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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).




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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