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  • Open access
  • 11 Reads
Why ‘Sustainable Development’ is Often Neither: a Constructive Critique
Published: 29 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Development Policy and Practice
Efforts and programs toward aiding sustainable development in less affluent countries are primarily driven by the moral imperative to relieve and to prevent suffering. This utilitarian principle has provided the moral basis for humanitarian intervention and development aid initiatives worldwide for the past decades. It takes a short term perspective which shapes the initiatives in characteristic ways. While most development aid programs succeed in their goals to relieve hunger and poverty in ad hoc situations, their success in the long term seems increasingly questionable, which throws doubt on the claims that such efforts qualify as sustainable development. This paper aims to test such shortfall and to find some explanations for it. We assessed the economic development in the world\'s ten least affluent countries (identified by per capita GDP, excluding fragile and failing states) by comparing their ecological footprints with their biocapacities. This ratio, and how it changes over time, indicates how sustainable the development of a country or region is, and whether it risks ecological overshoot. Our results confirm our earlier findings on South-East Asia, namely that poor countries tend to have the advantage of greater sustainability. We also examined the impact that the major development aid programs in those countries are likely to have on the ratio of footprint over capacity. Most development aid tends to increase that ratio, by boosting footprints without adequately increasing biocapacity. One conceptual explanation for this shortfall on sustainability lies in the Conventional Development Paradigm, an ideological construct that provides the rationales for most development aid programs. According to the literature, it rests on unjustified assumptions about economic growth and on the externalisation of losses in natural capital. It also rests on a simplistic version of utilitarianism, usually summed up in the principle of \'the greatest good for the greatest number\'. We suggest that a more realistic interpretation of sustainability necessitates a revision of that principle to \' the minimum acceptable amount of good for the greatest sustainable number\'. Under that perspective, promoting the transition to sustainability becomes a sine qua non condition for any form of \'development\'.
  • Open access
  • 13 Reads
A Sustainable Cost Benefit Assessment of Wall Assemblies from the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011
Residential homes consume 24% of total primary energy while commercial buildings use an additional 19%, totaling 43% of all energy consumption in the U.S. (United States Energy Information Administration [USEIA], 2011). Wall assemblies are a fundamental component of a building's construction and can make significant impacts on building performance. Wall assemblies impact the environment, the builder, and the homeowner in various ways. Depending on the assembly method used to construct walls, a builder may find it easier or more difficult to install, and will identify a labor cost accordingly. Homeowners desire a wall with an affordable cost and appropriate thermal performance. Environmental concerns include using rare or readily available materials or avoiding use of materials which require more energy to produce than they offset. Exploring these factors to discover the ideal wall assembly is critical to enhancing building construction and performance. The purpose of this study was to identify optimal wall assemblies from the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 using a newly developed Sustainable Cost Benefit Assessment (SCBA). The wall assemblies were analyzed using cost per square foot, clear wall R-value, and embodied energy metrics as a means for comparison. Reviewing the entries to the Solar Decathlon 2011 it is clear that the structures incorporate unique wall assemblies, which have not yet been studied. The results of this study provide data showing which of these wall types may prove to offer the most energy efficient, affordable, and environmentally conscious options. In addition, it contributes data to suggest which methods should not be adopted for widespread use. The conclusions of this study help supply valuable information describing which wall types are the best options for reducing building energy consumption.
  • Open access
  • 9 Reads
The Peak of Energy and Minerals and the Economic Future
Published: 30 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Development Policy and Practice
The coming peak of fossil fuels may cause shortages in the energy supply and major disturbances on the global economy. The forecasts for the future of our way of life are very divergent depending on the prediction used for the future human access to energy. Steady-state or collapse seems to be the two most probable scenarios for society after the fossil fuel peak and exhaustion of mineral resources that the new energetic mix will require. The LINEX production function, which is dependent on the energy input is used to model the gross domestic product (GDP) of a western economy in several different energetic scenarios after the fossil fuel peak. A future steady-state economy with zero population growth appears as the best possible scenario. Some of the implications and challenges derived from this steady-state economy are discussed.
  • Open access
  • 6 Reads
Do We Need a New Paradigm to Facilitate Policy Effectiveness under the CBD?
Published: 30 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Development Policy and Practice
It is nothing new that governments advance self interested policies during international policy negotiations and that the knowledge of policy experts reflects frameworks which are weaved into international policies. But it is unclear though if policy makers take deliberate steps to eliminate potential ineffective models when crafting international regulatory instruments. Using the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as a focus, this paper examines how an environmental regime\'s policies can build on sustainable institutional systems, enhance sustainable policy frameworks, save scarce resources, improve informed & effective community participation, and legitimise policy objectives. By examining whether multidisciplinary approach and knowledge can enhance the achievement of policy goals, as well as expose possible setbacks to achieving effective regime policies, this paper espouses multidisciplinary tools for understanding regime policy. It highlights potential topics for contemporary policy debates and themes for further research in the field of policy making. It is argued that debates about policy discourses in the 21st century ought to concern the degree of policy effectiveness: not policy ineffectiveness per se.
  • Open access
  • 5 Reads
Implementation of a Wind Turbine Blade Design Tool in an Open Source Integrated Development Environment
This paper presents the implementation of a design tool, written in Pascal language, of a classic design method of wind turbines based on Blade Element Momentum Theory. The open source integrated development environment Lazarus was used. The software allows the user to visualize the changes in turbine geometry caused by the change in design parameters and the two design methodologies that are possible. Results that validate the algorithm according to the literature are shown. Characteristics of a wind turbine designed with a proper airfoil are also presented. The tool familiarizes the user with the open source philosophy and gives data to the construction of wind turbine models to experiments.
  • Open access
  • 8 Reads
Environmental Sustainability vs. Political Decision: a Review of the Bangladesh Leather Processing Industry Relocation Plan
Published: 30 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Environmental Sustainability
Over the past four decades, the leather processing activity migrated from developed to developing countries. This led to the uncontrolled and unplanned development of leather processing industries in the environmentally-stressed developing countries, such as Bangladesh. Although these industries are very important for the flourishing export oriented economy of the country, lack of basic environmental protection measures have been entailing serious threats to the environmental sustainability. In response, a relocation project was launched by the Bangladesh government for the industries in Hazaribag - the principle leather processing zone located in the capital Dhaka. The project planned the relocation of these industries to an upstream and outskirt location – Savar, with the target of mitigating the environmental pollution and ecological hazard. This paper reviewed the relocation project plan from the environmental economics and urban planning point of views. The concepts and methods applied for the review are the \'Willingness to Pay\', \'Concept of Pigovian fees\', \'Hedonic Pricing Method\' and \'Social theory of Cities\'. The results prove that the project\'s target of ensuring environmental sustainability will go in vain because launching and executing this project was merely a political decision, which did not take into account any of the scientific arguments. 82% of the surveyed leather industry owners is neither willing to move to the proposed location nor willing to pay for the relocation and effluent treatment sanctioning at the new location. 18% is willing to move under the conditions of subsidies, compensations and government provided effluent treatment facilities. The Bangladesh government has to pay BDT 5.93 billion as compensation and subsidy in addition to the actual project cost of BDT 5.45 billion, whereas the expense is only BDT 3.57 billion for redeveloping Hazaribag as a planned, controlled leather industry estate in the present location with adequate environmental protection measures. The proposed transformation plan of Hazaribag brown field to a residential area after industries\' relocation, poses further threats to the human health. The upstream location of Savar risks the pollution of the entire surface water sources of Dhaka. Finally, the argument of relocating the leather industries to an outskirt location proves to be invalid in light of the historic growth trend of Dhaka. Considering the three consecutive failures to meet the relocation deadlines, these results claim that rather the redevelopment of Hazaribag industries in the present location by providing the environment friendly leather processing equipments will ensure environmental sustainability of the city.
  • Open access
  • 5 Reads
The Receptivity of Roofs to Solar Panels
Published: 30 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Development Policy and Practice
Abstract: The importance of roof design to host solar panels is increasingly recognized. Orientation, roof pitch, roof type, and a variety of obstructions all work to either make a roof receptive to solar panels, or difficult for solar panels to be installed, or something in between. This paper proposes a roof property which might be called receptivity, to characterize the degree to which a roof is or is not well-suited for solar panels. The characteristics of a receptive roof are explored. A scoring system is proposed for this property of receptivity. A variety of roof types are evaluated with the proposed scoring system, and a number of real roof examples are scored and examined. Best practices to encourage roof receptivity are offered.
  • Open access
  • 5 Reads
Sustainable Biodiesel Production
Veera Gnaneswar Gude, Gerogene Grant
Current biodiesel technologies are not sustainable as they require government subsidies to be profitable by the producers and to be affordable by the public. This is mainly due to: 1) high feedstock cost and, 2) energy intensive process steps involved in their production. Sustainable biodiesel production needs to consider: a) utilizing low cost feedstock; b) utilizing energy-efficient, non-conventional heating and mixing technologies; c) increase net energy benefit of the process; and 4) utilize renewable raw material/energy sources. In order to reduce production costs and make it competitive with petroleum diesel, low cost feedstock, such as non- edible oils and waste frying oils could be used as raw materials. Net energy benefit can be increased by using high oil yielding renewable feedstock such as algae. Additionally, application of energy efficient non-conventional technologies such as ultrasonics and microwaves may reduce the energy footprint of the overall biodiesel production as shown in Figure 1. This presentation provides a perspective on sustainable biodiesel production using waste cooking oils, non-edible oils and algae as feedstock. Process optimization using novel heating and mixing techniques, net energy scenarios for different feedstock from sustainability view of the biodiesel production technologies will be discussed.
  • Open access
  • 7 Reads
Feasibility of Recycling Grey-water in Multi-Storey Buildings in Melbourne
Monzur Imteaz, Abdallah Shanableh
Published: 29 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Urban Development
Australian government has been promoting the use of water conservation and recycling options through several campaigns and offering incentives/grants for such water saving ideas/innovations. One of several water conserving techniques is on-site grey-water recycling for non-drinking purposes. However, even with several awareness campaigns and financial incentives, there is a general reluctance to adopt any grey-water recycling measure. One of the reasons behind this is that people are not aware of the payback period for their initial investment. It is necessary to quantify the expected amount of potable water that can be saved through any particular recycling scheme. As such scheme requires on-site treatment; initial establishment costs are comparatively high. In many cases, developers are not aware of an accurate pay-back period for an initial investment. In this study, feasibility of grey-water recycling in multi-storey buildings in Melbourne was analysed and discussed. The study confirmed the significant potential for reducing the water demand and the benefits that the Melbourne population and water authorities can gain through adopting simple water conservation practices and greywater recycling in multi-story buildings. Usual amount of grey-water generation is much higher than the potential reuse amount. As such it is reasonable that the grey-water would not be collected from all the floors, rather grey-water collection from some floors would be enough to meet the demands of all the floors. The discussion was extended to proposing unique greywater recycling schemes for the Melbourne, involving partial greywater recycling from the higher floors of multi-storey buildings, and locating greywater treatment systems on the roofs of buildings. It is obvious that the cost recovery period of the grey-water treatment system would get shorter with the inclusion of higher number of floors for grey-water recycling. Finally, the effect of number of floors on cost recover periods has been presented. Also, effect of using water conserving devices with the grey-water recycling scheme on cost recovery period has been presented.
  • Open access
  • 4 Reads
Management of natural lake water resources: problems and solutions
Published: 01 November 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Environmental Sustainability
Conceptually, water resources management means optimization of a goal function which integrates requirements and, and constraints, of, interconnected hydrological, ecological and economic aspects of the water resource management. Establishment of the goal function should allow combining of the economic activities, hydroecological studies and economic valuation within a holistic methodological framework. The set of the management measures allowing the optimization of the goal function under a pre-condition of conservation of the ecosystem services in some predefined reference/desirable state defines sustainable management policy.The examples of the natural waterbodies for which such a goal function has been established are extremely rare if at all they exist (unknown to us). In this presentation, we outlined a methodological framework for sustainable water resource management comprising of ecological monitoring, quantified water quality and an ecosystem model. We tested the proposed framework on the subtropical Lake Kinneret (Israel), a major national water resource. Methodologically, this study linked the economic activities in Lake Kinneret and its watershed (i.e. nutrient loads and water supply regimes) with lake water quality, sustaining of which was considered the management objective. Based on analysis of the monitoring data and model scenario simulations we established quantitative relationships between changes to lake water level and nutrient loading and water quality. We assessed a set of values of nutrient loads from the watershed and water levels that will allow conservation of the lake water quality within predefined limits thereby defining limits for a sustainable management policy for the lake water resources. The defined sustainable management policy is in good correspondence with the loads and permissible water level ranges estimated from lake-based monitoring . Our approach to assessment of the sustainable management policy was based on a single, hydroecological criterion: the necessity to sustain lake water quality within a desirable, reference state. However, in reality, the sustainable management policy should be focused on a social-ecological system and not an aquatic ecosystem per se. Therefore, water resources management should be based on multi-criteria; it should also account for the economic aspects (costs and benefits for society) of the problem. Establishment of the quantitative relationships between economic activities, water quality and total economic value of water resources is a challenging scientific problem. Its solution will be a pivotal step towards adaptive water resources management.