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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


Meaningful sustainable consumption patterns require informed consumers who understand the actual impact of their actions on a quantitative and tangible basis. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool well suited to achieving this goal, but has only been superficially applied to the analysis of plant-based diets. This analysis looks at a common component of plant-based meat alternatives: a wheat-based protein known as seitan, which is a common substitute for beef. A comparative consequential analysis shows the overall change in environmental impact when 1000 servings of seitan displace 1000 servings of beef. The functional unit for comparison is one serving of ...

Contributors
Berardy, Andrew
Created Date
2012-05

Sonoma County, CA is on an ambitious pathway to meeting stringent carbon emissions goals that are part of California Assembly Bill 32. At the county-level, climate planners are currently evaluating options to assist residents of the county in reducing their carbon footprint and also for saving money. The Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) is one such county-level measure that is currently underway. SCEIP is a revolving loan fund that eligible residents may utilize to install distributed solar energy on their property. The fund operates like a property tax assessment, except that it only remains for a period of 20 ...

Contributors
Krause, Andrew
Created Date
2012-05

Our objectives are to: (1) review the LCA literature to determine the dominant environmental impact categories in wild-caught fisheries in order to evaluate which phases are causing the greatest impacts; and (2) determine how these impacts can best be mitigated and develop a framework that seeks to incorporates LCA into sustainable seafood guides so that consumers can make better-informed decisions. This framework will include developing meaningful LCA impact categories for sustainable seafood guides. Despite their importance, we considered social factors beyond the scope of this paper.

Contributors
Senko, Jesse
Created Date
2012-05

The objective of this work is to perform LCAs three wastewater treatement alternatives at battalion-sized (500 soldier) FOBs. Three systems will be explored: traditional wastewater treatment of combined blackwater and graywater streams using activated sludge and anaerobic digestion (the status quo); MXC treatment of blackwater to produce H2O2 for disinfection of blackwater and graywater; a hybrid system of blackwater treatments with MXCs to produce electricity with graywater disinfection using H2O2 produced offsite. Environmental impacts are assessed using Impact 2002+ midpoint and endpoint categories, primarily reported for human health and environmental impacts. Uncertainity analysis is performed using two techniques. First, a ...

Contributors
Young, Michelle
Created Date
2014-06-13

Here I plan to use CLCA to evaluate the environmental impact (and economy by using MFA??) by changing traditional crop to AVP1 GM crop. In this study I will compare wild type (WT) and AVP1 transgenic romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa cv. conquistador). This is a study of P fertilizer being applied on romaine lettuce from gate to grave and making a comparison between WT and AVP1 romaine lettuce. The system boundary would be commercial P fertilizers applied on all lettuce in the U.S. The lettuce includes head lettuce, leaf lettuce, and romaine lettuce. The amount of P fertilizers such as ...

Contributors
Chan, Neng Iong
Created Date
2014-06-13

This study analyzes the feasibility of using algae cultivated from wastewater effluent to produce a biodiesel feedstock. The goal was to determine if the energy produced was greater than the operational energy consumed without consideration to constructing the system as well as the emissions and economic value associated with the process. Four scenarios were created; 1) high-lipid, dry extraction, 2) high-lipid, wet extraction, 3) low-lipid, dry extraction and, 4) low-lipid, wet extraction. In all cases the system required more energy than it produced. In high lipid scenarios the energy produced is close to the energy consumed and with minor improvements ...

Contributors
Barr, William, Hottle, Troy
Created Date
2012-05

In the economic crisis Detroit has been enduring for many decades, a unique crisis has emerged with the provision of water that is normally not seen in the developed world. The oversized, deteriorating, and underfunded water provision system has been steadily accruing debt for the water utility since population began to decrease in the 1950’s. As a result, the utility has instated rate increases and aggressive water shut off policies for non-paying residents. Residents have consequentially claimed that their human right to water has been breeched. In this report, I analyze possible solutions to the water crisis from both the ...

Contributors
Bondank, Emily

Hemcrete is an alternative, environmentally‐friendly building material gaining adherents in Great Britain and other European countries. It is an attractive choice as a building material because it is made from a renewable resource, hemp, a hardy plant that is a close, but non‐hallucinogenic relative of marijuana. This plant is relatively easy to cultivate, requires little in the way of pesticides or fertilizers, and almost all parts can be used for various products from paper to textiles to food. Hemcrete is made from a mixture of lime, water, and the fibrous outer portion of the hemp plant called the “hurd” or ...

Contributors
Dolins, Sigma, Guiley, Keith, Poletti, Joseph, et al.
Created Date
2013-05

Anticipatory LCA seeks to overcome the paucity of data through scenario development and thermodynamic bounding analyses. Critical components of anticipatory LCA include: 1) laboratory-scale inventory data collection for nano-manufacturing processes, and preliminary performance evaluation, 2) thermodynamic modeling of manufacturing processes and developing scenarios of efficiency gains informed by analogous material processing industries, and 3) use-phase bounding to report inventory data in a functional unit descriptive of performance. Together these analyses may call attention to environmentally problematic processes or nanotechnologies before significant investments in R&D and infrastructure contribute to technology lock in. The following case study applies these components of anticipatory ...

Contributors
Wender, Ben
Created Date
2012-05

In the spring of 2016, The City of Apache Junction partnered with the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University on three forward-thinking plans for development in Apache Junction. Graduate students in the Urban and Environmental Planning program worked alongside City staff, elected officials and the public to identify opportunities and visions for 1) multi-modal access and connectivity improvements for City streets and open space; 2) downtown development; and 3) a master-planned community on state land south of the U.S. 60. The following sections of the report present Apache Junction’s unique characteristics, current resident demographics, development ...

Contributors
Barr, Jason, Bolen, Spencer, Chen, Dian, et al.

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

Earth Systems Engineering and Management (ESEM) is a framework for both discussing and addressing the adaptive management of complex socio-ecological systems (SES). Governance of emerging technologies is an SES challenge that demonstrates all the classic symptoms of a wicked problem. This paper surveys governance literature in light of the ESEM principles and explores the potential for using the principles of ESEM as a mechanism for governance, addressing particularly ESEM’s overlap with the recently promulgated anticipatory governance as defined by its three pillars of foresight, engagement, and integration. This paper demonstrates that the intersection of these concepts is significant and concludes ...

Contributors
Roberts, Tom

Results are available at www.transportationlca.org The environmental life cycle assessment of electric rail public transit modes requires an assessment of electricity generation mixes. The provision of electricity to a region does not usually adhere to geopolitical boundaries. Electricity is governed based on lowest cost marginal dispatch and reliability principles. Additionally, there are times when a public transit agency may purchase wholesale electricity from a particular service provider. Such is the case with electric rail modes in the San Francisco Bay Area. An environmental life cycle assessment of San Francisco Bay Area public transit systems was developed by Chester and Horvath ...

Contributors
Chester, Mikhail

Public transit systems are often accepted as energy and environmental improvements to automobile travel, however, few life cycle assessments exist to understand the effects of implementation of transit policy decisions. To better inform decision-makers, this project evaluates the decision to construct and operate public transportation systems and the expected energy and environmental benefits over continued automobile use. The public transit systems are selected based on screening criteria. Initial screening included advanced implementation (5 to 10 years so change in ridership could be observed), similar geographic regions to ensure consistency of analysis parameters, common transit agencies or authorities to ensure a ...

Contributors
Chester, Mikhail, Eisenstein, William, Pincetl, Stephanie, et al.

Many relationships exist between humans and their animal companions. Regardless of the relationship, the costs of pet ownership are more than just veterinary bills and the purchase of pet food. The purpose of this study is to examine the environmental impacts associated with ownership of canus lupus familiaris, more commonly known as the domesticated dog. Since dogs are carnivorous by nature, there has already been significant interest in the ecological ‘pawprint’ of pet food, or the pressure that dog food production exerts on the environment. This study utilizes Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to determine the environmental impacts of industrial pet ...

Contributors
Rushforth, Richard, Moreau, Michael
Created Date
2013-05

With potential for automobiles to cause air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions relative to other modes, there is concern that automobiles accessing or egressing public transportation may significantly increase human and environmental impacts from door-to-door transit trips. Yet little rigorous work has been developed that quantitatively assesses the effects of transit access or egress by automobiles. This research evaluates the life-cycle impacts of first and last mile trips on multimodal transit. A case study of transit and automobile travel in the greater Los Angeles region is developed. First and last mile automobile trips were found to increase multimodal transit trip ...

Contributors
Christopher, Hoehne, Chester, Mikhail

Recent developments in computational software and public accessibility of gridded climatological data have enabled researchers to study Urban Heat Island (UHI) effects more systematically and at a higher spatial resolution. Previous studies have analyzed UHI and identified significant contributors at the regional level for cities, within the topology of urban canyons, and for different construction materials. In UHIs, air is heated by the convective energy transfer from land surface materials and anthropogenic activities. Convection is dependent upon the temperature of the surface, temperature of the air, wind speed, and relative humidity. At the same time, air temperature is also influenced ...

Contributors
Burillo, Daniel, Chester, Mikhail, Kaloush, Kamil, et al.

Recent climatic trends show more flooding and extreme heat events and in the future transportation infrastructure may be susceptible to more frequent and intense environmental perturbations. Our transportation systems have largely been designed to withstand historical weather events, for example, floods that occur at an intensity that is experience once every 100 years, and there is evidence that these events are expected become more frequent. There are increasing efforts to better understand the impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure. An abundance of new research is emerging to study various aspects of climate change on transportation systems. Much of this ...

Contributors
Chester, Mikhail, Fraser, Andrew, Bartos, Matthew

Climatic changes have the potential to impact electricity generation in the U.S. Southwest and methods are needed for estimating how cities will be impacted. This study builds an electricity vulnerability risk index for two Southwest cities (Phoenix and Los Angeles) based on climate-related changes in electricity generation capacity. Planning reserve margins (PRM) are used to estimate the potential for blackouts and brownouts under future climate scenarios. Reductions in PRM occur in both cities in 2016 with the most significant reductions occurring in regions relying more heavily on hydropower.

Contributors
Sivaraman, Deepak, Bartos, Matthew, Chester, Mikhail, et al.

Vehicle trips presently account for approximately 50% of San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions(San Francisco County Transportation Authority, 2008). City and county officials have developed aggressive strategies for the future of passenger transportation in the metropolitan area, and are determined to move away from a “business as usual” future. This project starts with current-state source data from a life-cycle comparison of urban transportation systems (Chester, Horvath, & Madanat, 2010), and carries the inventoried emissions and energy usage through by way of published future scenarios for San Francisco. From the extrapolated calculations of future emissions/energy, the implied mix of transportation modes can ...

Contributors
Kimball, Mindy
Created Date
2012-05

Public transit necessitates environmental exposure and there is increasing recognition that in a future with hotter temperatures new strategies are needed to protect passengers. Arizona State University’s Spring 2017 Urban Infrastructure Anatomy course assessed travel behavior, public transit stop design, and heat exposure to develop recommendations for mitigating heat exposure. Travel surveys, analysis of infrastructure characteristics, and thermal imaging were used to assess exposure. A suite of mitigation strategies was developed from a literature review, conversations with experts, and review of other transit systems. Focusing on neighborhoods in Tempe, Arizona, strategies are developed for protecting future riders from negative health ...

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

This study aims to assess the effectiveness of Germany’s energy policy with respect to the carbon footprint for the entire electricity generation life cycle.

Contributors
Sturm, Christine
Created Date
2012-05

In the construction industry the management of knowledge is becoming an increasingly important element for success. The successful management of knowledge helps general contractors to better compete which ultimately leads to more contracts and potentially greater prots. The Life Cycle Costing assessment presented here, is a small step in understanding the complex decision of investing in BIM from general contractor's perspective. This assessment has identified the cost components for BIM and has allocated the cost for a typical project.

Contributors
Bosfield, Roberta
Created Date
2013-05

While the scientific study of religion is not new, the topic has yet to be approached by Lifecycle Assessment (LCA). This work demonstrates a method for assessing the personal “cost” of “manufacturing” a mature religious adherent, or, a believer committed to a particular faith. By measuring such inputs as personal importance of faith, prayer, religious service attendance, religious experiences, and scripture reading, an assessment can be made of the quantity of such inputs required to engender enduring religious devotion. Ultimately, this study has demonstrated that the data typically collected in longitudinal surveys are insufficient to adequately support any firm quantitative ...

Contributors
Roberts, Tom
Created Date
2012-05

An inter-temporal life cycle cost and greenhouse gas emissions assessment of the Los Angeles roadway network is developed to identify how construction decisions lead to embedded impacts and create an emergent behavior (vehicle miles traveled by users) in the long run. A video of the growth of the network and additional information are available at www.transportationlca.org/losangelesroadways/

Contributors
Fraser, Andrew, Chester, Mikhail
Created Date
2013-04

In recent years, concerns have grown over the risks posed by climate change on the U.S. electricity grid. The availability of water resources is integral to the production of electric power, and droughts are expected to become more frequent, severe, and longer-lasting over the course of the twenty-first century. The American Southwest, in particular, is expected to experience large deficits in streamflow. Studies on the Colorado River anticipate streamflow declines of 20-45% by 2050. Other climactic shifts—such as higher water and air temperatures—may also adversely affect power generation. As extreme weather becomes more common, better methods are needed to assess ...

Contributors
Bartos, Matthew, Chester, Mikhail

This report updates Supplementary Information section 2.1.2.2 (Recirculating Cooling) of Bartos and Chester (2015). Extraneous derivations have been removed and an error corrected. Impacts of Climate Change on Electric Power Supply in the Western U.S., Matthew Bartos and Mikhail Chester, Nature Climate Change, 2015, 4(8), pp. 748-752, doi: 10.1038/nclimate2648, http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n8/full/nclimate2648.html

Contributors
Bartos, Matthew, Chester, Mikhail

The goal of this working paper is to provide the methodological background for several upcoming reports and peer-reviewed journal publications. This manuscript only provides background methodology and does not show or interpret any of the results that are being generated by the research team. The methodology is consistent with the transportation LCA approach developed by the author in previous research. The discussion in this working paper provides the detailed background data and steps used by the research team for their assessment of Los Angeles Metro transit lines and a competing automobile trip.

Contributors
Chester, Mikhail
Created Date
2012-07-30

Building energy assessment often focuses on the use of electricity and natural gas during the use phase of a structure while ignoring the energy investments necessary to construct the facility. This research develops a methodology for quantifying the “embedded” energy and greenhouse gases (GHG) in the building infrastructure of an entire metropolitan region. “Embedded” energy and GHGs refer to the energy necessary to manufacture materials and construct the infrastructure. Using these methods, a case study is developed for Los Angeles County.

Contributors
Reyna, Janet, Chester, Mikhail

Most would agree that telecommunications systems are socially constructed. Since “communication” tends to involve people, it seems obvious that people should impact the creation of such systems. But it is far less obvious that the specifications for such systems should be noted for their social construction. As marvelous and technical as the system is, we must not forget the important technological artifact known as the specification that came before it. This paper tells the story of the social construction of the IRIDIUM system specification as viewed through the eyes of a popular socio-technical systems (STS) analysis tool. Actor-Network Theory (ANT) ...

Contributors
Roberts, Tom

Essay scoring is a difficult and contentious business. The problem is exacerbated when there are no “right” answers for the essay prompts. This research developed a simple toolset for essay analysis by integrating a freely available Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) implementation into a homegrown assessment assistant. The complexity of the essay assessment problem is demonstrated and illustrated with a representative collection of open-ended essays. This research also explores the use of “expert vectors” or “keyword essays” for maximizing the utility of LDA with small corpora. While, by itself, LDA appears insufficient for adequately scoring essays, it is quite capable of ...

Contributors
Roberts, Tom

This study aims to quantify the environmental impacts of a hospital’s daily BMW disposal in the Phoenix, Arizona area. The sole option to dispose of BMW in Arizona is to sterilize the waste by sending it through an autoclave, and then dispose the sterilized waste in a landfill. This study used a Phoenix area hospital to create a start point for the waste and a general estimation of how much BMW the hospital disposes of. The system boundary for the LCA includes BMW generated at the Phoenix-area Hospital as it is travels to Stericycle, where it is autoclaved, and then ...

Contributors
Inskeep, Jaimi, Pashouwer, Jera, Peige, Katie, et al.
Created Date
2014-06-13

Researchers at ASU have identified opportunities to reduce risk to human health and the environment by changing the composition and disposal practices of polymers. Although plastics have benefited society in innumerable ways, the resulting omnipresence of plastics in society has led to concerns about the hazards of constant, low-level exposure and the search for options for sustainable disposal. The team used examples from public health and medicine-sectors that have particularly benefited from polymer applications, to highlight the benefits of using plastics in certain applications and to pinpoint opportunities for reducing risks from all plastics’ uses. These include phasing out polymers ...

Contributors
North, Emily, Halden, Rolf, Chester, Mikhail, et al.

Public transportation systems are often part of strategies to reduce urban environmental impacts from passenger transportation, yet comprehensive energy and environmental life-cycle measures, including upfront infrastructure effects and indirect and supply chain processes, are rarely considered. Using the new bus rapid transit and light rail lines in Los Angeles, near-term and long-term life-cycle impact assessments are developed, including consideration of reduced automobile travel. Energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants are assessed, as well the potential for smog and respiratory impacts. Results show that life-cycle infrastructure, vehicle, and energy production components significantly increase the footprint of each ...

Contributors
Chester, Mikhail, Pincetl, Stephanie, Elizabeth, Zoe, et al.

This policy brief has been superseded by publication of the results in the Journal of Planning Education and Research (JPER), Volume 33, No. 4. DOI: 10.1177/0739456X13507485 Study Background: Researchers at ASU have determined that significant energy and environmental benefits are possible in the Phoenix metro area over the next 60 years from transit-oriented development along the current Valley Metro light rail line. The team evaluated infill densification outcomes when vacant lots and some dedicated surface parking lots are repurposed for residential development. Life cycle building (construction, use, and energy production) and transportation (manufacturing, operation, and energy production) changes were included ...

Contributors
Kimball, Mindy, Chester, Mikhail, Gino, Christopher, et al.

There is no ’typical’ production process for Legally Autonomous Adults (LAD). However, some very general inputs and flows can be assumed: Physical, mental, emotional, and social or cultural inputs are provided by primary caregivers throughout the process. LADs in Arizona in the 21st century are produced in small batches. Inputs tend to be provided by consistent sources according to unique values, and the production process does not actually stop cold at the factory gate, but continues on into the next phase. Sometimes, due to externalities like substance dependence or domestic violence, the original production process either deprives the product of ...

Contributors
Cazel-Jahn, Angela
Created Date
2013-05

Mitigation of urban heat islands has become a goal for research and policy as urban environmental heat is a rapidly growing concern. Urban regions such as Phoenix, AZ are facing projected warming as urban populations grow and global climates warm (McCarthy et al. 2010), and severe urban heat can even lead to human mortality and morbidity (Berko et al. 2014). Increased urban heat may also have social and economic consequences such as by discouraging physical activity, reducing outdoor accessibility, and decreasing economic output (Stamatakis et al. 2013; Karner et al. 2015; Obradovich & Fowler 2017; Kjellstrom et al. 2009). Urban ...

Contributors
Hoehne, Christopher
Created Date
2018-01-15

While the definition of sustainability remains open for all to contribute to and participate in, there do seem to be some notions it has come to embody that should not be neglected as the definition coalesces. Among these are the ethical and social dimensions of sustainability. Whether or not it is appropriate, required, or even desirable, concepts like social equity, human rights, ethical sharing of commons, etc. have increasingly come under the umbrella of the sustainability discourse. Even if “sustainability” as a bare word doesn’t imply those things, the concept of sustainable development certainly has taken on those dimensions. That ...

Contributors
Roberts, Tom

Global climate models predict increases in precipitation events in the Phoenix-metropolitan area and with the proposition of more flooding new insights are needed for protecting roadways and the services they provide. Students from engineering, sustainability, and planning worked together in ASU’s Urban Infrastructure Anatomy Spring 2016 course to assess i) how historical floods changed roadway designs, ii) precipitation forecasts to mid-century, iii) the vulnerability of roadways to more frequent precipitation, iv) adaptation strategies focusing on safe-to-fail thinking, and v) strategies for overcoming institutional barriers to enable transitions. The students designed an EPA Storm Water Management Model for the City of ...

Contributors
Al Rasbi, Omar, Archer, Harold, Azizi, Tariq Aziz, et al.

This report is the consolidated work of an interdisciplinary course project in CEE494/598, CON598, and SOS598, Urban Infrastructure Anatomy and Sustainable Development. In Fall 2012, the course at Arizona State University used sustainability research frameworks and life-cycle assessment methods to evaluate the comprehensive benefits and costs when transit-oriented development is infilled along the proposed light rail transit line expansion. In each case, and in every variation of possible future scenarios, there were distinct life-cycle benefits from both developing in more dense urban structures and reducing automobile travel in the process. Results from the report are superseded by our publication in ...

Contributors
Chester, Mikhail, Bosfield, Roberta, Celoza, Amelia, et al.
Created Date
2012-12

In his writings over the past decade, Brad Allenby has proposed (at least) 16 principles of sustainable engineering (see references) that are collectively known as the Earth Systems Engineering and Management (ESEM) principles. These principles have merit and applicability in many disciplines and domains of discourse, but are sometimes awkward to use due to the quantity of words required to accurately express their meaning. In light of this, it has become necessary to formulate a simplified list of “abbreviated tags” for ease of reference in conversation and concise writing. This list of tags also makes the principles immediately accessible to ...

Contributors
Roberts, Tom
Created Date
2011-05-20

The current study conducts a comparative LCA of two alternative structural retrofit/ strengthening techniques - steel jacketing, and the carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) retrofit. A cradle-to-gate system boundary is used for both techniques. The results indicated that the CFRP retrofit technique has merits over the conventional steel jacketing in all three impact categories covered by this study. This is primarily attribute to the much less material consumption for CFRP retrofit as compared to steel jacketing for achieving the same load carrying capability of the retrofitted bridge structures. Even though the transoceanic transportation of carbon fiber has been taken into ...

Contributors
Zhou, Hongyu
Created Date
2013-05

Providers of systems engineering services and their employees are not always able to be the masters of their own destiny. When working in staff augmentation roles under the auspices of another company, they are typically forced to operate within the corporate culture from which they derive their livelihood, following “foreign” processes and procedures, responding to orders and directives. This situation calls for an alternative maturity model for those that provide systems engineering services. While a client organization might be maturing according to any of several proposed models (SEI 1993, SEI 1995, EPIC 1995, ISO 1990, IEEE 1994), the services contractor ...

Contributors
Roberts, Tom
Created Date
2010

Phoenix is the sixth most populated city in the United States and the 12th largest metropolitan area by population, with about 4.4 million people. As the region continues to grow, the demand for housing and jobs within the metropolitan area is projected to rise under uncertain climate conditions. Undergraduate and graduate students from Engineering, Sustainability, and Urban Planning in ASU’s Urban Infrastructure Anatomy and Sustainable Development course evaluated the water, energy, and infrastructure changes that result from smart growth in Phoenix, Arizona. The Maricopa Association of Government's Sustainable Transportation and Land Use Integration Study identified a market for 485,000 residential ...

Contributors
Nahlik, Matthew, Chester, Mikhail, Andrade, Luis, et al.

As technologies rapidly progress, there is growing evidence that our civil infrastructure do not have the capacity to adaptively and reliably deliver services in the face of rapid changes in demand, conditions of service, and environmental conditions. Infrastructure are facing multiple challenges including inflexible physical assets, unstable and insufficient funding, maturation, utilization, increasing interdependencies, climate change, social and environmental awareness, changes in coupled technology systems, lack of transdisciplinary expertise, geopolitical security, and wicked complexity. These challenges are interrelated and several produce non-stationary effects. Successful infrastructure in the twenty-first century will need to be flexible and agile. Drawing from other industries, ...

Contributors
Chester, Mikhail, Allenby, Braden

As the number of heat waves are expected to increase significantly into the future in the U.S. Southwest, new insight is needed into how urban infrastructure can be repositioned to protect people. In the Phoenix metro area infrastructure have largely been deployed over the past half century, during a time when climate change was not a concern. Now, as the county struggles to protect people from heat, there is a need to reassess how existing and new infrastructure can be positioned to reduce health impacts while improving sustainability. Using a neighborhood in Mesa, Arizona as a case study, we assess ...

Contributors
Al Hashemi, Mawdah, Beckley, Michelle, Begiebing, Lyle, et al.
Contributors
Ferrell, Janet, Spierre, Susan, Chester, Mikhail
Created Date
2012-05

As average temperatures and occurrences of extreme heat events increase in the Southwest, the water infrastructure that was designed to operate under historical temperature ranges may become increasingly vulnerable to component and operational failures. For each major component along the life cycle of water in an urban water infrastructural system, potential failure events and their semi-quantitative probabilities of occurrence were estimated from interview responses of water industry professionals. These failure events were used to populate event trees to determine the potential pathways to cascading failures in the system. The probabilities of the cascading failure scenarios under future conditions were then ...

Contributors
Bondank, Emily, Chester, Mikhail

The research topic for this assignment is shrimp farming in Thailand located throughout the coastal areas of the southern, eastern, and central regions of the country. Thailand’s huge shrimp export driven industry represents one of the largest in the world accounting for over twenty-five percent of food exports out of the country (Sriboonchitta & Wiboonpongse, n.d.). Specific research questions include: 1. What are the current unsustainable practices in shrimp farm production? 2. In what part of the life cycle should intervention take place? 3. What does a sustainable shrimp farming practice look like in the future?

Contributors
Sieng, Michael
Created Date
2012-05

After a brief introduction to Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), this paper presents some common misunderstandings and problems that are frequently overlooked in the application of the technology. Then, in three progressively more involved examples, the paper demonstrates (a) how use of fMRI in pre-surgical mapping shows promise, (b) how its use in lie detection seems questionable, and (c) how employing it in defining personhood is useless and pointless. Finally, in making a case for emergentism, the paper concludes that fMRI cannot really tell us as much about ourselves as we had hoped. Since we are more than our brains, ...

Contributors
Roberts, Tom