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Special Issue "Advances in Sustainability: Selected Papers from the Second World Sustainability Forum (2012)"

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A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Marc A. Rosen (Website)

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Ontario, L1H 7K4, Canada
Fax: +1 905 721 3370
Interests: sustainable development; energy; exergy; efficiency; environmental impact; economics; ecology; sustainable engineering and design

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue comprises selected papers from the Proceedings of the 2nd World Sustainability Forum, an electronic conference that was held on the sciforum.net platform in November 2012. Sustainability and sustainable development cover environmental, social and economic dimensions and require a multi-disciplinary approach in order to examine, explore and critically engage with issues and advances in these and related areas. The 2nd World Sustainability Forum facilitated debates on theoretical and practical investigations, and allowed participants to "make a difference" through on-line discussions. Besides covering the three pillars of sustainable development, other areas were covered including environmental sustainability, corporate sustainability strategy, social values for a sustainable economy, renewable energy self-sufficiency, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, sustainable urban development, sustainable development policy and practice, sustainable entrepreneurship and sustainability innovation, remote sensing for sustainable management of land and biodiversity, and sustainable agriculture. Papers selected for this special issue were subject to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments and applications.

Prof. Dr. Marc A. Rosen
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • environmental sustainability
  • economical sustainability
  • social sustainability
  • corporate sustainability strategy
  • social values for a sustainable economy
  • renewable energy self-sufficiency
  • energy efficiency and renewable energy sources
  • sustainable urban development
  • sustainable development policy and practice
  • sustainable entrepreneurship
  • sustainability innovation and remote sensing for sustainable management of land
  • biodiversity
  • sustainable agriculture

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Heat Transmission Coefficient Measurements in Buildings Utilizing a Heat Loss Measuring Device
Sustainability 2013, 5(8), 3601-3614; doi:10.3390/su5083601
Received: 25 May 2013 / Revised: 9 August 2013 / Accepted: 9 August 2013 / Published: 21 August 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1048 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Global energy efficiency can be obtained in two ordinary ways. One way is to improve the energy production and supply side, and the other way is, in general, to reduce the consumption of energy in society. This paper has focus on the [...] Read more.
Global energy efficiency can be obtained in two ordinary ways. One way is to improve the energy production and supply side, and the other way is, in general, to reduce the consumption of energy in society. This paper has focus on the latter and especially the consumption of energy for heating and cooling our houses. There is a huge energy-saving potential in this area for reducing both the global climate problems as well as economy challenges. Heating of buildings in Denmark accounts for approximately 40% of the entire national energy consumption. For this reason, a reduction of heat losses from building envelopes are of great importance in order to reach the Bologna CO2 emission reduction targets. Upgrading of the energy performance of buildings is a topic of huge global interest these years. Not only heating in the temperate and arctic regions are important, but also air conditioning and mechanical ventilation in the “warm countries” contribute to an enormous energy consumption and corresponding CO2 emission. In order to establish the best basis for upgrading the energy performance, it is important to make measurements of the heat losses at different places on a building facade, in order to optimize the energy performance. This paper presents a method for measuring the heat loss by utilizing a U-value meter. The U-value meter measures the heat transfer in the unit W/Km2 and has been used in several projects to upgrade the energy performance in temperate regions. The U-value meter was also utilized in an EUDP (Energy Technological Development and Demonstration Program) focusing on renovation of houses from the 1960s and 1970s. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainability Indicators Integrating Consumption Patterns in Strategic Environmental Assessment for Urban Planning
Sustainability 2013, 5(8), 3426-3446; doi:10.3390/su5083426
Received: 7 May 2013 / Revised: 19 July 2013 / Accepted: 22 July 2013 / Published: 12 August 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (858 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) practices in Europe have been traditionally applied to assess potential environmental impacts due to socio-economic drivers implying specific land use (viz. infrastructure, building and industrial development). However, other socioeconomic drivers related to citizen behavior, such as [...] Read more.
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) practices in Europe have been traditionally applied to assess potential environmental impacts due to socio-economic drivers implying specific land use (viz. infrastructure, building and industrial development). However, other socioeconomic drivers related to citizen behavior, such as household consumption, may significantly contribute to the overall local impacts, but are usually neglected in SEA. Aiming at enlarging the traditional approaches adopted in SEA, the present study integrates two environmental sustainability indicators capturing different aspects of consumption patterns: ecological footprint and carbon balance. The two indicators are calculated in addition to a more traditional set of environmental indicators in order to: (i) understand if the level of consumption of the local community exceeds the limits of natural resources of the area (in a perspective of self-sustainment at the local scale); and (ii) identify the role of spatial planning choices in determining the environmental sustainability of the entire system. The two indicators are calculated and discussed in the context of the SEA of the urban master plans of four municipalities in northern Italy. The two indicators may represent a good proxy for lifestyle impacts, even if some strengths and weaknesses arose from the application to the case study. Full article
Open AccessArticle On Track to Become a Low Carbon Future City? First Findings of the Integrated Status Quo and Trends Assessment of the Pilot City of Wuxi in China
Sustainability 2013, 5(8), 3224-3243; doi:10.3390/su5083224
Received: 13 May 2013 / Revised: 11 July 2013 / Accepted: 12 July 2013 / Published: 31 July 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (620 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Low Carbon Future Cities (LCFC) project aims at facing a three dimensional challenge by developing an integrated city roadmap balancing: low carbon development, gains in resource efficiency and adaptation to climate change. The paper gives an overview of the first outcomes [...] Read more.
The Low Carbon Future Cities (LCFC) project aims at facing a three dimensional challenge by developing an integrated city roadmap balancing: low carbon development, gains in resource efficiency and adaptation to climate change. The paper gives an overview of the 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 Chinese pilot city for the LCFC project. As a first step, a detailed emission inventory following the IPCC guidelines for Wuxi has been carried out. In a second step, the future development of energy demand and related CO2 emissions in 2050 were simulated in a current policy scenario (CPS). In parallel, selected aspects of material and water flows for the energy and the building sector were analyzed and modeled. In addition, recent and future climate impacts and vulnerability were investigated. Based on these findings, nine key sectors with high relevance to the three dimensions could be identified. Although Wuxi’s government has started a path to implement a low carbon plan, the first results show that, for the shift towards a sustainable low carbon development, more ambitious steps need to be taken in order to overcome the challenges faced. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Urban Architecture as Connective-Collective Intelligence. Which Spaces of Interaction?
Sustainability 2013, 5(7), 2928-2943; doi:10.3390/su5072928
Received: 22 April 2013 / Revised: 24 June 2013 / Accepted: 26 June 2013 / Published: 4 July 2013
PDF Full-text (1384 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
During the twentieth century, with the advent of industrial society and globalization, the language of planning changed according to the shifts in construction and use of physical space. By borrowing terms and spatial forms from biology and cybernetics, industrial society and globalization [...] Read more.
During the twentieth century, with the advent of industrial society and globalization, the language of planning changed according to the shifts in construction and use of physical space. By borrowing terms and spatial forms from biology and cybernetics, industrial society and globalization increased the original semantic connotations. Moving from cognitive sciences, this paper outlines the definition of architecture as connective-collective intelligence and presents its implication in urban design. Spontaneous and commercial initiatives are redefining the communication form of urban life, affecting the procedures of the transmission of traditional knowledge. This approach to building environment is moving towards a complex multichannel interaction, involving both the individual and the collective experiences of space and technology. In describing some signs of that process, the authors outline new features that are changing the concept of sustainability in urban design. Full article
Open AccessArticle Shared Urban Greywater Recycling Systems: Water Resource Savings and Economic Investment
Sustainability 2013, 5(7), 2887-2912; doi:10.3390/su5072887
Received: 28 April 2013 / Revised: 6 June 2013 / Accepted: 21 June 2013 / Published: 3 July 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1394 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The water industry is becoming increasingly aware of the risks associated with urban supplies not meeting demands by 2050. Greywater (GW) recycling for non-potable uses (e.g., urinal and toilet flushing) provides an urban water management strategy to help alleviate this risk by [...] Read more.
The water industry is becoming increasingly aware of the risks associated with urban supplies not meeting demands by 2050. Greywater (GW) recycling for non-potable uses (e.g., urinal and toilet flushing) provides an urban water management strategy to help alleviate this risk by reducing main water demands. This paper proposes an innovative cross connected system that collects GW from residential buildings and recycles it for toilet/urinal flushing in both residential and office buildings. The capital cost (CAPEX), operational cost (OPEX) and water saving potential are calculated for individual and shared residential and office buildings in an urban mixed-use regeneration area in the UK, assuming two different treatment processes; a membrane bioreactor (MBR) and a vertical flow constructed wetland (VFCW). The Net Present Value (NPV) method was used to compare the financial performance of each considered scenario, from where it was found that a shared GW recycling system (MBR) was the most economically viable option. The sensitivity of this financial model was assessed, considering four parameters (i.e., water supply and sewerage charges, discount rate(s), service life and improved technological efficiency, e.g., low flush toilets, low shower heads, etc.), from where it was found that shared GW systems performed best in the long-term. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Critical Assessment and Projection of Urban Vertical Growth in Antofagasta, Chile
Sustainability 2013, 5(7), 2840-2855; doi:10.3390/su5072840
Received: 4 May 2013 / Revised: 7 June 2013 / Accepted: 18 June 2013 / Published: 27 June 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2411 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Vertical cities’ growth is argument of discussion worldwide. Population increases and a better soil use are needed, in terms of efficiency and density, in many cities of the world. However, an excessive vertical growth seems to be harmful, especially near the green [...] Read more.
Vertical cities’ growth is argument of discussion worldwide. Population increases and a better soil use are needed, in terms of efficiency and density, in many cities of the world. However, an excessive vertical growth seems to be harmful, especially near the green areas of midtowns. In this paper, the case of Antofagasta is studied. The paper studies different possible future evolutions searching for a bearable development, respecting the society needs and the environment. Parameters analyzed are: temperature, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction in the studied area. Results show the impact of building growth in terms of overheating and wind reduction on the ground area studied. Additionally, the social impact of living in towers is also discussed in the paper, searching for better design in order to guarantee user’s comfort, satisfaction and stimulation in their residences. Thermal, visual and acoustical effects produced by towers are considered in the critical evaluation of the Antofagasta city evolution. Part of this work relates to architectural workshop “energy and architecture” conducted by the authors at the School of Architecture of the Catholic University of the North (UCN) in 2012. Full article
Open AccessArticle What Do the IUCN Categories Really Protect? A Case Study of the Alpine Regions in Spain
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2367-2388; doi:10.3390/su5062367
Received: 27 February 2013 / Revised: 24 April 2013 / Accepted: 10 May 2013 / Published: 28 May 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (366 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Protected area (PA) coverage is used as an indicator of biodiversity protection worldwide. The effectiveness of using PAs as indicators has been questioned due to the diversity of categories encompassed by such designations, especially in PAs established for purposes other than biodiversity [...] Read more.
Protected area (PA) coverage is used as an indicator of biodiversity protection worldwide. The effectiveness of using PAs as indicators has been questioned due to the diversity of categories encompassed by such designations, especially in PAs established for purposes other than biodiversity protection. Although international standards have been developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the policies on the ground have been developed independently of the IUCN categories, thus making the IUCN categories dubious measures of biodiversity conservation. Management plans are crucial for the effective management of parks and for guidance on how biodiversity maintenance should be prioritized relative to other goals. We therefore analyzed the aims and regulations of the management plans of alpine PAs in Spain as a first step in evaluating conservation performance. We used content analysis and correspondence analysis of instrumental variables (CAiv) to assess how aims and regulations vary in relation to three explanatory factors: IUCN categories, vegetation zones and autonomous communities. We found that the aims of many parks were vague, without clear indications of how to prioritize biodiversity goals. Furthermore, only 50% of the parks studied had any management plan, which strengthens our argument concerning the lack of clear guidance in PA management. Although certain aims were correlated with the IUCN categories, the regulations showed no clear relationship to international policies, which indicates that these aims do not necessarily influence management practices. Devolution to autonomous communities could be one explanation for the large variation in management practices among parks. Further studies are needed to evaluate the impact of such management policies on biodiversity. Full article
Open AccessArticle Consistent Aggregation of Generalized Sustainable Values from the Firm Level to Sectoral, Regional or Industry Levels
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1568-1576; doi:10.3390/su5041568
Received: 11 February 2013 / Revised: 28 March 2013 / Accepted: 28 March 2013 / Published: 11 April 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (249 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This study presents a systematic method for aggregating firm level sustainable value indicators to sector, region or industry levels. The proposed method applies the generalized sustainable value that is based on frontier production functions. The method is illustrated by an empirical application [...] Read more.
This study presents a systematic method for aggregating firm level sustainable value indicators to sector, region or industry levels. The proposed method applies the generalized sustainable value that is based on frontier production functions. The method is illustrated by an empirical application to the Finnish crop and dairy sectors, where the benchmark technology is estimated by data envelopment analysis. Our efficiency assessment shows that the representative crop farm achieves only about a half of its potential output. Efficiency of the representative dairy farm is somewhat higher. Full article
Open AccessArticle Approaching the Processes in the Generator Circuit Breaker at Disconnection through Sustainability Concepts
Sustainability 2013, 5(3), 1161-1176; doi:10.3390/su5031161
Received: 16 January 2013 / Revised: 20 February 2013 / Accepted: 4 March 2013 / Published: 19 March 2013
PDF Full-text (2125 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nowadays, the electric connection circuits of power plants (based on fossil fuels as well as renewable sources) entail generator circuit-breakers (GCBs) at the generator terminals, since the presence of that electric equipment offers many advantages related to the sustainability of a power [...] Read more.
Nowadays, the electric connection circuits of power plants (based on fossil fuels as well as renewable sources) entail generator circuit-breakers (GCBs) at the generator terminals, since the presence of that electric equipment offers many advantages related to the sustainability of a power plant. In an alternating current (a.c.) circuit the interruption of a short circuit is performed by the circuit-breaker at the natural passing through zero of the short-circuit current. During the current interruption, an electric arc is generated between the opened contacts of the circuit-breaker. This arc must be cooled and extinguished in a controlled way. Since the synchronous generator stator can flow via highly asymmetrical short-circuit currents, the phenomena which occur in the case of short-circuit currents interruption determine the main stresses of the generator circuit-breaker; the current interruption requirements of a GCB are significantly higher than for the distribution network circuit breakers. For shedding light on the proper moment when the generator circuit-breaker must operate, using the space phasor of the short-circuit currents, the time expression to the first zero passing of the short-circuit current is determined. Here, the manner is investigated in which various factors influence the delay of the zero passing of the short-circuit current. It is shown that the delay time is influenced by the synchronous machine parameters and by the load conditions which precede the short-circuit. Numerical simulations were conducted of the asymmetrical currents in the case of the sudden three-phase short circuit at the terminals of synchronous generators. Further in this study it is emphasized that although the phenomena produced in the electric arc at the terminals of the circuit-breaker are complicated and not completely explained, the concept of exergy is useful in understanding the physical phenomena. The article points out that just after the short-circuit current interruption by the generator the circuit-breaker (when the GCB has been subjected at the metal contact terminals to the high temperature of a plasma arc, up to 50,000 K) between its opened contacts, there arises the transient recovery voltage (TRV) which constitutes the most important dielectric stress after the electric arc extinction. Since the magnitude and shape of the TRV occurring across the generator circuit-breaker are critical parameters in the recovering gap after the current zero, in this paper, we model, for the case of the faults fed by the main step-up transformer, the equivalent configurations, with operational impedances, for the TRV calculation, taking into account the main transformer parameters, on the basis of the symmetrical components method. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview Managing Sustainability of Fennoscandian Forests and Their Use by Law and/or Agreement: For Whom and Which Purpose?
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 18-49; doi:10.3390/su6010018
Received: 27 September 2013 / Revised: 29 November 2013 / Accepted: 3 December 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
PDF Full-text (681 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability and sustainable behaviour is of crucial importance in the management of Fennoscandian forests and forest-related industries. This paper reviews a number of voluntary instruments, which aim at promoting or assessing sustainability impacts at different levels. The multitude of available instruments brings [...] Read more.
Sustainability and sustainable behaviour is of crucial importance in the management of Fennoscandian forests and forest-related industries. This paper reviews a number of voluntary instruments, which aim at promoting or assessing sustainability impacts at different levels. The multitude of available instruments brings confusion in practice, where companies, consumers and investors meet legal and different voluntary regulatory and non-regulatory instruments. The practical suitability and covered sustainability dimension for each instrument is reviewed with an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, actors and purposes for assessing different aspects of sustainability. Each of them is compared against the other in an overview about which sustainability dimensions they cover (workplace, human rights, community, market place, environment, economy). Results highlight covered, overlapping and missing aspects for each approach and how they can support or reinforce each other. Special attention is given to current approaches in impact assessment, particularly on their areas of application (companies, NGOs, products, operations, production practices, etc.), and recommendations for supplementing it with sustainability impact assessment. Full article
Open AccessReview A Review of the Modelling of Thermally Interacting Multiple Boreholes
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2519-2536; doi:10.3390/su5062519
Received: 11 April 2013 / Revised: 14 May 2013 / Accepted: 27 May 2013 / Published: 6 June 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (575 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Much attention is now focused on utilizing ground heat pumps for heating and cooling buildings, as well as water heating, refrigeration and other thermal tasks. Modeling such systems is important for understanding, designing and optimizing their performance and characteristics. Several heat transfer [...] Read more.
Much attention is now focused on utilizing ground heat pumps for heating and cooling buildings, as well as water heating, refrigeration and other thermal tasks. Modeling such systems is important for understanding, designing and optimizing their performance and characteristics. Several heat transfer models exist for ground heat exchangers. In this review article, challenges of modelling heat transfer in vertical heat exchangers are described, some analytical and numerical models are reviewed and compared, recent related developments are described and the importance of modelling these systems is discussed from a variety of aspects, such as sustainability of geothermal systems or their potential impacts on the ecosystems nearby. Full article

Other

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Open AccessBrief Report Advances in Sustainability: Contributions and Outcomes of the 2nd World Sustainability Forum
Sustainability 2013, 5(3), 1208-1210; doi:10.3390/su5031208
Received: 13 March 2013 / Accepted: 13 March 2013 / Published: 19 March 2013
PDF Full-text (391 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
After a successful start in 2011, the 2nd World Sustainability Forum (WSF) was held on sciforum.net from 1–30 November 2012. More than 80 papers were presented and over 180 authors contributed to the multidisciplinary conference. The objective of this short report is [...] Read more.
After a successful start in 2011, the 2nd World Sustainability Forum (WSF) was held on sciforum.net from 1–30 November 2012. More than 80 papers were presented and over 180 authors contributed to the multidisciplinary conference. The objective of this short report is to sum up the contributions and discussions of the 2nd World Sustainability Forum. It is organized as follows. First, some general information on the Forum is given, then a summary of the contributions to the different sections, as well as providing an overview of the discussions. A final section including an outlook to the 3rd World Sustainability Forum concludes the article. Full article

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