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  • 8 Reads
On Track to Become a Low Carbon Future City? - First Findings from the Pilot City of Wuxi
Carmen Dienst, Clemens Schneider, Mathieu Saurat, Chun Xia, Thomas Fischer, Marco Gemmer, Andreas Oberheitmann, Daniel Vallentin, Urda Eichhorst
Published: 17 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Urban Development
Increasing urbanisation and climate change belong to the greatest challenges of the 21st century. A high share of global greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to originate in urban areas (40 % to 78 % according to UN Habitat 2010). Therefore, low carbon city strategies and concepts implicate large greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potentials. At the same time, with high population and infrastructure densities as well as concentrated economic activities, cities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and need to adapt. Scarce natural resources further constrain the leeway for long-term, sustainable urban development. The Low Carbon Future Cities (LCFC) project aims at tapping this three-dimensional challenge and will develop an integrated strategy / roadmap, balancing low carbon development, gains in resource efficiency and adaptation to climate change. The study focuses on two pilot regions - one in China (Wuxi) and one in Germany (Düsseldorf+) - and is conducted by a German-Chinese research team supported by the German Stiftung Mercator. The paper gives an overview of first outcomes of the analysis of the status quo and assessment of the most likely developments regarding GHG emissions, climate impacts and resource use in Wuxi. The project developed an emission inventory for Wuxi to identify key sectors for further analysis and low carbon scenarios. The future development of energy demand and related CO2 emissions in 2030 were simulated in the current policy scenario (CPS), using five different sub-models. Selected aspects of Wuxi\'s current material and water flows were analysed and modelled for energy transformation and the building sector. Current and future climate impacts and vulnerability were investigated. Recent climatic changes and resulting damages were analysed, expected changes in temperature and precipitation in the coming four decades were projected using ensembles of three General Circulation Models. Although Wuxi\'s government started a path to implement a low carbon plan, the first results show that more ambitious efforts are needed to overcome the challenges faced.
  • Open access
  • 9 Reads
Circular Urban Systems: Tracing Innovation Processes
Published: 17 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Urban Development
The metabolism of cities bears important anomalies: high levels inflow of resources and large quantities outflow of (hazardous) wastes. In order to decrease cities' environmental footprint, Girardet (1996) and Rogers (1997) suggested making a transition from a linear to a circular urban metabolism. Even though the concept was coined a few decades ago, it still holds prominence among academics and practitioners (see for instance Newman and Jenning 2008; Lehman 2012; Beatley 2012, van Bueren et al 2012). However, few cities have made such a transition. This shows that creating a circular urban metabolism is complex and challenging. Research so far mainly considered the creation of a circular urban metabolism as a technical process. We would like to argue that organisational and institutional aspects of such process are also important for understanding why there are implementation gaps. However these have been understudied. This paper tries to bridge this gap by adopting a different conceptual approach. We consider that the creation of a circular urban metabolism passes through multiple innovation processes. Such processes happen in a systemic manner wherein, not only technical but organisational and institutional solutions and changes are adopted and adapted. In this paper we conceptualise the circular urban systems, as a robust concept to address the anomalies of the metabolism of cities. We discuss how this concept is different from existing one and why we think it can help in better grasping the challenges ahead. We also focus on the kind of insights that can be gained by adopting this new conceptual understanding and how this can open a new agenda for future research.
  • Open access
  • 11 Reads
Energy Storage Systems for Intermittent Renewable Energy Systems
Ahmad Abdelrahman, Lisa Lamont, Lana El Chaar
The demand on other sources of energy especially renewable energy sources have significantly increased in the 21st century bringing to the forefront new problems. One of the main issues is that these energy sources provide intermittent renewable energy which acts as the main obstacle for their application; thus, different energy storage systems are viable to be used as an intermediate system between the generations of that energy to possible commercialization and supply of it. Consequently, energy storage systems are needed to meet all consumer demands periods i.e. base, intermediate and peak load demands. With such careful energy storage device usage, expanding the generation capacity by expanding the power plant is diminished as the supply and demand is met with surplus that is stored in these storage devices. Initially, the paper discusses the benefits of energy storage and its important role in power system operation, control and management. Additionally, the paper mentions briefly the main renewable energy sources i.e. wind, hydro, solar and geothermal power sources. The paper also discusses and assesses the different types of energy storage available for each of these renewable energy sources; Flywheel Storage, Pumped Hydro Storage, Compressed Air Energy Storage, Batteries Energy Storage Systems, Hydrogen Storage, Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage and Super-Capacitor Storage. Furthermore, the paper highlights the upcoming energy storage systems that are still being researched and compares them with the current ones in order to provide a technical aid on these imminent storage systems. The paper aims to not only educate people on the different storage options which are available for alternative energy systems but also to provide enough information so they can make an informed decision on which device to select to ensure that they obtain maximum performance from their renewable energy source.
  • Open access
  • 4 Reads
Survey of Household Energy Use in a Toronto Rental High-rise Multi-unit Residential Building (MURB)
Published: 23 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Related Topics
This paper discusses occupant\'s household energy use, behaviour and satisfaction in one of Toronto\'s rental high-rise multi-unit residential building (MURB). A survey was conducted between April 8 and May 5 2012 with a sample population of 49 residents. The survey consisted of 51 questions about occupant\'s characteristics, appliance and electrical types and usage, heating and cooling equipment, water use, lighting fixtures and usage, indoor environment, thermal comfort, and their lifestyle. Results show that the surveyed population\'s socio-demographics in this paper are similar to occupant predictor trends of household energy use behaviour found in literature. Amongst the surveyed households, for example, older-aged respondents were found to spend more time using their appliances per day and also owning older appliances/devices. Male respondents were found to own and use their appliances/electrical devices more than female respondents as well. Lastly, a similar trend was found for respondents with a longer residency in the building. A comparison analyses between the survey results and a Canadian national household energy use for high-rise apartment dwellings found in Natural Resources Canada\'s survey, SHEU 2007, were also conducted. This survey found that the surveyed respondents are well below the national average on ownership and usage of appliances and electrical devices. Lastly, a correlation analyses showed that seasonal temperature satisfaction within respondent\'s apartment unit is strongly correlated with respondent\'s thermal comfort; for example, satisfaction of the apartment unit temperatures during the summer and how the temperature enhances their thermal comfort was found to have a r= 0.86, p< 0.01. The survey also found that the respondents were dissatisfied with the summer temperatures of their apartment unit compared to the winter temperatures. These results suggest that specific demographics (e.g. males, older-aged, or longer residency respondents) own or use their appliances compared to other occupant characteristics. Furthermore, indoor environment satisfaction can be improved by temperature adjustments within respondent\'s apartment units during the summer. This survey identifies opportunities for improving resident\'s indoor environment satisfaction and household energy use. The concept of tenant engagement and education strategies can further facilitate similar analysis by comparing the energy use and behaviour before and after implemented strategies. Further analysis can also be conducted by assessing respondent\'s survey results to their energy consumption.
  • Open access
  • 12 Reads
Tropical Garden Cities: Cultural Values and Sustainability in the Amazon's "Arc of Deforestation"
Published: 01 November 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Social Values for a Sustainable Economy
In Garden Cities of Tomorrow (1902), Ebenezer Howard proposed a model of sustainable urban development, "garden cities." as an alternative to industrial urbanism. A forerunner of the urban green movement, he envisioned a type of galactic urbanism as an alternative to industrial urbanism. The model proposed tightly integrated networks of towns, each gravitating around a central public park, orbiting around a core town. Towns were linked by well-developed transportation and communication networks and the multi-centric form produced a more subtle gradient between urban and rural areas and coupled with well-developed transportation networks. Recent archaeology and indigenous history conducted in the Upper Xingu area has revealed small garden city-like clusters of settlements, composed of a central plaza settlement and four cardinally oriented satellite plaza settlements, tightly integrated by major roads and surrounded by mosaic countryside of fields, orchards, gardens, and forest. Far from stereotypical models of small tropical forest tribes, these patterns were carefully engineered to work with the forest and wetland ecologies in complex urbanized networks. Such multi-centric, networked forms were quite common, if not typical, in many parts of the pre-Industrial world, particularly major forest regions. This paper explores land-use and dynamic change in coupled human-natural systems, or bio-historical diversity, during the past millennium in the Upper Xingu. In particular, it examines how archaeology and historical memory not only provide means to consider what the Amazon was like 500 years ago but also have vital implications to urgent questions of sustainability and cultural heritage and rights in the face of rapid landscape change related to economic development in the southern Amazon, the "arc of deforestation." It promotes grounded or context-specific participatory approaches to sustainable development, which require robust collaboration between diverse stakeholders, each with very different social and cultural values and interests.
  • Open access
  • 4 Reads
An Improved Method for Estimating Savings in Variable Occupancy Buildings
Statistical energy savings calculations are fundamentally rooted in how well energy data can be normalized against influencing factors. Attempts to predict monthly energy use in academic buildings based strictly on weather as a driver for energy fail because of variable monthly occupancy. A genetic based energy model is used to characterize monthly energy consumption in academic buildings or any other buildings with variable occupancy. Such a model is essential for both estimating savings when changes are made and for continuously commissioning the building. Monthly average outdoor air temperature is considered to reflect the weather driver on energy use. Monthly occupancy is modeled as an integer describing the number of days per month that the academic building is fully occupied. The multi-functional model developed is tested on both simulated and actual academic building energy data. The results demonstrate universally improved correlations.
  • Open access
  • 6 Reads
Urban Development, Cemeteries, and a Need to Remember
Published: 17 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Urban Development
For the majority of its short tenure, the Mt. Pleasant Plains Cemetery (1860-1890), served as the largest African American cemetery in the District of Columbia. However, no sooner than it was founded, local residents and city officials expressed animosity toward the cemetery and had it subsequently condemned and the land reappropriated. Largely succeeding in their efforts to remove the cemetery and the memory of those interred, the lives of more than 8,000 African Americans and several European Americans remain concealed underground for more than a century. In 2005, soil erosion revealed the remains of several burials and with it the memory of the historic cemetery resurfaced. Using data acquired from an on-going archival and archaeological survey, this paper will demonstrate how deliberate attempts to erasure the historic memory of the African American presence have coincided with the disenfranchisement of African Americans in the capital of the United States of America. Furthermore the case of Mt. Pleasant Plains Cemetery serves as an ardent reminder of importance of maintaining public memory in the face of urban development.
  • Open access
  • 9 Reads
Visitor Knowledge and Actions Related to Climate Change and Sustainability in Protected Area Destinations: The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Australia
Published: 26 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Social Values for a Sustainable Economy
This research addresses the role of tourists and tourism in protected area destinations under threat from climate change and other sustainability challenges. Specifically, the study looks at of the issue of a world heritage protected area of strong economic and cultural significant: the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (WHA). Enhancing the adaptive capacity of social systems in destinations vulnerable to climate change is an important social agenda, requiring concerted action by the multiple stakeholders of the destination. Visitors, including area and regionally based residents, plus domestic and international tourists are key stakeholders in the complex tourism system. Their knowledge, perceptions and expectations of these destination places and landscapes are vital to informing marketing, conservation and planning decisions. Yet, troubling gaps exist in studying visitor perceptions, interests and behaviors in the context of climate change and tourism (Gössling et al., 2011). Theoretical and methodological directions to tackle the complex eco-cultural and heritage landscapes that visitors perceive and experience are only just beginning to emerge in the context of climate change and tourism. The paper reports survey research results on visitor knowledge and action related to sustainability and climate change in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) WHA. Over the period 2007 to 2010, 4,672 self-completed surveys were collected from tourists in the departure lounge of the Cairns Domestic Airport, Cairns, Queensland. These addressed a range of issues including motivations and activities of visitors to the GBR WHA, recognition of GBR as a WHA, and willingness to contribute to carbon offsets during their travel. The current 2012 survey, also administered at the Cairns domestic airport, included questions on climate change and sustainability oriented choices made (e.g. choosing ecotourism certified reef operators). This paper discusses the results from the perspective of tourism and the social values of visitors, in the context of world heritage, climate change and sustainability at the Great Barrier Reef WHA.
  • Open access
  • 6 Reads
The Sustainable Performance of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise: Case from Latvia
An enterprise as a core of any economic system has a great impact on sustainable development of a state or region.The operations and development of an enterprise as an economic entity depends on various factors, identification and evaluation of which is crucial for any enterprise. In the opinion of the authors the enterprise\'s performance is influenced by factors which can be grouped into three blocks: macroeconomic factors, demand factors and structure of industry sector. The authors present the conceptual model of factors influencing enterprise\'s performances and analyse factors\' interactions and manifestations of their impact. In order to study an attitude of entrepreneurs towards influence of external environment factors, the authors carried out empiric research with an aim to assess influence of sixteen external environment factors on performance of the enterprise. Besides, the authors create a model of sustainable performing of SMEs on the base of the results obtained from qualitative and quantitative research. External and internal business environment factors influencing effective performance of the enterprise and performance indicators that are to be supervised principally, according to the enterprise life cycle phases are included in the model. The developed model of SME sustainable performing has been tested in the sector of printing in manufacturing industry. Calculations and data processing were carried out using Microsoft Excel and EViews software.
  • Open access
  • 5 Reads
Backcasting for Sustainable Employment
Published: 30 October 2012 by MDPI AG in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Development Policy and Practice
Sustainability and employment are not terms often used together. Sustainability is often treated as something that has mainly to do with environmental issues, and the protection of the environment is not necessarily seen as an important driver of higher employment. However, when we look more closely into the subject and try to leave the boundaries of the current paradigms, we realise how the interests of sustainability and stable employment are indeed intertwined. This paper attempts to show that as soon as we leave the comfortable realms of the current paradigms, we may find potential solutions to a multiple of questions and realise that sustainability and employment can indeed go hand in hand. In order to be able to find adequate supporting tools to "think out of the box", our paper focuses on a new methodological approach, namely backcasting, in relation with the topic of sustainable employment. The paper is divided into two main sections. In the first section we intend to illustrate the main relationships between employment and sustainability. In the second part, through the results of a concrete Hungarian backcasting experiment we demonstrate how the backcasting approach can be used to involve stakeholders creating a normative vision of the future and identifying the necessary policy steps to reach the set goals.
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