Topical Collection "Advanced Methodologies for Sustainability Assessment: Theory and Practice"

Editor

Dr. Fausto Cavallaro
Website
Collection Editor
Department of Economics, University of Molise, Italy
Interests: renewable energy; multi-criteria; fuzzy set; sustainability; technology assessment
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

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

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

Topics of interest include current research about applications of sustainability measurement in the following area:

  1. Multi-criteria, analytic network process;
  2. Fuzzy set, Fuzzy inference, Fuzzy multicriteria;
  3. Soft computing: Neuro-fuzzy, Neural net, Algorithm genetics, evolution algorithms particle swarm optimization (PSO), chaos theory;
  4. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  5. Hybrid models: LCA+multi-criteria, LCA+Fuzzy-sets, LCA+Algoritm genetics, Footprint+fuzzy inference, Carbon footprint+ fuzzy-sets, others hybrids models;
  6. Dynamic Systems;
  7. Montecarlo analysis, mathematical programming and goal programming;
  8. Other advanced modeling of environmental sustainability

Dr. Fausto Cavallaro
Collection Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

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

Published Papers (33 papers)

2020

Jump to: 2019, 2018, 2017

Open AccessArticle
Pythagorean Fuzzy SWARA–VIKOR Framework for Performance Evaluation of Solar Panel Selection
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4278; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104278 - 22 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The age of industrialization and modernization has increased energy demands globally. Solar energy has been recognized as an inexhaustible source of energy and has been applied for desalination and electricity generation. Among different non-conventional energy resources, Solar Energy (SE) is one of the [...] Read more.
The age of industrialization and modernization has increased energy demands globally. Solar energy has been recognized as an inexhaustible source of energy and has been applied for desalination and electricity generation. Among different non-conventional energy resources, Solar Energy (SE) is one of the main contributors to the global energy system. A photovoltaic system (PS) is applied to produce SE using photovoltaic cells. The selection of a solar panel includes many intricate factors involving both subjective and quantifiable parameters; therefore, it can be regarded as a complex Multi-Criteria Decision-Making (MCDM) problem. As the uncertainty commonly occurs in the selection of an ideal solar panel, the theory of Pythagorean fuzzy sets has been proven as one of the flexible and superior tools to deal with the uncertainty and ambiguity that arise in real-life applications. The aim of the study is to present an MCDM framework for solving the Solar Panel Selection (SPS) problem within the Pythagorean fuzzy (PF) environment. For this, first, a new integrated method is proposed based on the Stepwise Weight Assessment Ratio Analysis (SWARA) and VlseKriterijumska Optimizcija I Kaompromisno Resenje (VIKOR) approaches in the Pythagorean fuzzy sets (PFSs) context. In the proposed approach, subjective weights of the evaluation criteria are calculated by the SWARA method, and the preference order of alternatives is decided by the VIKOR method in the PF context. The criteria weights evaluated by this approach involve the imprecision of experts’ opinions, which makes them more comprehensible. The computational procedure of the proposed methodology is established through a case study of the SPS problem under PF environment, which proves the applicability and efficiency of the proposed method. Furthermore, this study performs sensitivity analysis to reveal the stability of the developed framework. This analysis signifies that the solar panel option R4 constantly secures its highest ranking despite how the parameter values vary. In addition, a comparative study is discussed to analyze the validity of the obtained result. The results show that the proposed approach is more efficient and applicable with previously developed methods in the PFS environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Total Factor Energy Efficiency, Carbon Emission Efficiency, and Technology Gap: Evidence from Sub-Industries of Anhui Province in China
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1402; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041402 - 14 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The phenomena of “large energy consumption, high carbon emission, and serious environmental pollution” are against the goals of “low energy consumption, low emissions” in China’s industrial sector. The key to solving the problem lies in improving total factor energy efficiency (TFEE) and carbon [...] Read more.
The phenomena of “large energy consumption, high carbon emission, and serious environmental pollution” are against the goals of “low energy consumption, low emissions” in China’s industrial sector. The key to solving the problem lies in improving total factor energy efficiency (TFEE) and carbon emission efficiency (TFCE). Considering the heterogeneity of different sub-industries, this paper proposes a three-stage global meta-frontier slacks-based measure (GMSBM) method for measuring TFEE and TFCE, as well as the technology gap by combining meta-frontier technology with slacks-based measure (SBM) using data envelopment analysis (DEA). DEA can effectively avoid the situation where the technology gap ratio (TGR) is larger than unity. This paper uses the three-stage method to empirically analyze TFEE and TFCE of Anhui’s 38 industrial sub-industries in China from 2012 to 2016. The main findings are as follows: (1) Anhui’s industrial sector has low TFEE and TFCE, which has great potential for improvement. (2) TFEE and TFCE of light industry are lower than those of heavy industry under group-frontier, while they are higher than those of heavy industry under meta-frontier. There is a big gap in TFEE and TFCE among sub-industries of light industry. Narrowing the gap among different sub-industries of light industry is conducive to the overall improvement in TFEE and TFCE. (3) The TGR of light industry is significantly higher than that of heavy industry, indicating that there are sub-industries with the most advanced energy use and carbon emission technologies in light industry. And there is a bigger carbon-emitting technology gap in heavy industry, so it needs to encourage technology spillover from light industry to heavy industry. (4) The total performance loss of industrial sub-industries in Anhui mainly comes from management inefficiency, so it is necessary to improve management and operational ability. Based on the findings, some policy implications are proposed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation Indexes and Correlation Analysis of Origination–Destination Travel Time of Nanjing Metro Based on Complex Network Method
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1113; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031113 - 04 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The information level of the urban public transport system is constantly improving, which promotes the use of smart cards by passengers. The OD (origination–destination) travel time of passengers reflects the temporal and spatial distribution of passenger flow. It is helpful to improve the [...] Read more.
The information level of the urban public transport system is constantly improving, which promotes the use of smart cards by passengers. The OD (origination–destination) travel time of passengers reflects the temporal and spatial distribution of passenger flow. It is helpful to improve the flow efficiency of passengers and the sustainable development of the city. It is an urgent problem to select appropriate indexes to evaluate OD travel time and analyze the correlation of these indexes. More than one million OD records are generated by the AFC (Auto Fare Collection) system of Nanjing metro every day. A complex network method is proposed to evaluate and analyze OD travel time. Five working days swiping data of Nanjing metro are selected. Firstly, inappropriate data are filtered through data preprocessing. Then, the OD travel time indexes can be divided into three categories: time index, complex network index, and composite index. Time index includes use time probability, passenger flow between stations, average time between stations, and time variance between stations. The complex network index is based on two models: Space P and ride time, including the minimum number of rides, and the shortest ride time. Composite indicators include inter site flow efficiency and network flow efficiency. Based on the complex network model, this research quantitatively analyzes the Pearson correlation of the indexes of OD travel time. This research can be applied to other public transport modes in combination with big data of public smart cards. This will improve the flow efficiency of passengers and optimize the layout of the subway network and urban space. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Showcasing Relationships between Neighborhood Design and Wellbeing Toronto Indicators
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 997; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030997 - 30 Jan 2020
Abstract
Cities are the keystone landscape features for achieving sustainability locally, regionally, and globally. With the increasing impacts of urban expansion eminent, policymakers have encouraged researchers to advance or invent methods for managing coupled human–environmental systems associated with local and regional sustainable development planning. [...] Read more.
Cities are the keystone landscape features for achieving sustainability locally, regionally, and globally. With the increasing impacts of urban expansion eminent, policymakers have encouraged researchers to advance or invent methods for managing coupled human–environmental systems associated with local and regional sustainable development planning. Although progress has been made, there remains no universal instrument for attaining sustainability on neither regional nor local planning scales. Previous sustainable urbanization studies have revealed that landscape configuration metrics can supplement other measures of urban well-being, yet few have been included in public data dashboards or contrasted against local well-being indicators. To advance this sector of sustainable development planning, this study had three main intentions: (1) to produce a foundational suite of landscape ecology metrics from the 2007 land cover dataset for the City of Toronto; (2) to visualize and interpret spatial patterns of neighborhood streetscape patch cohesion index (COHESION), Shannon’s diversity index (SHDI), and four Wellbeing Toronto indicators across the 140 Toronto neighborhoods; (3) to quantitatively assess the global collinearity and local explanatory power of the well-being and landscape measures showcased in this study. One-hundred-and-thirty landscape ecology metrics were computed: 18 class configuration metrics across seven land cover categories and four landscape diversity metrics. Anselin Moran’s I-test was used to illustrate significant spatial patterns of well-being and landscape indicators; Pearson’s correlation and conditional autoregressive (CAR) statistics were used to evaluate relationships between them. Spatial “hot-spots” and/or “cold-spots” were found in all streetscape variables. Among other interesting results, Walk Score® was negatively related to both tree canopy and grass/shrub connectedness, signifying its lack of consideration for the quality of ecosystem services and environmental public health—and subsequently happiness—during its proximity assessment of socioeconomic amenities. In sum, landscape ecology metrics can provide cost-effective ecological integrity addendum to existing and future urban resilience, sustainable development, and well-being monitoring programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Algorithm Selection for Edge Detection in Satellite Images by Neutrosophic WASPAS Method
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 548; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020548 - 10 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Nowadays, integrated land management is generally governed by the principles of sustainability. Land use management usually is grounded in satellite image information. The detection and monitoring of areas of interest in satellite images is a difficult task. We propose a new methodology for [...] Read more.
Nowadays, integrated land management is generally governed by the principles of sustainability. Land use management usually is grounded in satellite image information. The detection and monitoring of areas of interest in satellite images is a difficult task. We propose a new methodology for the adaptive selection of edge detection algorithms using visual features of satellite images and the multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) method. It is not trivial to select the most appropriate method for the chosen satellite images as there is no proper algorithm for all cases as it depends on many factors, like acquisition and content of the raster images, visual features of real-world images, and humans’ visual perception. The edge detection algorithms were ranked according to their suitability for the appropriate satellite images using the neutrosophic weighted aggregated sum product assessment (WASPAS) method. The results obtained using the created methodology were verified with results acquired in an alternative way—using the edge detection algorithms for specific images. This methodology facilitates the selection of a proper edge detector for the chosen image content. Full article
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2019

Jump to: 2020, 2018, 2017

Open AccessArticle
Urban Expansion and Growth Boundaries in an Oasis City in an Arid Region: A Case Study of Jiayuguan City, China
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010210 - 25 Dec 2019
Abstract
China is undergoing rapid urbanization, which has caused undesirable urban sprawl and ecological deterioration. Urban growth boundaries (UGBs) are an effective measure to restrict the irrational urban sprawl and protect the green space. However, the delimiting method and control measures of the UGBs [...] Read more.
China is undergoing rapid urbanization, which has caused undesirable urban sprawl and ecological deterioration. Urban growth boundaries (UGBs) are an effective measure to restrict the irrational urban sprawl and protect the green space. However, the delimiting method and control measures of the UGBs is at the exploratory stage in China. In this paper, a cellular automata model based on multi-criteria evaluation (MCE-CA) was proposed to delimit the UGBs. The MCE-CA model considers influencing factors related to urban growth and generates UGBs based on spatiotemporally dynamic simulations. The MCE-CA model was applied to generate the UGBs of Jiayuguan City in 2020 and 2030, the results show that the simulation accuracy is higher than 0.8 and the compactness increases to 0.23, which demonstrates that the MCE-CA model is an effective model for delimiting UGBs. Moreover, the MCE-CA model can corporate the contradiction between environmental protection and urban development, promoting urban smart growth and sustainable development. UGBs is an effective tool for China to realize ecological civilization construction and improve the spatial governance ability, and the MCE-CA model can be used to assist planners in delimiting future UGBs, this study provides a methodological reference for future research of UGBs in Chinese cities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Green Supplier Evaluation and Selection with an Extended MABAC Method Under the Heterogeneous Information Environment
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6616; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236616 - 22 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
With the increasing awareness of global environmental protection, green production has become a significant part for enterprises to remain in a competitive position. For a manufacturing company, selecting the most suitable green supplier plays an important role in enhancing its green production performance. [...] Read more.
With the increasing awareness of global environmental protection, green production has become a significant part for enterprises to remain in a competitive position. For a manufacturing company, selecting the most suitable green supplier plays an important role in enhancing its green production performance. In this paper, we develop a new green supplier evaluation and selection model through the combination of heterogeneous criteria information and an extended multi-attributive border approximation area comparison (MABAC) method. Considering the complexity of decision context, heterogeneous information, including real numbers, interval numbers, trapezoidal fuzzy numbers, and linguistic hesitant fuzzy sets, is utilized to evaluate alternative suppliers with respect to the selected criteria. A maximizing consensus approach is constructed to determine the weight of each decision-maker based on incomplete weighting information. Then, the classical MABAC method is modified for ranking candidate green suppliers under the heterogeneous information environment. Finally, the developed green supplier selection model is applied in a case study from the automobile industry to illustrate its practicability and efficiency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Dynamic Decision Making Method Based on GM(1,1) Model with Pythagorean Fuzzy Numbers for Selecting Waste Disposal Enterprises
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5557; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205557 - 09 Oct 2019
Abstract
With the rapid development of society and the economy, most cities have to face a serious problem of “Garbage Siege”. The garbage classification is imperative because the traditional disposal method for household solid waste is not suitable for this situation. The Chinese government [...] Read more.
With the rapid development of society and the economy, most cities have to face a serious problem of “Garbage Siege”. The garbage classification is imperative because the traditional disposal method for household solid waste is not suitable for this situation. The Chinese government proposed a public private partnership (PPP) style to increase the efficiency of garbage disposal in 2013. An effective method to evaluate the waste disposal enterprises is essential to choose suitable ones. A reasonable evaluation method should consider enterprises’ performance not only now but also in the future. This paper aims to propose a dynamic decision making method to evaluate the enterprises’ performance based on a GM(1,1) model and regret theory with Pythagorean fuzzy numbers (PFNs). First, we proposed a GM(1,1) model for predicting score function of PFNs. Then, we put forward a method to obtain the prediction of grey degree using OWA operator. Based on the prediction of score function and grey degree, we established a novel GM(1,1) model of PFNs. Furthermore, we utilized the grey incidence method to obtain the criteria weights with Pythagorean fuzzy information. We used the regret theory to aggregate information and rank the alternatives. Finally, we applied our proposed method to solve the selecting waste disposal enterprises problem in Shanghai. By the case study we can obtain that our method is effective to solve this problem. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Improved Indicator System for Evaluating the Progress of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Sub-Target 9.1 in County Level
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4783; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174783 - 02 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In order to assess the progress of the SDG sub-target 9.1 at the county level, the SDG indicator 9.1.1 (rural access index) and 9.1.2 (passenger and freight volumes) were implemented in Deqing County, China to explore the fitness-for-purpose of these indicators for county [...] Read more.
In order to assess the progress of the SDG sub-target 9.1 at the county level, the SDG indicator 9.1.1 (rural access index) and 9.1.2 (passenger and freight volumes) were implemented in Deqing County, China to explore the fitness-for-purpose of these indicators for county level evaluations. It is found that the country-oriented indicator system has some localization problems and cannot fully reflect the connotation of the SDG sub-target 9.1 when used in the county level. An improved indicator system was built by modifying the SDG indicator 9.1.1 and adding three more indicators (namely the road density, accessibility, and total postal business). The analysis of the calculation process and results showed that the improved indicator system can solve the problems arising from the original SDG indicator when applied in the county level. The modified resident access index can eliminate the dependence of the original indicator 9.1.1 calculations on urban-rural boundary data, and takes into account the urban vulnerable groups such as urban villages residents. While the road density and accessibility can be used to measure the quantity, quality, and connectivity of the road and the reality of the residents to obtain the road, which enables the indicators to reflect the necessary details of the level of the transportation infrastructure construction. The total postal business can help the SDG indicator 9.1.2 reflect the relationship between the transportation infrastructure construction and the development of the economic and people’s livelihood. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Drought Risk Assessment and Estimation in Vulnerable Eco-Regions of China: Under the Background of Climate Change
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4463; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164463 - 18 Aug 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Drought risk analysis can help improve disaster management techniques, thereby reducing potential drought risk under the impacts of climate change. This study analyses observed and model-simulated spatial patterns of changes in drought risk in vulnerable eco-regions in China during 1988–2017 and 2020–2050 using [...] Read more.
Drought risk analysis can help improve disaster management techniques, thereby reducing potential drought risk under the impacts of climate change. This study analyses observed and model-simulated spatial patterns of changes in drought risk in vulnerable eco-regions in China during 1988–2017 and 2020–2050 using an analytic hierarchy process (AHP) method. To perform a risk assessment and estimation of a drought disaster, three subsystems—namely hazard, vulnerability and exposure—are assessed in terms of the effects of climate change since the middle of the 21st century: (i) Hazards, represented by climate anomalies related to the drought process, such as changes in rainfall averages, temperature averages and evaporation averages; (ii) vulnerability, encompassing land use and mutual transposition between them; (iii) exposure, consisting of socioeconomic, demographic, and farming. The results demonstrated that high hazards continue to be located in the arid zone, high vulnerability levels occur in the Junggar Basin and Inner Mongolia Plateau, and high exposure levels occur Loess Plateau and southern coastal area. In this way, the results provide exhaustive measures for proactive drought risk management and mitigation strategies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Proposal for a Decision-Making Tool in Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Provider Selection Based on Multi-Criteria Analysis and the Fuzzy Approach
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4236; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154236 - 05 Aug 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The selection of a third-party logistics (3PL) provider is an important and demanding task for many companies and organizations dealing with distribution activities. To assist in decision making, this paper proposes the implementation of fuzzy logic. To design a fuzzy inference system (FIS), [...] Read more.
The selection of a third-party logistics (3PL) provider is an important and demanding task for many companies and organizations dealing with distribution activities. To assist in decision making, this paper proposes the implementation of fuzzy logic. To design a fuzzy inference system (FIS), the first prerequisite is to determine a set of evaluation criteria and sub-criteria and to find the relationship between them. This task was solved by an extensive review of the literature and expert opinions on implementing the Fuzzy Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) approach. The results obtained in the first part of the research, together with data collected from 20 3PL providers, were further used in the second part, which was related to the implementation of the Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) method. Finally, a decision-making tool for 3PL provider selection was designed as an FIS structure, where the inputs were the previously defined criteria and the output was a preference for 3PL selection. The fuzzy rules were generated on the basis of the collected empirical data, the preferences obtained by the TOPSIS method, and expert opinion using the Wang–Mendel method. The proposed fuzzy model is particularly suitable when input data are not crisp values but are provided descriptively through linguistic statements. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Transformational Leadership, Systems, and Intrinsic Motivation Impacts on Innovation in Higher Education Institutes: Faculty Perspectives in Engineering Colleges
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4072; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154072 - 28 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Learning institutes are unique places for innovation, technical transformations, and social changes, which are the main pillars for sustainable development. The purpose of this study was to examine the innovation capacity building through the impact of transformational leadership on followers’ satisfaction and output [...] Read more.
Learning institutes are unique places for innovation, technical transformations, and social changes, which are the main pillars for sustainable development. The purpose of this study was to examine the innovation capacity building through the impact of transformational leadership on followers’ satisfaction and output in two engineering colleges: one in a public university in the United States and the other in an International Branch Campus in Qatar. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire was used to assess leadership style, and three output indicators were chosen to represent innovative outputs. Innovation-driven systems and Intrinsic motivation were other innovation drivers assessed through the designed survey. The Statistical Package of Social Science was used to identify the correlated constructs of leadership styles and outcomes. The explanatory sequential mixed method helped explain the underlying reasons for the quantitative results through interviews with faculty. The study showed that leaders (deans) exhibited different ranges of transformational leadership styles, yet were lower than the norm. Moreover, transformational leadership traits, in addition to contingent rewards from transactional leadership, were highly correlated with followers’ satisfaction with the leader and the system. As this was a cross-cultural study, context affected the participation rate and response results, as hesitation to evaluate the dean was common in a high power–distance context. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Balance of Individual and Infrastructure Values in Decisions Regarding Advanced Science and Technology
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3385; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123385 - 19 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
A country’s scientific technology policy rarely reflects public opinion. In this study, we created a hierarchical model of societal well-being, comprising five value components for both individual and infrastructure well-being, to analyze the balance among these values. We conducted a survey in two [...] Read more.
A country’s scientific technology policy rarely reflects public opinion. In this study, we created a hierarchical model of societal well-being, comprising five value components for both individual and infrastructure well-being, to analyze the balance among these values. We conducted a survey in two stages; first, both individual and infrastructure well-being were investigated, and then the weights between pairs of value categories composing individual and infrastructure well-being were scored to assess which categories were most important. The analysis of the first stage used the score magnitudes, while that of the second stage used the analytic hierarchy process. The results showed that people value individual well-being more than infrastructure well-being. For both types of well-being, values related to the economy and safety were ranked as more important than the other values, but the weights were distributed over all value components. For individual well-being, the most important value category was the one related to safety, while for infrastructure well-being, it was economy. Therefore, people prioritize different values for themselves and for society as a whole. This suggests that when making decisions regarding technology, it is necessary to understand its effects on all fields and consider the balance between the value categories of well-being. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Hybrid Approach for Multi-Step Wind Speed Forecasting Based on Multi-Scale Dominant Ingredient Chaotic Analysis, KELM and Synchronous Optimization Strategy
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1804; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061804 - 25 Mar 2019
Cited by 19
Abstract
Accurate wind speed prediction plays a significant role in reasonable scheduling and the safe operation of the power system. However, due to the non-linear and non-stationary traits of the wind speed time series, the construction of an accuracy forecasting model is difficult to [...] Read more.
Accurate wind speed prediction plays a significant role in reasonable scheduling and the safe operation of the power system. However, due to the non-linear and non-stationary traits of the wind speed time series, the construction of an accuracy forecasting model is difficult to achieve. To this end, a novel synchronous optimization strategy-based hybrid model combining multi-scale dominant ingredient chaotic analysis and a kernel extreme learning machine (KELM) is proposed, for which the multi-scale dominant ingredient chaotic analysis integrates variational mode decomposition (VMD), singular spectrum analysis (SSA) and phase-space reconstruction (PSR). For such a hybrid structure, the parameters in VMD, SSA, PSR and KELM that would affect the predictive performance are optimized by the proposed improved hybrid grey wolf optimizer-sine cosine algorithm (IHGWOSCA) synchronously. To begin with, VMD is employed to decompose the raw wind speed data into a set of sub-series with various frequency scales. Later, the extraction of dominant and residuary ingredients for each sub-series is implemented by SSA, after which, all of the residuary ingredients are accumulated with the residual of VMD, to generate an additional forecasting component. Subsequently, the inputs and outputs of KELM for each component are deduced by PSR, with which the forecasting model could be constructed. Finally, the ultimate forecasting values of the raw wind speed are calculated by accumulating the predicted results of all the components. Additionally, four datasets from Sotavento Galicia (SG) wind farm have been selected, to achieve the performance assessment of the proposed model. Furthermore, six relevant models are carried out for comparative analysis. The results illustrate that the proposed hybrid framework, VMD-SSA-PSR-KELM could achieve a better performance compared with other combined models, while the proposed synchronous parameter optimization strategy-based model could achieve an average improvement of 25% compared to the separated optimized VMD-SSA-PSR-KELM model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Measuring Environmental Perceptions Grounded on Different Theoretical Models: The 2-Major Environmental Values (2-MEV) Model in Comparison with the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) Scale
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1286; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051286 - 01 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Our study examined the two-dimensional nature of the Two Major Environmental Values model (2-MEV) in comparison with the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale’s unidimensional construct. The latter places respondents on a continuum from a bio-centric to anthropocentric worldview, where an individual can either [...] Read more.
Our study examined the two-dimensional nature of the Two Major Environmental Values model (2-MEV) in comparison with the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale’s unidimensional construct. The latter places respondents on a continuum from a bio-centric to anthropocentric worldview, where an individual can either have a pro-environmental (bio-centric) or an anti-environmental (anthropocentric) perspective, but not both. On the other hand, the 2-MEV treats biocentrism (Preservation, PRE) and anthropocentrism (Utilization, UTL) as two separate and not necessarily related components. The model allows us to place individuals into one of four quadrants, rather than on either end of a continuum, allowing an individual to have a bio-centric and an anthropocentric worldview at the same time. Students’ environmental perceptions were measured using the NEP and 2-MEV questionnaires. As predicted, high preservation/low utilization scorers preferred a biocentric worldview on the NEP; similarly, low preservation/high utilization scorers preferred an anthropocentric worldview on the NEP. However, the NEP failed to differentiate between the high preservation/high utilization and low preservation/low utilizations scorers. Both of these groups of students, while on different quadrants on the 2-MEV, cluster together in the middle of the unidimensional NEP. Evidence suggests that the NEP may not fully explore all dimensions of environmental perceptions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Forecast and Mitigation Model of Construction Performance by Assessing Detailed Engineering Maturity at Key Milestones for Offshore EPC Mega-Projects
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1256; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051256 - 27 Feb 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The main subject of this research is to develop a forecast and mitigation model of schedule and cost performance during a detailed engineering stage of offshore engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects. The weight factors of major elements in detailed engineering completion rating [...] Read more.
The main subject of this research is to develop a forecast and mitigation model of schedule and cost performance during a detailed engineering stage of offshore engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects. The weight factors of major elements in detailed engineering completion rating index system (DECRIS) were measured using a fuzzy inference system (FIS) and an analytic hierarchy process (AHP). At five key engineering milestones, from an EPC contract being awarded to the start of construction, detailed engineering maturities were assessed in fourteen historical offshore EPC projects using the DECRIS model. DECRIS cutoff scores for successful project execution were defined at the key engineering milestones. A schedule and cost performance was forecasted and validated through comparison of DECRIS and other models using statistical confidence of a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) and a regression analysis. As a mitigation method for engineering risks to EPC contractors, engineering resource enhancement is recommended for trade-off optimization of cost overrun using a Monte Carlo simulation. The main contribution of this research is that EPC contractors could continuously forecast construction costs and schedule performance utilizing the DECRIS model, and could review the adequacy of engineering resources, assessing the trade-off between said resources and cost/schedule risk mitigation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Collaborative Learning by Teaching: A Pedagogy between Learner-Centered and Learner-Driven
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1174; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041174 - 22 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Learner-centered and learner-driven pedagogy have long been advocated by many educators and scholars who focus on sustainable education. This study proposes a pedagogical approach called collaborative learning by teaching (CLBT), which is both learner-centered and learner-driven. This study aims to explore and analyze [...] Read more.
Learner-centered and learner-driven pedagogy have long been advocated by many educators and scholars who focus on sustainable education. This study proposes a pedagogical approach called collaborative learning by teaching (CLBT), which is both learner-centered and learner-driven. This study aims to explore and analyze the student perceptions of CLBT by conducting a field experiment in a Chinese public university. The quantitative results show that student perceptions were comprised of three dimensions: perceptions of CLBT, perceptions of teamwork, and perceptions of mobile learning. The male students had significantly more positive perceptions of CLBT and mobile learning compared to the female students. The qualitative findings indicate that although students have some difficulties with self-discipline, they gain much in active learning capabilities and teamwork skills. The relationship between CLBT and sustainability competence should be further studied in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Impacts of Energy Saving Actions in an Academic Building
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 989; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11040989 - 14 Feb 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Global warming and climate change effects have been of such impact that several countries around the world are enforcing public policies to mitigate them. Mexico has shown a strong commitment to the environment and rational use of energy, as signed on the General [...] Read more.
Global warming and climate change effects have been of such impact that several countries around the world are enforcing public policies to mitigate them. Mexico has shown a strong commitment to the environment and rational use of energy, as signed on the General Law for Climate Change (GLCC) and stating, in its second article, the goal of a 30% reduction of greenhouse gases by 2020. To add to this goal, the Hermosillo Institute of Technology is implementing a pilot energy saving program that mixes retrofitting of academic buildings and the implementation of automatic controls for lighting and heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC). The retrofitting is performed by replacing fluorescent T8 tubes with high efficiency LED T8 tubes in a new arrangement. To increase the energy saving obtained by the retrofitting, a building automation and control system (BACS) has been developed and installed. The BACS is implemented using two different networks, the first one communicates a central control unit with the building control node using a private Ethernet network. Inside the building, the control actions are transmitted using a ZigBee network. The energy savings have been estimated as 4864 kWh/year, representing a 36.42% saving, the environmental and health effects are calculated using emission parameters of the nearest power plant to our site, and the procedure presented in Harvard’s Six Cities Study by Dockery. Results show a total CO2eq equivalent to 0.000409% of the national goal. The economic impacts of the carbon social cost and health benefits are $745.26 USD/year and $4017.71 USD/year while the direct billing savings are $3700.56 USD/year, and these results are based on only one building of the campus. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
How to Allocate Carbon Emission Permits Among China’s Industrial Sectors Under the Constraint of Carbon Intensity?
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030914 - 11 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
With the official launch of China’s national unified carbon trading system (ETS) in 2017, it has played an increasingly important role in controlling the growth of carbon dioxide emissions. One of the core issues in carbon trading is the allocation of initial carbon [...] Read more.
With the official launch of China’s national unified carbon trading system (ETS) in 2017, it has played an increasingly important role in controlling the growth of carbon dioxide emissions. One of the core issues in carbon trading is the allocation of initial carbon emissions permits. Since the industry emits the largest amount of carbon dioxide in China, a study on the allocation of carbon emission permits among China’s industrial sectors is necessary to promote industry carbon abatement efficiency. In this study, industrial carbon emissions permits are allocated to 37 sub-sectors of China to reach the emission reduction target of 2030 considering the carbon marginal abatement cost, carbon abatement responsibility, carbon abatement potential, and carbon abatement capacity. A hybrid approach that integrates data envelop analysis (DEA), the analytic hierarchy process (AHP), and principal component analysis (PCA) is proposed to allocate carbon emission permits. The results of this study are as follows: First, under the constraint of carbon intensity, the carbon emission permits of the total industry in 2030 will be 8792 Mt with an average growth rate of 3.27%, which is 1.57 times higher than that in 2016. Second, the results of the carbon marginal abatement costs show that light industrial sectors and high-tech industrial sectors have a higher abatement cost, while energy-intensive heavy chemical industries have a lower abatement cost. Third, based on the allocation results, there are six industrial sub-sectors that have obtained major carbon emission permits, including the smelting and pressing of ferrous metals (S24), manufacturing of raw chemical materials and chemical products (S18), manufacturing of non-metallic mineral products (S23), smelting and pressing of non-ferrous metals (S25), production and supply of electric power and heat power (S35), and the processing of petroleum, coking, and processing of nuclear fuel (S19), accounting for 69.23% of the total carbon emissions permits. Furthermore, the study also classifies 37 industrial sectors to explore the emission reduction paths, and proposes corresponding policy recommendations for different categories. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Method and Model of Ecological Technology Evaluation
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 886; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030886 - 08 Feb 2019
Abstract
In order to evaluate ecological technology scientifically, we constructed a modular “three-stage evaluation method” based on qualitative evaluation, semiquantitative evaluation and quantitative evaluation, and established the theoretical models of the four kinds of ecotechnology, such as soil and water conservation technology, desertification governance [...] Read more.
In order to evaluate ecological technology scientifically, we constructed a modular “three-stage evaluation method” based on qualitative evaluation, semiquantitative evaluation and quantitative evaluation, and established the theoretical models of the four kinds of ecotechnology, such as soil and water conservation technology, desertification governance technology, rocky desertification governance technology and ecological restoration technology. We gave the quantification criteria of the first-level and second-level index commonly shared by four kinds of ecotechnology and defined the quantification criteria of the third-level index of reflecting the heterogeneity of soil and water conservation technology. An ecotechnology evaluation model combining Analytic Hierarchy Process and Logistic regression was established based on soil and water conservation technology. The rationality of the evaluation method and model were verified by field investigation data of soil and water conservation technology in Gaoxigou. The evaluation method and model could provide scientific basis for the effective introduction and popularization of ecotechnology. Full article
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2018

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Open AccessArticle
The Multi-Aspect Criterion in the PMADM Outline and Its Possible Application to Sustainability Assessment
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4451; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124451 - 27 Nov 2018
Cited by 9
Abstract
Over the past few centuries, the process of decision-making has become more complicated in different respects. Since the initial phase of Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) around fifty years ago, Multiple Attribute Decision Making (MADM) has continued developing over the years as a [...] Read more.
Over the past few centuries, the process of decision-making has become more complicated in different respects. Since the initial phase of Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) around fifty years ago, Multiple Attribute Decision Making (MADM) has continued developing over the years as a sub-concept of MCDM. Noticeably, the importance of the decision-making process is increasingly expanding to such an extent that it necessarily blends into the undeniable processes of MADM actual models. Novel methods with different perspectives have been introduced considering the dynamic MADM concepts of time and future in classical frameworks; however, they do not overcome challenges in practice. Recently, Prospective MADM (PMADM) as a specific approach has presented future-oriented models using already known approaches of MCDM, and it has innovative items which show barriers of classic model of MADM. However, PMADM practically needs more conceptual bases to illustrate and plan the future of real decision-making problems. The Multi-Aspect Criterion is a new concept in mapping the future of the PMADM outline. In this regard, two examples of sustainability will be analyzed, and different requirements and aspects associated with PMADM will be discussed in this study. This new approach can support the PMADM outline in more detail and deal with a decision-making structure that can be considered as novel to industry experts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Parametric Model for Window Design Based on Prospect-Refuge Measurement in Residential Environment
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3888; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113888 - 25 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
As the concept of prospect-refuge defines a preferred environment, the spatial elements that provide good conditions for the catalyst of the theory have been extensively studied. The well-known architectural element of this theory is the window that optimizes visual openness to outdoor or [...] Read more.
As the concept of prospect-refuge defines a preferred environment, the spatial elements that provide good conditions for the catalyst of the theory have been extensively studied. The well-known architectural element of this theory is the window that optimizes visual openness to outdoor or enclosure from outdoor. The aim of this paper is to develop a design method for prospect-refuge condition by adjusting window design attributes. A parametric design model that measures spatial conditions and presents design alternatives for the window is proposed in two major phases. First, this paper explains a parametric model to generate design alternatives for a window according to its size, aspect ratio, location, and shape. In the second phase, the parametric algorithm is defined for the measurement of prospect-refuge with 3D visibility. As a result, we explore the impact of window design variables on average visibility and difference visibility of prospect and refuge area. Using the parametric design technology, the proposed method presents analytical techniques, considering spatial characteristics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Development of Water Resources: Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Water Stress in South Korea
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3795; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103795 - 20 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The development of South Korean water resources has been heavily concentrated in a few areas, corresponding to regions that have experienced economic growth. The resulting competition for the resource is leading to calls for more equitable water distribution. The objective of this study [...] Read more.
The development of South Korean water resources has been heavily concentrated in a few areas, corresponding to regions that have experienced economic growth. The resulting competition for the resource is leading to calls for more equitable water distribution. The objective of this study is to evaluate water stress areas for sustainable water resources management. For this, a spatially distributed water stress index that accounts for climate variability at intra- and inter-annual time scales is developed and applied to South Korea to better understand the water allocations, and the subsequent water stress. Water demand (household water, industrial water, agricultural water, and livestock water) and water supply (precipitation use, reservoir use, stream use, and underground water use) estimates based on the period 1973–2009 were used to compute the normalized deficit index (NDI) and normalized deficit cumulative (NDC) for each hydrologic basin. Water stress was assessed for each of the four decades (1973–1982; 1983–1991; 1992–2000; 2001–2009). The overall water stress has decreased in 2000–2009 compared to 1973–1982 because of water infrastructure development. However, while the risk of water stress was low in the Han River basin, the Nakdong River was found to be very vulnerable to water stress. It was possible to investigate where water management strategies are needed for the sustainable development of South Korean water resources. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Measuring Country Sustainability Performance Using Ensembles of Neuro-Fuzzy Technique
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2707; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082707 - 01 Aug 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Global warming is one of the most important challenges nowadays. Sustainability practices and technologies have been proven to significantly reduce the amount of energy consumed and incur economic savings. Sustainability assessment tools and methods have been developed to support decision makers in evaluating [...] Read more.
Global warming is one of the most important challenges nowadays. Sustainability practices and technologies have been proven to significantly reduce the amount of energy consumed and incur economic savings. Sustainability assessment tools and methods have been developed to support decision makers in evaluating the developments in sustainable technology. Several sustainability assessment tools and methods have been developed by fuzzy logic and neural network machine learning techniques. However, a combination of neural network and fuzzy logic, neuro-fuzzy, and the ensemble learning of this technique has been rarely explored when developing sustainability assessment methods. In addition, most of the methods developed in the literature solely rely on fuzzy logic. The main shortcoming of solely using the fuzzy logic rule-based technique is that it cannot automatically learn from the data. This problem of fuzzy logic has been solved by the use of neural networks in many real-world problems. The combination of these two techniques will take the advantages of both to precisely predict the output of a system. In addition, combining the outputs of several predictors can result in an improved accuracy in complex systems. This study accordingly aims to propose an accurate method for measuring countries’ sustainability performance using a set of real-world data of the sustainability indicators. The adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) technique was used for discovering the fuzzy rules from data from 128 countries, and ensemble learning was used for measuring the countries’ sustainability performance. The proposed method aims to provide the country rankings in term of sustainability. The results of this research show that the method has potential to be effectively implemented as a decision-making tool for measuring countries’ sustainability performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Carbon Emission Reduction with Regard to Retailer’s Fairness Concern and Subsidies
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1209; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041209 - 17 Apr 2018
Cited by 20
Abstract
This paper considers the impact of consumer environmental awareness (CEA), retailer’s fairness concern, and government subsidies on the two echelon supply chain with one manufacturer and one retailer. The manufacturer produces green products with carbon emission reduction. The government provides two types of [...] Read more.
This paper considers the impact of consumer environmental awareness (CEA), retailer’s fairness concern, and government subsidies on the two echelon supply chain with one manufacturer and one retailer. The manufacturer produces green products with carbon emission reduction. The government provides two types of alternative subsidies: a fixed subsidy (referred to as an F-type subsidy) or a discount subsidy (referred to as a D-type subsidy) to encourage the manufacturer to produce a product with a high carbon emission reduction rate. We aim to provide optimal solutions to the manufacturer and the retailer with regard to the retailer’s fairness concern and government subsidies; thus we discuss four decision scenarios: the benchmark model without the fairness concern and subsidy, the model with the retailer’s fairness concern, the model with fairness concern and the F-type subsidy, and the model with fairness concern and the D-type subsidy. We provide explicit solutions and numerical examples of the optimal carbon emission reduction rate, wholesale price, and retail price. Our study has four main findings: firstly, high consumer environmental awareness will benefit both the manufacturer and the retailer in the above four scenarios; secondly, the fairness concern and subsidy have a counter effect on the optimal strategies (the subsidy could alleviate the negative influence caused by retailer’s fairness concern); thirdly, the government could subsidize the retailer when there is unfairness in the supply chain so that the manufacturer could produce a product with lower carbon emission; finally, using the subsidy related to the environmental quality will be more helpful for improving environment quality, especially when the government has a budget constraint. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Low Carbon Scenarios for Europe: An Evaluation of Upscaling Low Carbon Experiments
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 848; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030848 - 16 Mar 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
This paper focuses on transformational processes in a post Paris agreement context. It uses IMACLIM-R, an E3 (Environment–Energy–Economy) model allowing for the integration of urban forms, transport dynamics, environmental policies and behaviors. Building upon the study of a set of local low carbon [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on transformational processes in a post Paris agreement context. It uses IMACLIM-R, an E3 (Environment–Energy–Economy) model allowing for the integration of urban forms, transport dynamics, environmental policies and behaviors. Building upon the study of a set of local low carbon experiments throughout the European Union (EU), the paper explores two contrasted stylized scenarios of the low carbon transition in Europe. It highlights that carbon pricing policies are useful guides for transition but cannot achieve the ambitious objective without significant transition costs. It shows that low carbon experiments in the transport and energy sectors are critical dimensions of complementary measures in favor of green infrastructures. Broadening and upscaling low carbon experiments helps overcome the inertias of the transport sector by fostering radical changes in infrastructures, thereby introducing deep transformations in mobility behavior. This can then generate positive macroeconomic outcomes, even though they are also dependent on specific financial support, calling for a renegotiation of the social contract based on specific fiscal reforms and measures to secure funding for these initiatives. The paper concludes with some research avenues for improving this preliminary work and calls for a better understanding of the complexity of the socio-economic patterns of both the transition and the conditions for an effective implementation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Evaluation System for University–Industry Partnership Sustainability: Enhancing Options for Entrepreneurial Universities
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010119 - 05 Jan 2018
Cited by 16
Abstract
The concept of university–industry partnership sustainability (UIPS) stands for well-adjusted progress among key players from universities and industry by sustaining their welfare, both in the present and in the future. This paper sought to develop an evaluation system for UIPS. The need for [...] Read more.
The concept of university–industry partnership sustainability (UIPS) stands for well-adjusted progress among key players from universities and industry by sustaining their welfare, both in the present and in the future. This paper sought to develop an evaluation system for UIPS. The need for such a system is justified at three levels: the micro level (i.e., research and innovation performance, transfer and absorptive capability, and technology development), the meso level (i.e., institutional arrangements, communication networks, and local and indigenous rules) and the macro level (i.e., supply and demand, regulations, financing, taxes, culture, traditions, market, climate, politics, demographics, and technology). The UIPS evaluation system developed in this study offers the possibility of calculating a fair value of UIPS and providing recommendations for improving university–industry (U–I) partnerships. This can be of great importance for entrepreneurial universities that would like to strengthen their corporate links and/or reduce/reverse the “hollowing effect” of globalisation in disadvantaged regions. Additionally, this paper also contains discussions on the advantages, limitations, and managerial implications of this proposal. Full article
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2017

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Open AccessArticle
Comprehensive Evaluation of the Sustainable Development of Power Grid Enterprises Based on the Model of Fuzzy Group Ideal Point Method and Combination Weighting Method with Improved Group Order Relation Method and Entropy Weight Method
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1900; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101900 - 21 Oct 2017
Cited by 9
Abstract
As an important implementing body of the national energy strategy, grid enterprises bear the important responsibility of optimizing the allocation of energy resources and serving the economic and social development, and their levels of sustainable development have a direct impact on the national [...] Read more.
As an important implementing body of the national energy strategy, grid enterprises bear the important responsibility of optimizing the allocation of energy resources and serving the economic and social development, and their levels of sustainable development have a direct impact on the national economy and social life. In this paper, the model of fuzzy group ideal point method and combination weighting method with improved group order relation method and entropy weight method is proposed to evaluate the sustainable development of power grid enterprises. Firstly, on the basis of consulting a large amount of literature, the important criteria of the comprehensive evaluation of the sustainable development of power grid enterprises are preliminarily selected. The opinions of the industry experts are consulted and fed back for many rounds through the Delphi method and the evaluation criteria system for sustainable development of power grid enterprises is determined, then doing the consistent and non dimensional processing of the evaluation criteria. After that, based on the basic order relation method, the weights of each expert judgment matrix are synthesized to construct the compound matter elements. By using matter element analysis, the subjective weights of the criteria are obtained. And entropy weight method is used to determine the objective weights of the preprocessed criteria. Then, combining the subjective and objective information with the combination weighting method based on the subjective and objective weighted attribute value consistency, a more comprehensive, reasonable and accurate combination weight is calculated. Finally, based on the traditional TOPSIS method, the triangular fuzzy numbers are introduced to better realize the scientific processing of the data information which is difficult to quantify, and the queuing indication value of each object and the ranking result are obtained. A numerical example is taken to prove that the model of fuzzy group ideal point method and combination weighting method with improved group order relation method and entropy weight method is feasible and effective for evaluating the sustainable development of power grid enterprises. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) to Solve Environmental Sustainability Problems: A Comprehensive Review and Meta-Analysis
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1814; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101814 - 10 Oct 2017
Cited by 17
Abstract
Most methodological areas assume common serious reflections to certify difficult study and publication practices, and, therefore, approval in their area. Interestingly, relatively little attention has been paid to reviewing the application of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) in environmental sustainability problems despite the growing [...] Read more.
Most methodological areas assume common serious reflections to certify difficult study and publication practices, and, therefore, approval in their area. Interestingly, relatively little attention has been paid to reviewing the application of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) in environmental sustainability problems despite the growing number of publications in the past two decades. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to fill this gap by conducting a wide search in two main databases including Web of Science and Scopus to identify the studies which used SEM techniques in the period from 2005 to 2016. A critical analysis of these articles addresses some important key issues. On the basis of our results, we present comprehensive guidelines to help researchers avoid general pitfalls in using SEM. The results of this review are important and will help researchers to better develop research models based on SEM in the area of environmental sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Influencing Consumers’ Intention to Return the End of Life Electronic Products through Reverse Supply Chain Management for Reuse, Repair and Recycling
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1657; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091657 - 18 Sep 2017
Cited by 17
Abstract
Resource depletion, population growth and environmental problems force companies to collect their end of life (EOL) products for reuse, recycle and refurbishment through reverse supply chain management (RSCM). Success in collecting the EOL products through RSCM depends on the customers’ participation intention. The [...] Read more.
Resource depletion, population growth and environmental problems force companies to collect their end of life (EOL) products for reuse, recycle and refurbishment through reverse supply chain management (RSCM). Success in collecting the EOL products through RSCM depends on the customers’ participation intention. The objectives of this study are: (1) To examine the important factors influencing customers’ attitude to participate in RSCM; (2) To examine the important factors influencing customers’ subjective norm to participate in RSCM; (3) To examine the main factors influencing customers’ perceived behavioral control to participate in RSCM; (4) To examine the influence of attitude, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control on customers’ participation intention in RSCM. The Decomposed Theory of Planned Behaviour (DTPB) has been chosen as the underpinning theory for this research. The research conducted employed the quantitative approach. Non-probability (convenience sampling) method was used to determine the sample and data was collected using questionnaires. Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) technique was employed. A total of 800 questionnaires were distributed among customers of electronic products in Malaysia. Finally, the questionnaire was distributed among the customers in electronic retailer companies based on convenience sampling method. The empirical results confirm that consumers perception about the risk associated with EOL electronic products, consumers’ ecological knowledge and relative advantages associated with reuse, repair and recycling can influence the attitude of consumers to return the EOL products for reuse, repair and recycling to producer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of the Ground Greening Configuration on the Outdoor Thermal Environment in Residential Areas under Different Underground Space Overburden Thicknesses
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1656; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091656 - 18 Sep 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
In the underground space development of residential areas, outdoor thermal environments at the pedestrian level greatly depend on the ground greening configuration, which is in turn affected by the overburden thickness of the underground space (OTUS). However, few studies have considered the effects [...] Read more.
In the underground space development of residential areas, outdoor thermal environments at the pedestrian level greatly depend on the ground greening configuration, which is in turn affected by the overburden thickness of the underground space (OTUS). However, few studies have considered the effects of OTUS on the ground greening configuration and the further effects of the ground greening configuration on the outdoor thermal environment. This study aimed to provide insights into the design of OTUS for improving outdoor thermal environments. Two residential areas with row and enclosed layouts in Nanjing, China, were numerically studied using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation software ENVI-met. Outdoor thermal environments in the two residential areas, which had the same greening coverage rate, were simulated under different OTUSs and ground green configurations. The results indicate that to create a comfortable outdoor thermal environment, the OTUS should be designed to satisfy the requirement for planting small trees. If this requirement cannot be adequately satisfied, individuals can also set up tree wells or add soil on top of underground structures to plant small trees, and establish an OTUS that can satisfy the requirement of planting large shrubs in other areas. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Systems Thinking for Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment: A Review of Recent Developments, Applications, and Future Perspectives
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 706; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9050706 - 29 Apr 2017
Cited by 67
Abstract
Tracking the environmental impacts of production, use, and disposal of products (e.g., goods, and services) have been an important issue in the global economy. Although Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a widely applied method to track these environmental impacts and support policies, it [...] Read more.
Tracking the environmental impacts of production, use, and disposal of products (e.g., goods, and services) have been an important issue in the global economy. Although Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a widely applied method to track these environmental impacts and support policies, it has certain limitations and an isolated way of evaluating the environmental impacts with no consideration of social and economic impacts and mechanisms. To overcome the limits of current LCA, three mechanisms have been proposed in the literature: (1) broadening the indicators by including social and economic indicators in addition to the environmental impacts; (2) broadening the scope of analysis from product-level assessment to national and global levels; (3) deepening the assessment by inclusion of more mechanisms to account for interrelations among the system elements, uncertainty analysis, stakeholder involvement, etc. With these developments, LCA has been evolving into a new framework called Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA). Practical application of LCSA requires integration of various methods, tools, and disciplines. In this study, a comprehensive literature review is conducted to investigate recent developments, current challenges, and future perspectives in the LCSA literature. According to the review, a high number (40%) of LCSA studies are from the environmental science discipline, while contributions from other disciplines such as economics (3%) and social sciences (9%) are very low. On broadening the scope of analysis, 58% of the studies are product-level works, while 37% quantified the impacts at national level and achieved an economy-wide analysis, and only 5% of the studies were able to quantify the global impacts of products using LCSA framework. Furthermore, current applications of LCSA have not considered the rebound effects, feedback mechanisms, and interrelations of the system of interest sufficiently. To address these challenges, we present a complete discussion about the overarching role of systems thinking to bring tools, methods and disciplines together, and provide practical examples from the earlier studies that have employed various system-based methods. We discuss the importance of integrated system-based methods for advancement of LCSA framework in the following directions: (1) regional and global level LCSA models using multi-region input-output analysis that is capable of quantitatively capturing macro-level social, environmental, and economic impacts; (2) dealing with uncertainties in LCSA during multi-criteria decision-making process and expert judgments in weighting of LCSA indicators; and (3) integration of system dynamics modeling to reveal complex interconnections, dependencies, and causal relationships between sustainability indicators. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
MCDM Assessment of a Healthy and Safe Built Environment According to Sustainable Development Principles: A Practical Neighborhood Approach in Vilnius
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 702; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9050702 - 28 Apr 2017
Cited by 30
Abstract
Urbanization has a massive effect on the environment, both locally and globally. With an ever-increasing scale of construction and manufacturing and misuse of energy resources come poorer air quality, growing mortality rates and more rapid climate change. For these reasons, a healthy and [...] Read more.
Urbanization has a massive effect on the environment, both locally and globally. With an ever-increasing scale of construction and manufacturing and misuse of energy resources come poorer air quality, growing mortality rates and more rapid climate change. For these reasons, a healthy and safe built environment is ever more in demand. Global debates focus on sustainable development of the built environment; a rational approach to its analysis is multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) methods. Alternative MCDM methods applied to the same problem often produce different results. In the search for a more reliable tool, this study proposes that a system of MCDM methods should be applied to a single problem. This article assesses 21 neighborhoods in Vilnius in the context of a healthy and safe built environment in view of the principles of sustainable development. MCDM methods were used for this purpose: entropy, Criterion Impact LOSs (CILOS) and Integrated Determination of Objective Criteria Weights (IDOCRIW) methods were used to determine the objective weights of the criteria, while expert judgement determined the subjective weights. With the overall weights determined, the Vilnius neighborhoods were assessed through the application of COmplex PRoportional ASsessment (COPRAS), Simple Additive Weighting (SAW), Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) and Evaluation based on Distance from Average Solution (EDAS) methods. The final results were then processed using the rank average method, Borda count and Copeland’s method. Full article
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