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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


California high-speed rail will add a new long-distance transportation service and has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and damages to human health and the environment. A life-cycle assessment is performed and results reported for the California corridor in the 2030 to 2050 time period. Several future infrastructure and operating characteristics are evaluated to determine the critical characteristics that should be focused on when designing, constructing, and operating the system. This research provides results for and discussions of the possible futures of California long-distance transportation service with a focus on a multi-modal system that includes high-speed rail.

Contributors
Chester, Mikhail, Horvath, Arpad
Created Date
2012-04-11

This document has been superseded by our peer-reviewed publication: Household Accessibility to Heat Refuges: Residential Air Conditioning, Public Cooled Space, and Walkability, Preprint Online 2016 (Final Publication Expected 2017), Andrew Fraser, Mikhail Chester, David Eisenman, David Hondula, Stephanie Pincetl, Paul English, and Emily Bondank, Environment and Planning B, Volume and Issue Forthcoming, doi: 10.1177/0265813516657342. The publication is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0265813516657342 Access to air conditioned space is critical for protecting urban populations from the adverse effects of heat exposure. Yet there remains fairly limited knowledge of penetration of private (home air conditioning) and distribution of public (cooling centers and commercial space) …

Contributors
Fraser, Andrew, Chester, Mikhail, Eisenman, David, et al.

The US-Canadian electricity grid is a network of providers and users that operate almost completely independently of one another. In August of 2003, First Energy’s (FE) Harding-Chamberlain transmission line near Akron, Ohio went offline starting a series of cascading failures that eventually led to 8 US states and 1 Canadian province totaling nearly 50 million people without power. The failure of transmission lines are common occurrences relating to the inability to exactly predict the electricity demand at any time (as will be discussed later in this document). The inability to properly monitor and react across multiple organizations to the downed …

Contributors
Chester, Mikhail

Our study calculates the estimated difference in water use, energy demands, and CO2 emissions of head lettuce associated with the production (land preparation and growing operations, chemical inputs, irrigation) and the transportation (diesel demand) to the Phoenix metro area from: 1) a local level, defined here as within Maricopa County, Arizona (AZ) and 2) from the central coast of California (CA) in Monterey County. Our research results demonstrate that local lettuce is more resource intensive than non-local or regional produce. Production in Maricopa County has significantly higher (more than double) energy demands and emissions than Monterey County. Irrigation and chemical …

Contributors
Schoon, Briar, Talbot, Kathleen, Xiong, Angie
Created Date
2012-05

This paper’s intent is to explore the environmental gap analysis tool, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), as it pertains to the decision-making process. As LCA is more frequently utilized as a measurement of environmental impact, it is prudent to understand the historical and potential impact that LCA has had or can have on its inclusion in public policy domain - specifically as it intersects the anticipatory governance framework and the supporting decision-making precautionary principle framework. For that purpose, LCA will be examined in partnership with the Precautionary Principle in order to establish practical application. LCA and Precautionary Principle have been used …

Contributors
Culver, James, Davis-Welty, Joshua, Kao, Karen
Created Date
2013-05

Better methods are necessary to fully account for anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems and the essential services provided by ecosystems that sustain human life. Current methods for assessing sustainability, such as life cycle assessment (LCA), typically focus on easily quantifiable indicators such as air emissions with no accounting for the essential ecosystem benefits that support human or industrial processes. For this reason, more comprehensive, transparent, and robust methods are necessary for holistic understanding of urban technosphere and ecosphere systems, including their interfaces. Incorporating ecosystem service indicators into LCA is an important step in spanning this knowledge gap. For urban systems, many …

Contributors
Ferrell, Janet, Chester, Mikhail

This research study present a life cycle assessment comparing the potential environmental impacts of two concrete construction methods used for building construction projects: Pre-cast and Cast-in-place concrete. The objective of the study was to provide a beneficial assessment of the potential environmental impacts by quantifying global warming potential, acidification and eutrophication associated with the two construction methods. Data for the two construction methods came from numerous industry reports and relatively recent journal article publications on the subject, although a majority of the data came from the Portland Cement Association’s Annual U.S. and Canadian Labor Energy Input Survey.

Contributors
Ramsey, David, Ghosh, Arundhati, Abbaszadegan, Amin, et al.
Created Date
2014-06-13

This study seeks to examine how the introduction of residential solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) will affect urban air quality. Both the life-cycle and operations emissions profiles of an SOFC are compared with the baseload electricity generating technologies that widespread adoption of SOFCs would replace – coal fired, natural gas combined cycle, and nuclear. The monetary impacts from use phase emissions are then assessed in five water-vulnerable cities in which SOFCs would likely be adopted in order to increase local resilience to electricity failures as a result of water shortages. The SOFC system under study is a 1 kWe system …

Contributors
Herron, Seth
Created Date
2012-05

An increase in population and need to protect the planet has created many initiatives and research goals in developing alternatives methods of fueling. Federal and state policies have provided a push for industries to find ways to of reducing their impact on the environment while maintaining competitiveness. In the sector of alternative fuels, large policies such as the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) in the United States are making goals to reduce vehicular fuel from coal and oil, and focus on alternative fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. Along with the RFS and other federal policies, states are introducing independent initiatives …

Contributors
Harden, Cheyenne
Created Date
2013-05

This paper applies LCA methodology using local variables to assess the environmental impacts of the food grade glass containers that are disposed of on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus throughout their two distinct end-of-life scenarios: glass to be recycled or glass to be sent to the landfill as refuse.

Contributors
Johnson, Sam, Kaehr, Andrew, Vietti, Alexandra
Created Date
2013-05