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Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management


A collection of scholarly work published by and supporting the Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management (CESEM) at Arizona State University.

CESEM focuses on "earth systems engineering and management," providing a basis for understanding, designing, and managing the complex integrated built/human/natural systems that increasingly characterize our planet.

Works in this collection are particularly important in linking engineering, technology, and sustainability, and are increasingly intertwined with the work of ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS).


Date Range
2010 2018


Already the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States, extreme heat events (EHEs) are expected to occur with greater frequency, duration and intensity over the next century. However, not all populations are affected equally. Risk factors for heat mortality—including age, race, income level, and infrastructure characteristics—often vary by geospatial location. While traditional epidemiological studies sometimes account for social risk factors, they rarely account for intra-urban variability in meteorological characteristics, or for the interaction between social and meteorological risks. This study aims to develop estimates of EHEs at an intra-urban scale for two major metropolitan areas in the Southwest: …

Contributors
Bartos, Matthew, Chester, Mikhail
Created Date
2014-06-12

Urban landscaping palm tree waste in the form of palm frond trimmings and bark shavings currently handled as municipal solid waste by the City of Phoenix, and other major municipalities, can be more cost effective and lead to reductions in emissions and greenhouse gases. While many cities have green organics collection and diversion programs, they always exclude palm tree waste due to its unique properties. As a result, an unknown tonnage of palm tree waste is landfilled as municipal solid waste annually. Additionally, as the tonnage is unknown, so are the associated emissions, greenhouse gases and costs. An attributional life-­‐ …

Contributors
Antaya, David
Created Date
2013-05

This document has been superseded by our peer-reviewed publication: Building Thermal Performance, Climate Change, and Urban Heat Vulnerability, Matthew Nahlik, Mikhail Chester, Stephanie Pincetl, David Eisenman, Deepak Sivaraman, and Paul English, 2017, ASCE Journal of Infrastructure Systems, 23(3), doi:10.1061/(ASCE)IS.1943-555X.0000349 The publication is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)IS.1943-555X.0000349 The leading source of weather-related deaths in the United States is heat, and future projections show that the frequency, duration, and intensity of heat events will increase in the Southwest. Presently, there is a dearth of knowledge about how infrastructure may perform during heat waves or could contribute to social vulnerability. To understand how buildings …

Contributors
Nahlik, Matthew, Chester, Mikhail, Pincetl, Stephanie, et al.

This LCA used data from a previous LCA done by Chester and Horvath (2012) on the proposed California High Speed Rail, and furthered the LCA to look into potential changes that can be made to the proposed CAHSR to be more resilient to climate change. This LCA focused on the energy, cost, and GHG emissions associated with raising the track, adding fly ash to the concrete mixture in place of a percentage of cement, and running the HSR on solar electricity rather than the current electricity mix. Data was collected from a variety of sources including other LCAs, research studies, …

Contributors
Barnes, Elizabeth
Created Date
2014-06-13

The Food-Energy-Water (FEW) nexus is the interaction and the interdependence of the food, energy and water systems. These interdependencies exist in all parts of the world yet little knowledge exists of the complexity within these interdependent systems. Using Arizona as a case study, systems-oriented frameworks are examined for their value in revealing the complexity of FEW nexus. Industrial Symbiosis, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Urban Metabolism are examined. The Industrial Symbiosis presents the system as purely a technical one and looks only at technology and hard infrastructure. The LCA framework takes a reductionist approach and tries to make the system …

Contributors
Natarajan, Mukunth, Chester, Mikhail

The ultimate goal of this LCA is to give Arizona State University specific advice on possible changes in lighting systems that will reduce environmental impacts and support ASU’s sustainability efforts. The aim is to assess the potential for a decrease in specific environmental impacts (CO2 emissions and energy use) and economic impact (cost) from changing to a different type of lighting in a prototypical classroom in Wrigley Hall. The scope of this assessment is to analyze the impacts of T8 lamps lasting 50,000 hours. Thus, a functional unit was defined as 50,000 hours of use, maintaining roughly 825 lumens. To …

Contributors
Helble, Parker, Hoff, Elena, Stein, Andy, et al.
Created Date
2014-06-13

In an effort to provide drinking water treatment options that are simple to operate, two hybrid resins have been developed that can treat multiple pollutants in a single step. A parent weak base anion exchange resin is embedded with nanoparticles made of either iron hydroxide or titanium dioxide (Fe-WBAX and Ti-WBAX, respectively). These provide targeted treatment for both arsenic and hexavalent chromium, common groundwater pollutants of recent regulatory significance. The project goal is to evaluate the environmentally preferable choice between Fe-WBAX and Ti-WBAX resin for simultaneous treatment of arsenic and hexavalent chromium in drinking water. The secondary goal is to …

Contributors
Glifford, Mac
Created Date
2014-06-13

Healthcare infection control has led to increased utilization of disposable medical devices, which has subsequently led to increased adverse environmental effects attributed to healthcare and its supply chain. In dental practice, the dental bur is a commonly used instrument that can either be reused or used once and then disposed. To evaluate the disparities in environmental impacts of disposable and reusable dental burs, a comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) was performed. The comparative LCA evaluated a reusable dental bur (specifically, a 2.00mm Internal Irrigation Pilot Drill) reused 30 instances versus 30 identical burs used as disposables. The LCA methodology was …

Contributors
Unger, Scott
Created Date
2013-05

This paper researches an attributional life-cycle assessment (ALCA) of a commonly used consumer product, specifically one bottle of 8-ounce Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion. This LCA analyzed the impacts associated from cradle-to-grave processes of one bottle of Aveeno Daily Moisturizing lotion, including raw material extraction, raw material processing, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, use and end-of-life of both the lotion itself as well as the bottle. To successfully propose end-of-life management techniques, three different disposal options were analyzed: landfill disposal, incineration and recycling. All processes included in the system boundary were compared across three main midpoint impact categories: Fossil depletion, Freshwater depletion and …

Contributors
Faught, David, Mann, Chelsea, Thakur, Ankita, et al.
Created Date
2014-06-13

There is increasing evidence that vehicle travel in developed countries may have peaked, contradicting many historical travel demand forecasts. The underlying causes of this peaking are still under debate and there has been a mobilization of research, largely focused at national scales, to study the explanatory drivers. There is, however, a dearth of research focused at the metropolitan scale where transportation policy and planning are frequently decided. Using Los Angeles County, California, as a case study, we investigate the Peak Car theory and whether social, economic, and technical factors, including roadways that have become saturated at times, may be contributing …

Contributors
Fraser, Andrew, Chester, Mikhail