599.15 kg. Plastic was the most frequently found material at all ten collection sites, comprising from 45% to 89% of all items found. The research establishes a baseline data collection at ten locations, with debris density at sites ranging from 0.38–3.86 items/m2. Application of the Clean Coast Index yields resulting rankings of moderate (1 site), dirty (2 sites), and extremely dirty (7 sites). Researchers also identified 2461 brands in analysis at six sites, 76% of which were Indian in origin. Replication of the methods in other Indian regions among the community of thirty-three practitioners was below target for collection (41%) and brand audit (8.3%) with 25% of teams sharing data with the community of practitioners and 12.5% sharing results with local policymakers. The analysis indicates debris is overwhelmingly composed of plastic from residential activities. The methods empower practitioners to collect and report on debris, ground-truthing global debris estimates, and illuminating the missing plastic problem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Marine Debris)
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Article
Application of the Perceived Popularity of Sports to Support the Sustainable Management of Sports Organizations
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1927; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031927 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 526
Abstract
The operations of sports organizations must be managed to create value in the long run. This explicit management will support their efficiency, competitiveness, and sustainability. The key concept measured in this study was the popularity of sports. This concept is a pivotal element [...] Read more.
The operations of sports organizations must be managed to create value in the long run. This explicit management will support their efficiency, competitiveness, and sustainability. The key concept measured in this study was the popularity of sports. This concept is a pivotal element in influencing the acquisition of financial contributions for sports organizations (from the state and sponsors) as well as in attracting new members. We conducted an online questionnaire in 2021 focusing on the concept of the perceived popularity of sports in Slovakia. The number of observations was 338, out of the total population of Slovak citizens over the age of 15. We also applied other methods, including content analysis, induction, deduction, comparison, and synthesis analyses. The analysis of the data led to the following findings: in this context, the two most popular sports were hockey and European football; the greatest propensity for fan self-identification was observed for European football, hockey, and basketball; men who indicated a preference for cycling were significantly larger fans of the sport than women; European football and motorsports were almost exclusively preferred by men; skiing, volleyball, and tennis were preferred by women; and basketball was preferred by the youngest respondents. This study aimed to propose recommendations for approaching sustainability, assuming that increasing popularity represents an opportunity to increase a sport organizations’ membership base. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Management)
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Article
A Study on the Incentive Policy of China’s Prefabricated Residential Buildings Based on Evolutionary Game Theory
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1926; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031926 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 615
Abstract
With prefabricated construction method deemed as an effective way to improve the environmental performance and sustainable development of the building industry, it is inevitably adopted in the scaled residence in the process of residential industrialization. However, the development of prefabricated residential buildings is [...] Read more.
With prefabricated construction method deemed as an effective way to improve the environmental performance and sustainable development of the building industry, it is inevitably adopted in the scaled residence in the process of residential industrialization. However, the development of prefabricated residential buildings is still immature under the current market economy system, because the stakeholders involved in the process are not yet able to form a good cooperation mechanism and they are more inclined to keep their own interests. As a result, the market share of prefabricated residential buildings is relatively low. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct research on the stakeholders involved. By analyzing their costs and benefits, the reasons that really impede the population of prefabricated residential buildings can be found. In this paper, incremental cost allocation coefficient is introduced, the incremental cost difference under different assembly rates is considered, and the allocation ratio of the incremental cost input of the prefabricated building is analyzed based on game theory. The evolutionary game theory for government and real estate companies is established under the condition of bounded rationality with consumer participation. Then the effectiveness of the game theory is verified using empirical analysis, so as to provide reference for the authorities to promote the large-scale development of prefabricated residential buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategies for Increasing the Sustainability of the Built Environment)
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Article
Sustaining the Quality of Life for University Employees with Obesity Using Mindfulness Activities and Work Engagement: A Quasi-Experimental Design
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1925; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031925 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 402
Abstract
Using an e-calendar, a web-based intervention program, informal mindfulness activities, and work engagement, this study evaluated the sustainability of the quality of life for staff with obesity at a Malaysian public university. The participants were identified through the human resources department of the [...] Read more.
Using an e-calendar, a web-based intervention program, informal mindfulness activities, and work engagement, this study evaluated the sustainability of the quality of life for staff with obesity at a Malaysian public university. The participants were identified through the human resources department of the university. The inclusion criteria required an age of 20–59 years and BMI ≥ 25. The exclusion criteria were pregnancy, the use of weight loss pills or supplements that can influence weight, chronic illness, and the use of medication that requires physician monitoring. Thirty-one university staff were assessed for quality of life using a within-subject repeated-measures design. The participants were asked to use the study website for 10 to 15 min/day for 36 weeks. Data was captured by a pretest, posttest, and two follow-up surveys. The results showed an increase in the posttest mean scores for all domains representing the quality of life. As expected, three domains increased at follow-up 1 and were maintained at follow-up 2. This suggests that informal mindfulness practices and work engagement using an e-calendar are practical means to increase and sustain the quality of life of employees. In conclusion, the quality of life among university staff with obesity can be improved using informal mindfulness activities and work engagement, and an e-calendar is another alternative method of practicing mindfulness at home and at the workplace. The implications of this study are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Psychology of Sustainability and Sustainable Development)
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Article
Fatal and Serious Injury Rates for Different Travel Modes in Victoria, Australia
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1924; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031924 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 396
Abstract
While absolute injury numbers are widely used as a road safety indicator, they do not fully account for the likelihood of an injury given a certain level of exposure. Adjusting crash and injury rates for travel exposure can measure the magnitude of travel [...] Read more.
While absolute injury numbers are widely used as a road safety indicator, they do not fully account for the likelihood of an injury given a certain level of exposure. Adjusting crash and injury rates for travel exposure can measure the magnitude of travel activity leading to crash outcomes and provide a more comprehensive indicator of safety. Fatal and serious injury (FSI) numbers were adjusted by three measures of travel exposure to estimate crash and injury rates across nine travel modes in the Australian state of Victoria. While car drivers accounted for the highest number of injuries across the three modes, their likelihood of being killed or seriously injured was substantially lower than that of motorcyclists across all exposure measures. Cyclists accounted for fewer injuries than car passengers and pedestrians but had a higher risk per exposure. The results varied by both injury severity and exposure measure. The results of this study will assist with high level transport planning by allowing for the investigation of the changes in travel-related FSI resulting from proposed travel mode shifts driven by safety, environmental reasons or other reasons as part of the holistic goal of transforming the transport system to full compliance with Safe System principles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current and Future Issues in Transportation Safety and Sustainability)
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Article
Circular Economy in the Construction Sector: A Case Study of Santiago de Cali (Colombia)
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1923; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031923 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 736
Abstract
The circular economy, a new paradigm of technological and economic development, is of great importance in developing countries, particularly in the construction sector, one of the most relevant in Colombia. In the Latin American context, Colombia has one of the most important construction [...] Read more.
The circular economy, a new paradigm of technological and economic development, is of great importance in developing countries, particularly in the construction sector, one of the most relevant in Colombia. In the Latin American context, Colombia has one of the most important construction industries, contributing to the social and productive development of the country. However, this sector is also responsible for serious environmental problems and social conflicts. Therefore, it is imperative to work with all actors of the value chain to transform the construction sector from a linear economy to a circular economy model. Therefore, this article describes the circular economy model proposed for Santiago de Cali, which is mainly oriented to the analysis and efficient use of construction materials, mostly taking into account the recovery of ecosystems and the circular flow of rocky materials. This model includes an analysis of the production of construction materials, construction process, use and operation, and completion of the life cycle of buildings and infrastructure. In particular, the model proposes an innovative product portfolio for the use of construction and demolition waste (C&DW) supported in applied research (case studies). The portfolio consists of family products, such as recycled aggregates or eco-aggregates, eco-concretes and mortars, eco-prefabricated products and modules, and smart construction materials. In addition, this model describes the C&DW management system and some characteristics of the Technological and Environmental Park (TEP), the main strategy for C&DW valorization in the city. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Construction and Demolition Waste: Challenges and Opportunities)
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Article
Life Cycle Assessment of the High Performance Discontinuous Fibre (HiPerDiF) Technology and Its Operation in Various Countries
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1922; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031922 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 423
Abstract
Composite waste is a growing issue due to the increased global demand for products manufactured from these advanced engineering materials. Current reclamation methods produce short length fibres that, if not realigned during remanufacture, result in low-value additives for non-structural applications. Consequently, to maximise [...] Read more.
Composite waste is a growing issue due to the increased global demand for products manufactured from these advanced engineering materials. Current reclamation methods produce short length fibres that, if not realigned during remanufacture, result in low-value additives for non-structural applications. Consequently, to maximise the economic and functional potential, fibre realignment must occur. The High Performance Discontinuous Fibre (HiPerDiF) technology is a novel process that produces highly aligned discontinuous fibre-reinforced composites, which largely meet the structural performance of virgin fibres, but to date, the environmental performance of the machine is yet to be quantified. This study assessed the environmental impacts of the operation of the machine using life cycle assessment methodology. Electrical energy consumption accounts for the majority of the greenhouse gas emissions, with water consumption as the main contributor to ecosystem quality damage. Suggestions have been made to reduce energy demand and reuse the water in order to reduce the overall environmental impact. The hypothetical operation of the machine across different European countries was also examined to understand the impacts associated with bulk material transport and electricity from different energy sources. It was observed that the environmental impact showed an inverse correlation with the increased use of renewable sources for electricity generation due to a reduction in air pollutants from fossil fuel combustion. The analysis also revealed that significant reductions in environmental damage from material transport between the reclamation facility to the remanufacturing site should also be accounted for, and concluded that transportation routes predominantly via shipping have a lower environmental impact than road and rail haulage. This study is one of the first attempts to evaluate the environmental impact of this new technology at early conceptual development and to assess how it would operate in a European scenario. Full article
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Article
Research on Reliability of Structural Members Subjected to Snow or Wind Load for Design Working Life of 100 Years in China
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1921; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031921 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 318
Abstract
Various national and international standards for building structures and other common structures specify a design working life of 50 years. Therefore, the statistical parameters of loads and the design expressions in current design codes are also based on a design reference period of [...] Read more.
Various national and international standards for building structures and other common structures specify a design working life of 50 years. Therefore, the statistical parameters of loads and the design expressions in current design codes are also based on a design reference period of 50 years. When the design working life is not 50 years, the variable load adjustment factor for the design working life needs to be considered. The corresponding load adjustment factors of office building live load, residential live load, snow load, and wind load are given in (GB50153-2008), (GB50009-2012), and (GB50068-2018) with different design working life (5, 10, 20, 30, 75 and 100 years), respectively. However, the recommended values presented in these documents are inconsistent and no provisions are found in those specifications for the selection of load design parameters in the design expression, which will result in designers having doubts in choosing design parameters, especially for building structures designed for a working life of 100 years. Using different design parameters in the design expression, the implied reliability level of the members with a design working life of 100 years was clarified in the paper. Furthermore, guidance for the specification in actual design is provided. For structural members designed for working life of 100 years, 14 representative structural members were selected to calculate their partial factors of resistance. Considering two simple combinations (dead load and wind load, dead load and snow load) and common load effect ratios, the reliability analysis of each member are carried out according to the load partial factors in China’s old and new codes. The study indicated that the structural importance coefficient of 1.1 needs to be taken in the design expression to increase all the load effects on the structural members designed for 100 years. The basic wind pressure and snow pressure should be taken with a return period of 100 years and the variable load adjustment factor for the design working life should not be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reliability and Optimization for Engineering Design)
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Article
Critical Analysis for Life Cycle Assessment of Bio-Cementitious Materials Production and Sustainable Solutions
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1920; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031920 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 479
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to study the life cycle assessment of biocementitious materials production in comparison to traditional cement materials production. The environmental impact of production processes over the life cycle was evaluated on the basis of global warming and ozone [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to study the life cycle assessment of biocementitious materials production in comparison to traditional cement materials production. The environmental impact of production processes over the life cycle was evaluated on the basis of global warming and ozone depletion, human health, land, freshwater, marine ecotoxicity, and natural water system eutrophication. LCA uses endpoint methods (ECO indicators) and SimaPro 8 software to assess the health and environmental impact of raw materials used in the production process, including cement, Ca(NO3)2·4H2O, urea, molasses, and electricity. The results showed that cement materials made 82.88% of the world’s warming in all raw materials used in production processes, 87.24% of the world’s health, 89.54% of the deforestation of freshwater, and 30.48% to marine eutrophication. Ca(NO3)2·4H2O contributes by 58.88% to ozone depletion, 15.37 to human carcinogenic toxicity, 3.19% to freshwater eutrophication, and 11.76% to marine eutrophication. In contrast, urea contributes 38.15% to marine eutrophication and 5.25% to freshwater eutrophication. Molasses contribute by 13.77% to marine eutrophication. Cement contributes 74.27% to human health damage, 79.36% to ecosystem damage; Ca(NO3)2·4H2O contributes 13.54% to human health damage and 9.99% to ecosystem damage; while urea contributes 6.5% to human health damage and 5.91% to ecosystem damage. Bio-cementitious wastewater should undergo a treatment process to remove urea and molasses residues, as well as nitrates, before final disposal into the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Article
Adapting Darnton’s Nine Principles Framework for Behaviour Change: The UK Upcycling Case Study
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1919; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031919 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 405
Abstract
Design practitioners and academics have increasingly recognised the potential value of design for behaviour change. On the one hand, while existing studies address product or communication design as main interventions, there is a growing interest in design as a useful tool for policy [...] Read more.
Design practitioners and academics have increasingly recognised the potential value of design for behaviour change. On the one hand, while existing studies address product or communication design as main interventions, there is a growing interest in design as a useful tool for policy development and service innovation. On the other hand, the interplay between social research, design, and policy development in behaviour intervention is not a new concept or practice, yet studies to suggest and evaluate particular general approaches to policy and design interventions are relatively new and rare. To fill this knowledge gap, this paper adapts Darnton’s Nine Principles framework as one promising generic approach, demonstrates how the adapted framework can be applied to the upcycling case study in the UK and evaluates the usefulness of the adapted framework. The study results show that the adapted framework is useful for exploring behaviour and developing interventions in small-scale, exploratory studies, and that it can be applied to other behaviour domains and contexts. The main contribution of this paper is the demonstration of the potential of Darnton’s original and adapted frameworks as a promising general approach useful for policy and design interventions. Full article
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Article
Behavior of RC Beam–Column Joints Strengthened with Modified Reinforcement Techniques
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1918; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031918 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 417
Abstract
Using a significant number of transverse hoops in the joint’s core is one recognized way for achieving the requirements of strength, stiffness, and ductility under dynamic loading in a column joint. The shear capacity of a joint is influenced by the concrete’s compressive [...] Read more.
Using a significant number of transverse hoops in the joint’s core is one recognized way for achieving the requirements of strength, stiffness, and ductility under dynamic loading in a column joint. The shear capacity of a joint is influenced by the concrete’s compressive strength, the anchoring of longitudinal beam reinforcement, the number of stirrups in the joint, and the junction’s aspect ratio. Seismic motion on the beam may produce shear capacity and bond breaking in the joint, causing the joint to fracture. Furthermore, due to inadequate joint design and details, the entire structure is jeopardized. In this study, the specimens were divided into two groups for corner and interior beam–column joints based on the joint reinforcement detailing. The controlled specimen has joint detailing as per IS 456:2000, and the strengthened specimen has additional diagonal cross bars (modified reinforcement technique) at the joints detailed as per IS 456:200. The displacement time history curve, load-displacement response curves, load-displacement hysteretic curve, and load cycle vs. shear stress were used to compare the results of the controlled and strengthened specimens. The findings show that adding diagonal cross bars (modified reinforcing techniques) to beam–column joints exposed to cyclic loads enhances their performance. The inclusion of a diagonal cross bar increased the stiffness of the joint by giving an additional mechanism for shear transfer and ductility, as well as greater strength with minimum cracks. Full article
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Article
A-SHIP: Ontology-Based Adaptive Sustainable Healthcare Insurance Policy
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1917; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031917 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 436
Abstract
Healthcare has a significant impact on human capital anywhere. Countries usually allocate financial resources to manage healthcare, which might impose a substantial financial burden on the scope of healthcare coverage. Thus, the healthcare sector must provide the best possible services at the lowest [...] Read more.
Healthcare has a significant impact on human capital anywhere. Countries usually allocate financial resources to manage healthcare, which might impose a substantial financial burden on the scope of healthcare coverage. Thus, the healthcare sector must provide the best possible services at the lowest cost. This significant challenge can only be achieved through applying appropriate policies and technologies, including those used by healthcare insurance policy providers. This paper proposes an innovative, customer-centric, sustainable healthcare insurance policy model. The main objective of this model is to sustain wellness by applying technologies to avoid illness and provide wellbeing for patients by empowering self-care remotely. The proposed solution uses an adaptive ontology-based knowledge management system to satisfy customers and market needs. The proposed system creates a customized policy that consists of various packages to match customers’ healthcare needs based on their health status. The system was tested and validated using a real dataset. Full article
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Article
Study of CZTSSe-Based Solar Cells with Different ETMs by SCAPS
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1916; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031916 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 552
Abstract
Third-generation thin-film solar cells based on CZTSSe are highly promising because of their excellent optoelectrical properties, earth-abundant, and non-toxicity of their constituent elements. In this work, the performance of CZTSSe-based solar cells with TiO2, CdS, and ZnSe as electron transporting materials [...] Read more.
Third-generation thin-film solar cells based on CZTSSe are highly promising because of their excellent optoelectrical properties, earth-abundant, and non-toxicity of their constituent elements. In this work, the performance of CZTSSe-based solar cells with TiO2, CdS, and ZnSe as electron transporting materials (ETMs) was numerically investigated using the Solar Cell Capacitance Simulator (SCAPS). The effect of the active layer’s thickness and electron affinity, different buffer layers, and the contour plot of the operating temperature versus thickness of the CdS buffer layer were studied. The results show that the optimum power conversion efficiency for CdS, TiO2, and ZnSe, as the ETMs, is 23.16%, 23.13%, and 22.42%, respectively. Full article
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Article
Forest Education with the Use of Educational Infrastructure in the Opinion of the Public-Experience from Poland
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1915; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031915 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 459
Abstract
In Poland, informal forest education is carried out mostly on forest educational paths, equipped with educational boards. Due to the diverse audience, an attempt was made to assess the elements supporting forest education from the perspective of forest users. The aim of the [...] Read more.
In Poland, informal forest education is carried out mostly on forest educational paths, equipped with educational boards. Due to the diverse audience, an attempt was made to assess the elements supporting forest education from the perspective of forest users. The aim of the study is to determine the basic criteria that, in the opinion of path users, determine the use, attractiveness, and importance of educational boards in education. In an anonymous questionnaire, 504 people participated during meetings with an educator on paths in forests of the Regional Directorate of the State Forests in Lublin. In the opinion of trail users, boards are not an important element that should be present on educational trails; in their opinion, they moderately support informal forest education activities. Users generally paid attention to between one to two or three to four boards. The attractiveness of the boards is determined by the graphics of the whole board. Respondents would also prefer boards on which information is presented in graphical rather than text form. Our study indicates a somewhat negative perception of educational boards in forest education, which has prompted the authors to conduct further research in order to clarify forest users’ perceptions of the issues analyzed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Forest Education)
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Article
The Impact of the Neophyte Tree Fraxinus pennsylvanica [Marshall] on Beetle Diversity under Climate Change
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1914; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031914 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 851
Abstract
We studied the impact of the neophyte tree Fraxinus pennsylvanica on the diversity of beetles in floodplain forests along the river Elbe in Germany in 2016, 2017 and in 2020, where 80% of all Fraxinus excelsior trees had died following severe droughts. Beetles [...] Read more.
We studied the impact of the neophyte tree Fraxinus pennsylvanica on the diversity of beetles in floodplain forests along the river Elbe in Germany in 2016, 2017 and in 2020, where 80% of all Fraxinus excelsior trees had died following severe droughts. Beetles were collected by insecticidal knock-down from 121 trees (64 F. excelsior and 57 F. pennsylvanica) and identified to 547 species in 15,214 specimens. The trees sampled in 2016 and 2017 showed no signs of drought stress or ash dieback and serve as a reference for the comparison with the 2020 fauna. The data proved that F. excelsior harbours the most diverse beetle community, which differed also significantly in guild composition from F. pennsylvanica. Triggered by extremely dry and long summer seasons, the 2020 ash dieback had profound and forest-wide impacts. Several endangered, red-listed beetle species of Saxonia Anhalt had increased in numbers and became secondary pests on F. excelsior. Diversity decreased whilst numbers of xylobionts increased on all trees, reaching 78% on F. excelsior. Proportions of xylobionts remained constant on F. pennsylvanica. Phytophages were almost absent from all trees, but mycetophages increased on F. pennsylvanica. Our data suggest that as a result of the dieback of F. excelsior the neophyte F. pennsylvanica might become a rescue species for the European Ash fauna, as it provides the second-best habitat. We show how difficult it is to assess the dynamics and the ecological impact of neophytes, especially under conditions similar to those projected by climate change models. The diversity and abundance of canopy arthropods demonstrates their importance in understanding forest functions and maintenance of ecosystem services, illustrating that their consideration is essential for forest adaptation to climate change. Full article
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Article
Analysis of the Dialogue with Stakeholders by the IBEX 35 Companies
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1913; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031913 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 387
Abstract
Stakeholder dialogue is considered a key component of companies’ corporate social responsibility strategy with the aim to discover stakeholders’ demands, expectations, and their view of the firms. Based on the stakeholder theory, this paper aims to deepen the knowledge about stakeholder dialogue by [...] Read more.
Stakeholder dialogue is considered a key component of companies’ corporate social responsibility strategy with the aim to discover stakeholders’ demands, expectations, and their view of the firms. Based on the stakeholder theory, this paper aims to deepen the knowledge about stakeholder dialogue by analyzing how firms conduct the dialogue with five key stakeholder groups (i.e., employees, customers, suppliers, investors and shareholders, and the community). Using a sample of 35 leading Spanish companies and, after the collection and processing of the information available in their corporate websites and reports, we have determined the channels that are used, the pursued objectives, and the main commitments achieved. The results indicate that firms are engaged in several forms of dialogue with stakeholders and use various channels which differ depending on the targeted stakeholder group. We gain insight into the initiatives with which companies engage with stakeholders, the underlying interactions, and how each stakeholder group views and assesses the firm. Practical implications for policy makers and managers, as well as future lines of research are proposed. Full article
Article
Awareness of Citizens for the Single-Use Plastics: Comparison between a High-Income and an Upper-Middle-Income Economy of the Easter Mediterranean Region, Greece and Lebanon
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1912; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031912 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 475
Abstract
Plastics have become an integral part of daily human life for the last 50 years because, due to their durability, low cost and ease of construction, they have replaced many other materials. However, the same characteristics that make plastics particularly desirable are also [...] Read more.
Plastics have become an integral part of daily human life for the last 50 years because, due to their durability, low cost and ease of construction, they have replaced many other materials. However, the same characteristics that make plastics particularly desirable are also what make them ubiquitous in the environment, especially as much of the plastic is designed to be discarded almost immediately after use. This study investigates the opinion and behavior concerning the current use of plastics, their end-of-life (recycling) scenario, and the potential for their replacement with more sustainable and biodegradable materials in Greece and Lebanon. The survey was conducted during April and May 2021 in the main cities of the two countries. The data were collected using a structured questionnaire. The questionnaires were analyzed, using simple descriptive statistics, chi-square test and PCA analysis. The results show that even if the respondents of both countries stated significant awareness of environmental issues, they often use single-use plastics. Furthermore, the respondents (in both Greece and Lebanon) say that it would be fair to pay more for products in a package made of biodegradable materials. Finally, the statistical analysis of the results shows that in both Greece and Lebanon, there is a small increase in the use of reusable products during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to before the pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Waste Management)
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Article
Fresh Air–Natural Microclimate Comfort Index: A New Tourism Climate Index Applied in Chinese Scenic Spots
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1911; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031911 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 383
Abstract
Severe air pollution in China has caused significant tourism transformation for pursuing fresh air in microclimate tourism markets. Contemporary practices simply measure the air freshness of destinations and scenic spots using a single index, i.e., primarily negative oxygen ions (O2). [...] Read more.
Severe air pollution in China has caused significant tourism transformation for pursuing fresh air in microclimate tourism markets. Contemporary practices simply measure the air freshness of destinations and scenic spots using a single index, i.e., primarily negative oxygen ions (O2). This index cannot comprehensively reveal scenic spots’ air freshness degree and determine the dynamic interactions between air freshness and scenic spots’ tourism development, thus inducing an illusion of air freshness for the target scenic spots. Meanwhile, the current fresh air index primarily ignores connections with the microclimate index of scenic spots and cannot provide a multidimensional index for scenic spots to take advantage of both air and microclimate resources for diverse tourism products and service production. Therefore, this study proposes a multidimensional index, the fresh air–natural microclimate comfort index (FAI-NMCI), connecting the fresh air index with the natural microclimate comfort index of scenic spots together from transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspectives. This study utilizes FAI-NMCI to measure four scenic spots of Fujian Province, and reveals in-depth results of scenic spots’ air freshness and natural microclimate comfort degree together. The results demonstrate that the four scenic spots in Fujian province of China had different levels of air freshness degree and natural microclimate comfort degree in 2018. The natural scenic spots were mostly distributed in Healing Fresh, Very Fresh, and Super Fresh levels of FAI with the most comfortable and comfortable levels of NMCI. The cultural scenic spots were mostly distributed in Relatively Fresh and Healing Fresh levels of FAI with the most comfortable and comfortable levels of NMCI. Meanwhile, the FAI-NMCI of natural and cultural scenic spots also had significant differences within 24 Jieqi, which will promote dynamic and creative utilization of those resources in microclimate tourism development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability with Changing Climate and Extremes)
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Article
A Comprehensive Risk-Assessment Method for Prefabricated Buildings Using EPC: A Case Study from China
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1910; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031910 - 08 Feb 2022
Viewed by 503
Abstract
The prefabricated building has been proven to be an effective approach for enhancing the sustainability of the construction industry. In recent years, the Chinese government has promulgated a series of policy documents to promote the advancement of prefabricated buildings. However, in practice, there [...] Read more.
The prefabricated building has been proven to be an effective approach for enhancing the sustainability of the construction industry. In recent years, the Chinese government has promulgated a series of policy documents to promote the advancement of prefabricated buildings. However, in practice, there are still numerous problems related to design, production, and construction, as well as the coordination between various stages. This study aimed to fill the gap in research regarding the application of EPC (Engineering–Procurement–Construction) in prefabricated buildings in China. As most of the risks of projects are borne by general contractors in the EPC mode, the risks faced by prefabricated building projects using EPC were systematically analyzed in this study from the perspective of general contractors. After learning about the risks of assembly construction in different countries, this study conducted a questionnaire survey to establish an evaluation system, and a comprehensive evaluation method was put forward to determine the weight of each indicator. Furthermore, an evaluation model based on grey–fuzzy theory was developed in this study, which was applied to a real project in Nanjing, China. The results indicated the applicability of the established evaluation system and model and determined the risk level of the project. Additionally, in this case study, it was found that construction and design were the major factors determining the risk level of the project. This study contributes to the body of knowledge regarding the integration of EPC in prefabricated buildings, which has practical application value for general contractors when conducting risk assessments. Full article
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