Sustainability: An integral engineering design approach

Article (PDF Available)inRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 13(5):1133-1137 · June 2009with 1,594 Reads 
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2008.05.003
Cite this publication
The work described in this paper won an Engineering Award from the UNESCO and the United Nations. It qualified among the top 30 finalists from a pool of about 3200 engineering entries from the world's most prestigious universities in 89 countries, including Cambridge, Oxford, MIT, Stanford and Yale. This paper describes the methods employed in a sustainability project titled ‘Global Basic Needs in an Integrated Sustainable Approach’ submitted by the author to the UNESCO in agreement with the United Nations Millennium Goals and within their framework of the Mondialogo Engineering Award. A six-nation international jury of renowned leading scientists and engineers selected this project for a nomination award. While we all anxiously wait for science to provide the solutions to global warming and catastrophic climate change, a holistic engineering approach was used to halt pollution, and to provide sustainable shelter, clean water, energy, food and education to the global population. This approach can be used anywhere in the world and conceptualizes a revolutionary sustainability paradigm for present and future societies. This work is a contribution to the advancement of the science of sustainability everywhere on the planet.
Sustainability: An integral engineering design approach
Tony Pereira
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California Los Angeles, 420 Westwood Plaza, ENG IV 48-121, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States
1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1133
2. Integral design method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1134
3. Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1137
Acknowledgements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1137
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1137
1. Introduction
Sustainability is solely an inherent property of natural
ecosystems, in which there is mass and energy balance [1].Itis
misleading to believe that a resource such as a crop is sustainable
only because it is renewable. Many crops used for human
consumption are renewable only with a large input of resources
[2]. Hence, it can be safely stated that human sustainability is
possible only when it follows natural laws of mass and energy
balance, and is, therefore, an extremely complex issue. The reasons
for this complexity are clearly owing to its direct connections to
the natural systems of the planet – air, water, soil and sunlight –
that sustain and make all life possible. These elements are
intrinsically and inextricably interconnected in an entropic cycle
nd death, and in a permanent state of flux. Extensive scientific
studies on the human consumption of global resources have been
done in recent decades that clearly confirm that the human species
is on a brutal collision course with its natural environment [3–6].
Two fundamental studies that quantify the extent of human un-
sustainability are mentioned here. The first is Vitousek et al.’s
seminal work on the human appropriation of the products of
photosynthesis done at Stanford University [7], and the second, the
revolutionary ‘human footprint’ calculations by Rees and Wack-
ernagel at the University of British Columbia [8]. These two studies
led the work to the rigorous scientific calculation of the human
species impact on its environment. In spite of scientific advances,
global consumption continues at ever increasing rates to this day,
and not much progress has been achieved to halt and reverse the
effects of the unsustainable use of resources by the ever increasing
human population [9]. The consumption driven modern way-of-
life continues un-abated in all fronts, everywhere. Therefore, other
approaches need to be explored. A holistic approach that uses an
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 13 (2009) 1133–1137
Article history:
Received 30 April 2008
Accepted 2 May 2008
Appropriate engineering
Solar energy
The work described in this paper won an Engineering Award from the UNESCO and the United Nations. It
qualified among the top 30 finalists from a pool of about 3200 engineering entries from the world’s most
prestigious universities in 89 countries, including Cambridge, Oxford, MIT, Stanford and Yale. This paper
describes the methods employed in a sustainability project titled ‘Global Basic Needs in an Integrated
Sustainable Approach’ submitted by the author to the UNESCO in agreement with the United Nations
Millennium Goals and within their framework of the Mondialogo Engineering Award. A six-nation
international jury of renowned leading scientists and engineers selected this project for a nomination
award. While we all anxiously wait for science to provide the solutions to global warming and
catastrophic climate change, a holistic engineering approach was used to halt pollution, and to provide
sustainable shelter, clean water, energy, food and education to the global population. This approach can
be used anywhere in the world and conceptualizes a revolutionary sustainability paradigm for present
and future societies. This work is a contribution to the advancement of the science of sustainability
everywhere on the planet.
ß2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
E-mail address:
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
journal homepage:
1364-0321/$ – see front matter ß2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
integral engineering method to provide for the primary needs of
the population – shelter, water, food, energy and education – is
detailed in this work. This method takes into full account the
conservation of mass and energy of the natural ecosystems.
The project main intent was to offer a solution to the overall
improvement of the living conditions of the over 3 billion of the
world’s population mostly in undeveloped countries who have no
access to clean water or food [10,11]. About 3.7 billion people, i.e.,
more that half of the current world population are malnourished,
according to data published by the World Health Organization. The
design approach consists of eight major components integrated
into a fully-functional system designed to work in harmonious
symbiosis with the living environment: passive solar shelter with
rainwater catchment system, pre-filtering and cistern, solar energy
for lighting, hot water and cooking, compost toilets with urine
separation, mini-marsh greywater system, and an organic garden
and compost bin.
2. Integral design method
The general approach to sustainability is generally deeply
flawed. Its main answer consists typically at throwing a perceived
‘green’ solution – e.g., wind, hydrogen, biomass, nuclear or solar
energy – to real world problems – water, waste, food or energy – in
one single plug-in format to existing systems, while leaving all
other existing issues associated with the un-sustainable existing
structures untouched and in place. The underlying causes of the
existing environmental, health and socio-economic problems are
left intact for most cases, therefore the insignificant amount of
progress that has been achieved after decades of struggle towards a
sustainable society. Sustainability solutions addressing the needs
of society and its use of resources must take on a whole systems
analysis, and subsequently, a whole systems implementation.
Nature and human interactions with the natural environment
cannot and should not be seen as isolated from each other.
To obtain a clear perspective, it is best to enter sustainability from
the back door, i.e., to first take a glance at what is not sustainable.
With less than 5% of the world’s population, the United States
consumes about 1/3 of the world’s resources, many of which are
already overexploited [9–11]. Elementary algebra says that three
countries with the same size of the U.S. and consuming at the same
rate as the U.S.does, would consume 100% of everything. That would
also mean that less than15% – about 1/7 – of the world’s population
would consume all of theworld’s resources at those rates (see Figs. 1
and 2). Europe, with a population comparable to that of the U.S.,
now consumes just about as much as the U.S. does, and gobbles
another 1/3 slice.That leaves about 1/3 of the world’s resources to be
shared by well over 3/4 (85%) of the world’s population. One more
country the size of the U.S. consuming at the present U.S.
consumption levels – which is not terribly difficult to imagine –
and there will be nothingleft to share. Elementary algebra again tells
us that at current rates of extraction and consumption by developed
countries, not one, two, three, four, five, or six, but just about seven
planets with the same abundant resources – air, water, sunlight,
trees, animals, plants, oil and soil – would be needed to sustain the
current world population at industrialized living standards. In the
end, we would leave those seven planets ozone depleted, warmed
up, species extinct and inhabitable no doubt like we are doing to this
one. Furthermore, with only about half of a percent of the world’s
total biomass, the human species manifests itself as an incredibly
demanding species on its environment by gobbling up 50% of the
global products of photosynthesis [7],seeFig. 3. Clearly, the planet
has too many people for the available resources of land, water, and
energy [46]. The current world population is about 6.7 billion and
growing at 100 million each year. The demands of the current
populationare at a real-time 120% over and in excessof what the bio-
capacity and regenerative systems of the planet can work out and
therefore we are already depleting the natural stores of the planet at
that ratio every second [8]. As seen above, at current levels of un-
sustainable and nonsensical consumption, splurge and waste, the
Earth carryingcapacity is about one billion people.Less than 2 billion
Fig. 1. U.S. population versus world consumption.
Fig. 2. Consumption at U.S. levels.
Fig. 3. With about half of 1% of the total biomass on the planet, the human species
appropriates about half of the total products of photosynthesis. Clearly, doubling
the current world population would entail one hundred percent appropriation of all
the products of photosynthesis solely by the human race at current consumption
T. Pereira / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 13 (2009) 1133–1137
is estimated for a sustainable human society where conservation
and non-polluting lifestyles are adopted everywhere [46].These
simple, yet effective calculations should be sufficient to clearly put
into perspective the brutal side of the human species current path of
un-sustainability [7–11,46].
From the current total 15 TW of energy from all sources
consumed by humans, the largest percentage is obtained directly
from ‘stored sunshine,’ i.e., the energy contained in deposits of coal,
oil and natural gas [9–11]. It took more than 700 million years for
oil, natural gas, and coal to accumulate in a random geological
boon process that is also extremely unlikely to happen again any
time soon [2]. Once the Earth stored energy deposits are exhausted,
with no indications at the moment that they will not be in addition
to all the consequences that are becoming increasingly more
evident such as global warming, the only other available option is
to revert to a ‘steady-state’ of energy consumption that relies on the
energy directly obtained from the sun (see Fig. 4). In 1 h, the Earth
receives as much energy from the sun as the global human energy
consumption in one entire year from all sources. Therefore, a
decentralized, local-economy based, self-sufficient and happy
global human society is entirely possible. The economics of
sustainable societies only recently have started to come to light in
the works of prominent authors who dared to challenge the absurd
theories of classic economics and its disastrous consequences
[47,48]. The purpose of this work is to undertake the transition to a
solar powered ‘steady-state’ model immediately and without delay.
Addressing the basic needs common to all human beings –
shelter, water, food and education – from an integral systems
perspective where there is conservation of mass and energy is
essentially the key to achieve mass and energy balance (see Fig. 5).
Sunlight is converted into electrical energy to provide lighting
required for reading and education. Sunlight is also used directly
for solar cooking eliminating both the need to gather firewood and
the pulmonary problems associated with smoke from fire inside
the house. A solar cooker was designed directly into one of the sun
facing house walls offering the convenience of a permanent
appliance. Sunlight is also used to heat water for cleaning and
washing. All the rainwater is collected by a catchment system and
stored in a cistern for drinking and washing, and for garden use
when it is sufficiently abundant. Water used in washing and
cleaning is gravity fed to a mini greywater marsh and used directly
in the organic garden afterwards. No chlorine, detergents, hard
soaps or chemicals are allowed in this process. Human waste is
composted in a compost toilet that eliminates the use of water and
its associated sewer system. Solid wastes from food preparation
and cooking are composted in a compost bin. The compost hence
obtained is used directly in the organic garden to build the soil,
create humus, soil fertility, provide fresh produce, fruits and
vegetables and maintaining and replenishing the water table.
Notice the circular arrow flow between solar cooking, solar hot
water, greywater marsh, compost toilets, compost bin and organic
garden going back to solar cooking which re-establishes the
natural nutrient cycle required to sustain life (see Fig. 6). The eight
main design elements are integrated into a whole functioning
sustainable system, as follows:
Passive Solar House
Rainwater Catchment System, Pre-filtering & Cistern
Solar Energy & Lighting System
Solar Domestic Hot Water System
Solar Cooking w/Backup High-Efficiency Wood Stove
Compost Toilets w/Separate Urine Collection
Mini-Marsh Greywater System
Organic Garden & Compost Bin
Passive Solar House: The main structure is built using ageless,
natural and non-toxic materials that can be obtained locally
and with thermal properties suitable for both cold and hot
weather climates such as reinforced adobe, pressed earth
block, or strawbale [12–15]. Local availability, material
familiarity, economy and very low energy required for its
production are the key factors for this selection. These
building materials store solar heat during the day and release
it slowly to the interior throughout the night during cold
periods, thus providing temperature stabilization for the
interior and thus avoiding the use of energy dependent
heating or cooling by mechanical air conditioning systems.
The structure is oriented in the East–West direction alongside
its larger dimension following passive solar design guidelines,
with dimensionally designed awnings, trellises and windows
to take full advantage of latitude, insolation and prevailing
winds [16–20].
Fig. 4. Energy flow. Most world energy us is derived vast stores of ‘buried sunshine,’
i.e., coal, oil and natural gas. Once exhausted, energy used must revert to a steady-
state use of sun energy.
Fig. 5. Basic global human needs are shelter, water, food and education. They are
required to support all human activity, which in turn must be supported by soil,
water and sunlight on which we all depend.
Fig. 6. The use of sun energy, water, food and wastes for sustained human activity.
The circulation of water and solid waste to the organic garden and back to solar
cooking in the form of food re-establishes the vital nutrient cycle (blue arrows). (For
interpretation of the references to color in this figure legend, the reader is referred
to the web version of the article.)
T. Pereira / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 13 (2009) 1133–1137
Rainwater Catchment System, Pre-filtering and Cistern: All the
rainwater from the roof is collected. The rainwater is cleaned
and pre-filtered from debris, and is stored in a cistern where it
can be used primarily for drinking. Washing and irrigation
uses are also acceptable when there is excess water from
abundant rain [21–23]. About 25 l/m
of roof can be
effectively collected for each cm of precipitation from rain.
With a relatively small roof surface of about 100 m
and as
little as 25 cm of precipitation annually common to many
areas normally considered as being deserts, about 62,500 l of
rainwater can be collected per year, by no means a small
amount. While only a relatively small portion of the Earth
enjoys plentiful rain precipitation, the water conservation and
re-use methods employed throughout by the integral
engineering design approach drastically reduce the amounts
normally prescribed per capita, hence making the amount of
collected water above very significant and suitable for many
other uses in addition to drinking.
Solar Energy & Lighting System: Solar energy is captured from
the roof with a set of photovoltaic panels (300 W total).
Energy will be stored in a deep-charge battery to be used for
interior lighting with compact fluorescents (5–13 W) and
LED’s (1–5 W). The solar energy system will provide about
1500 Wh/day in most climates, sufficient for most lighting
needs required for educational purposes [24–26].
Solar Domestic Hot Water System: Also on the north side of the
house, a simple domestic batch solar hot water tank will be
built to warm water for a low-flow solar shower and hand
washing. No detergents, bleach, phosphates, commercial
soaps or cleaners will be allowed in the system, only simple
natural soaps that can be either fabricated or purchased
locally [27].
Solar Cooking w/Backup High-Efficiency Wood Stove: On the
north side of the house, a solar cooking oven will be built with
access from the inside of the house for preparing and cooking
hot meals [28]. This will mostly eliminate the use of firewood
and the time required to gather it, and the devastation to wild
forests that comes with this practice [10,11]. For cloudy days
when the sun does not shine, a backup wood stove of a snug
design and high-efficiency combustion chamber will be
constructed inside the house [29,30].
Compost Toilets w/Separate Urine Collection: A composting
toilet with separate urine extraction will be built in the home.
Composting toilets do not use or pollute water, thus conserving
a huge amount of the precious life-giving liquid vital for other
uses. Human wasteand urine are a vital resource [31–34].Urine
collection diluted with greywater will be used in the garden to
provide additional irrigation and fertilizer (3–3–3 NPK). When
properly composted to a ratio of about 30 partsof carbon (about
one coffee size can of shredded leaves, sawdust, etc. added to
the compost toiletafter each use) to one part of nitrogen present
in human waste, the temperature in the compost toilet pile will
raise to about 55–75 8C and will kill all the pathogenspresent in
human waste [32]. The humus produced in this process can
safely be used in the organic garden outside to build-up and
enrich top-soil, re-establish the nutrient cycle, improve soil
fertility,eliminate the need for municipal sewer systems and its
associated problems of pollution of rivers, waterways, rivers
and streams, and to grow fresh food, fruits and vegetables
required for healthy nutrition and dietary needs of the
population. This arrangement is both suitable to rural and city
areas as demonstrated by the recent opening of the 2800 m
C.K. Choi office building at the University of British Columbia,
Vancouver,Canada that is not connected to the municipalsewer
Mini-Marsh Greywater System: Water used in washing is
directed to a mini greywater marsh system where it is pre-
filtered from grease and solid debris. The roots of cattails and
bulrushes filter the remaining nutrients in suspension and
build plant life with very low or no vector problems. The
cleaned water is used for irrigation in the organic garden. Only
a handful of plant species adapted to the region are required in
this mini-marsh, mostly from the cattail family or equivalent
Organic Garden & Compost Bin: The organic garden is built
using organic and bio-intensive methods. Heavy soil mulching
can cut the amount of water usage up to 75% when compared
to wasteful conventional irrigation methods. Using closely
spaced, multicroping, and green crops creates and maintains
soil fertility and completely eliminates the use of fossil fuel
dependent chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides
[37–39]. The organic garden is designed with swales on
Fig. 7. The integral sustainable engineering design approach. North orientation in the south hemisphere, and vice-versa. All elements work in symbiosis and harmony to clean
the water and air, re-establish the nutrient cycle by processing human waste, and support life.
T. Pereira / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 13 (2009) 1133–1137
contour along the natural slopes of the plot terrain to catch all
the ground running water from rains, and heavily mulched to
prevent water evaporation and allow the slow permeation of
water into the local water table [40]. A compost bin is built to
compost the garden wastes from crop rotations and other
vegetable wastes coming from the house and the kitchen such
as fruit skins, waste paper and vegetable peels. The organic
compost obtained from the composting toilets in addition to
the compost obtained from a compost bin will be used in
the organic garden [32,37]. Expected yields of fruits and
vegetables using bio-intensive cultivation methods are about
15 kg/m
per year, or about 60 metric tons per acre per year,
well above what is obtained from chemical ‘conventional’
methods [37,38]. Additionally, a 75% reduction in irrigation
water use is also expected due to the higher moisture
retention of mulched organic soil, and the additional benefit
that there will be no land, people, water, air or animal
exposure to the risks of toxic pesticide use and contamination,
and its associated pollution of waterways [41]. Considering
that the average meal travels about 1500, 5000 and 6800
miles to arrive at the American, Canadian and Japanese tables,
respectively, and that it takes about 10 calories to produce one
calorie of the food we eat today, the reverse of what was
required just a short 50 years ago [41–45], the soil is the place
where it all comes together – air, water, sunlight – into the
magic of life, and the most significant aspect of the project (see
Fig. 7). Only the most profound humbleness can truly
appreciate the unfathomable and awesome symbiosis that
coalesces in all that is alive and aware in the natural world.
3. Conclusions
The recognition given to this project by the world community
and the distinguished international jury signifies a very welcome
worldwide shift in awareness and critical thinking towards
sustainability. The change to a sustainable way of life is required
everywhere without delay if our species is anything but serious
about its own future in this far corner of the universe. We looked at
the system design from an integral point of view, not just as a
combination of isolated plug-in components. From a systems
perspective, the cycle is closed. Food, water, air and sunlight are
used in a continuous entropic cycle that works in support of human
activities, and vice-versa. There is no waste, and additional inputs
of energy or resources should not be required. A sustainable
system designed in this fashion is therefore autonomous, self-
sufficient, self-regenerating, completely independent of distant
resources and fossil fuels, and in stark contrast with current
uncontrolled consumerism.
A significant purpose of this project is to serve as a multi-
disciplinary research platform to obtain rigorous scientific data
validating the integrated sustainability approach for publication in
worldwide access peer-reviewed journals, to model sustainability,
to spread appropriate engineering knowledge to effectively
combat and stem man-made climate change and global warming,
achieve global security, education and energy independence, and
to establish and develop the science of integral sustainable systems
engineering, design and development.
The author wishes to thank and express his appreciation to the
UNESCO, the Educational, Scientific and Cultural arm of the United
Nations and Daimler for their visionary work and for making
possible the inter-cultural exchange and dialogue of science and
sustainability worldwide by means of the international Mon-
dialogo Engineering Award competition, and to Prof. David
Pimentel, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell
University for reviewing the manuscript and his many comments
and suggestions.
[1] Patzek LJ, Patzek TW. The disastrous local and global impacts of tropical biofuel
production. Energy Tribune 2007;19–22.
[2] Pimentel D, Patzek T. Green plants, fossil fuels, and now biofuels. BioScience
[3] Carson R. Silent spring. Mariner Books; Oct 2002.
[4] Stroeve J, Holland MM, Meier W, Scambos T, Serreze M. Arctic sea ice decline:
faster than forecast. Geophys Res Lett 2007;34:L09501.
[5] Hansen J, Sato M, Kharecha P, Russell GY, Lea DW, Siddall M. Climate change
and trace gases. Philos Trans R Soc A 2007;365:1925–54.
[6] IPCC AR4. Published online.;
[7] Vitousek PM, Ehrlich PR, Ehrlich AH, Matson PA. Human appropriation of the
products of photosynthesis. BioScience 1986;36:368.
[8] Rees WE, Wackernagel M. Our ecological footprint. New Society Publishers; Jul
[9] Brown L, Gardener G, Assadourian E, Sarin R, Sawin JL, Pastel S, et al. State of the
World 2004: special focus: the consumer society. W.W. Norton & Company;
Jan 2004.
[10] The WorldWatch Institute. State of the World. WorldWatch Institute; 1984–
[11] Brown LR, et al. Vital signs. W.W. Norton & Company; 1992–2007.
[12] Pearson D. The new natural house book. Fireside; Jul 1998.
[13] McHenry PG. Adobe. University of Arizona Press; Aug 1985.
[14] McHenry PG. Adobe and rammed earth buildings. University of Arizona Press;
Oct 1989.
[15] Lacinski P, Bergeron M. Serious straw bale. Chelsea Green Pub Co.; Dec 2000.
[16] van der Ryn S. Ecological design. Island Press; Mar 2007.
[17] Sardinsky R. The efficient house sourcebook. Rocky Mountain Institute; 1992.
[18] Mendler SF, Odell W, Lazarus MA. The HOK guidebook to sustainable design.
Wiley; Nov 2005.
[19] Kachadorian J. Passive solar house. Chelsea Green Pub Co.; Sep 2006.
[20] Chiras D. The solar house. Chelsea Green Pub Co.; Oct 2002.
[21] Lancaster B. Rainwater harvesting for drylands. Chelsea Green Pub Co.; Jan
[22] Nissen-Petersen E, Gould J. Rainwater catchment systems for domestic supply.
Practical Action; Feb 2000.
[23] Ludwig A. Water storage. Oasis Design; May 2005.
[24] Davidson J. The new solar electric home. Aatec Publications; Jul 1987.
[25] Strong S. The solar electric house. Sustainability Press; Jan 1994.
[26] Solar Energy International. Photovoltaics Design. New Society Pub; Aug
[27] Ramlow B, Nusz B. Solar water heating. New Society Pub; Jun 2006.
[28] Radabaugh JM. Heaven’s flame. Home Power Pub; Mar 1998.
[29] Evans I. Rocket mass heaters. Cob Cottage Co.; Apr 2006.
[30] Denzer K. Earth oven. Hand Print Press; Apr 2007.
[31] Ryn Van Der S. The toilet papers. Capra Press; Mar 1978.
[32] Jenkins JC. The Humanure handbook. Jenkins Pub; Sep 2005.
[33] Porto D. Composting toilet system book. Ecowaters; Dec 2007.
[34] Steinfeld C, Wells M. Liquid gold. Ecowaters; Jun 2004.
[35] Ludwig A. The new create an oasis with greywater. Oasis Design; Sep 2006.
[36] Costner P. We all live downstream. Waterworks Pub Co.; Jun 1990.
[37] Jeavons J. How to grow more vegetables and fruits. Ten Speed Press; Oct 2006.
[38] Badgley C, et al. Organic agriculture and the global food supply. Renew Agric
Food Syst 2007;22(2):86–108.
[39] Fox JE, et al. Pesticides reduce symbiotic efficiency of nitrogen-fixing rhizobia
and host plants. PNAS 2007;104(24):10282–7.
[40] Mollison B. Introduction to permaculture. Tagari Pub; Aug 1997.
[41] Lappe FM. Diet for a small planet. Ballantine Books; Aug 1991.
[42] Lappe FM. Hope’s edge. Tarcher; Apr 2003.
[43] Shiva V. Stolen harvest. South End Press; Dec 1999.
[44] Shiva V. Water wars. South End Press; Feb 2002.
[45] Pimentel D, Hepperly P, Hanson J, Douds D, Seidel R. Environmental, energetic,
and economic comparisons of organic and conventional farming systems.
BioScience 2005;55(7):573–82.
[46] David, Marcia Pimentel (eds.), Food, energy and society. CRC; Oct 2007.
[47] Daly H. Beyond growth: the economics of sustainable development. Beacon
Press; Aug 1997.
[48] Henderson H, Sethi S. Ethical markets: growing the green economy. Chelsea
Green Pub; Feb 2007.
T. Pereira / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 13 (2009) 1133–1137
  • ... Desponta-se, assim, um novo rumo da engenharia, chamado de Engenharia Sustentável -ES (CAREW; MITCHELL, 2001;ABRAHAM, 2004;2005a;MITCHELL, 2008;ALLENBY et al, 2007;2009), que demanda soluções para os problemas atuais surge para que as futuras gerações possam ter pelo menos as mesmas oportunidades que as gerações atuais têm experimentado. ...
    ... Assim, um grande desafio para a engenharia será a de propor soluções para os problemas atuais, a fim de que as futuras gerações possam ter pelo menos as mesmas oportunidades que as gerações atuais têm experimentado. Esta nova abordagem tem sido denominada de Engenharia Sustentável -ES (CAREW; MITCHELL, 2001;ABRAHAM, 2004;2005a;MITCHELL, 2008;ALLENBY et al, 2007;2009) e o seu desenvolvimento é um grande desafio conceitual e prático para a maioria dos campos da engenharia (ALLENBY et al, 2009), devido à necessidade de compreensão das implicações ambiental, econômica e social de suas decisões. ...
    Conference Paper
    Full-text available
    Resumo Desde o surgimento e da ampla discussão sobre sustentabilidade, vários exemplos concretos de iniciativas a fim de conduzir as questões ambientais dentro da engenharia, podem ser encontrados na literatura como, por exemplo, a Produção mais Limpa-P+L. Este artigo visa fornecer uma estrutura teórica-conceitual, a partir da revisão da literatura sobre as duas temáticas, com o objetivo de identificar e estabelecer uma interrelação dos conceitos, princípios e práticas de Produção mais Limpa e do novo paradigma da Engenharia Sustentável, visando construir a sustentabilidade. Palavras-chave: P+L; Engenharia Sustentável; Sustentabilidade.
  • ... Here, renewable energy appears as a synonym for sustainable energy [44,45]. Similar claims are also made, regarding other resources, as agricultural products, where the renewable character of the resources should imply their sustainability [46]. In this approach, sustainability is always implied and not measured, and there are no attempts to investigate how the wood was produced. ...
    Full-text available
    Bioenergy, mostly from wood biomass, is now widely seen as an important element in the efforts to tame dangerous climate change. At the same time, foresters and development specialists note that wood-based energy production can contribute to rural development. However, to deliver on these two goals without generating negative side effects, wood-based energy has to be sustainable, while currently, the sector is developing rapidly in ways that are technologically advanced, with questionable sustainability. How can sustainability be achieved in bioenergy production, to make it a viable element of climate change mitigation, adaptation, and rural development? Arguing for the need to mainstream sustainability thinking into wood-based energy production, the article draws on a critical literature review to identify four different levels of sustainability in the existing research on bioenergy from wood. It shows two possible strategies for integrating sustainability in wood bioenergy production. A top-down approach draws on global forestry governance instruments, while a bottom-up approach uses best-practices in forest plantations for bioenergy purposes, as illustrated by a case study from rural Paraguay. Using aggregated and visualized sustainability indicators, the article exemplifies what sustainable bioenergy production means in more tangible terms.
  • ... The STEEP model, proposed in this paper, is based on the fundamental sustainability principles [41,44,45,136,137] and the authors' field experience. Several definitions have been provided for sustainability, but it has been defined in terms of distributed off-grid energy generation system as the "perceived potential for a system or project to endure, build a self-perpetuating capacity within a community, and ultimately reach the end of its pre-determined lifespan or evolve into another beneficial form" [41]. ...
    Full-text available
    There is a growing interest in the application of microgrids around the world because of their potential for achieving a flexible, reliable, efficient and smart electrical grid system and supplying energy to off-grid communities, including their economic benefits. Several research studies have examined the application issues of microgrids. However, a lack of in-depth considerations for the enabling planning conditions has been identified as a major reason why microgrids fail in several off-grid communities. This development requires research efforts that consider better strategies and framework for sustainable microgrids in remote communities. This paper first presents a comprehensive review of microgrid technologies and their applications. It then proposes the STEEP model to examine critically the failure factors based on the social, technical, economic, environmental and policy perspectives. The model details the key dimensions and actions necessary for addressing the challenge of microgrid failure in remote communities. The study uses remote communities within Nigeria, West Africa, as case studies and demonstrates the need for the STEEP approach for better understanding of microgrid planning and development. Better insights into microgrid systems are expected to address the drawbacks and improve the situation that can lead to widespread and sustainable applications in off-grid communities around the world in the future. The paper introduces the sustainable microgrid framework (SPF) based on the STEEP model, which can form a general basis for planning microgrids in any remote location.
  • ... Dr. Tony Pereira (Climate Reality Project Leader UCLA), who lectured on the issue of eco sustainability. [1] The group recommended a deeper analysis of simplified systems for ecological constructions, [7]. ...
    Full-text available
    The idea of green roofs with simple application aims for expansion of using green roofs in the contemporary construction industry. The local climatic conditions of larger urban units may be positively affected due to numerous incidences of these structures. The application of environmentally friendly materials of green roofs dramatically increases economic costs of a whole project in this time. This article describes one of the possible solutions that would minimize the effect of the negative aspects mentioned above. The technology of testing installation was carried out in a residential research project EnviHUT. The inclination of the gable roof is 30°. The project EnviHUT is designed as a self-sufficient mobile unit that can be used for example as a weekend recreation facility. A more detailed description of the testing installation is a part of this article. The process of continues monitoring is regularly restored by the team of Brno University of Technology and more information is indicated on the website. Three variants of green roofs - extensive sedum roof, biodiverse semi-intensive roof and roof made up from turf carpets were implemented on the described building EnviHUT. Each layer's set of the examined vegetation layer system shows different building-physical characteristics and also different properties from architectural and also botanical perspectives. The tested vegetative-retention mats are made from recycled polyester fibres and they are a part of all the above mentioned variants of green roofs. This solution allows to simplify and speed up the installation of the pitched and flat green roofs and it also provides a high level of protection of waterproofing layers during installation.
  • Article
    Sustainable design is the operational aspect of creating an eco-effective and eco-efficient world. The purpose is to solve large-scale global problems like climate change, poverty and wars through micro and macro processes of individual, local and international efforts at problem-solving. It encompasses all aspects of green construction inclusive of productive and consumptive dimensions at the industrial and community level.
  • Article
    Water supply has drastically declined particularly in parts of Australia. This is a consequence of climate change, urban development, wastage and rising demand for fresh water. These factors along with escalating water rates have significantly contributed to water scarcity, and cost effectiveness becoming paramount in the residential sector. Utilizing sustainable alternatives, such as water efficient showerheads, aerated faucets, dual flush/waterless toilets, water conserving dishwashers and steam washing machines opposed to standard devices, has the ability to optimize water efficiency and reduce living expenses, while helping conserve this natural resource. This research investigates if the sustainable alternative can optimize water efficiency and cost effectiveness in residential dwellings. The cities which have been investigated are Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. Water price data from 2001 to 2010 have been examined for each of these cities. Future water prices can than predicted based on the current increase rate. Average water consumption and duration of usage outlined in the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme (WELS) have been used in all calculations. Water consumption, life cycle cost and payback periods are compared between standard and innovative devices over a 15-year period. Results are contrasted to literature, respective city and number of occupants. All alternative devices studied in the water consumption comparison, made significant savings over the 15-year period. It is found that all cities examined experience positive savings between $7,295 and $28,785 over 15 years if all devices are used together for a single occupant. It can also be noted that the city of Adelaide achieves the greatest savings while Perth accomplishes the least, due to comparatively low water price. Technological advancements in the future will improve fixtures and appliances used in dwellings maximizing overall water and cost efficiency, while minimizing the impacts on natural resources.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    p>La intervención de la ingeniería aplicada para impulsar el desarrollo humano frente a las necesidades y logros de las comunidades menos favorecidas, se ha convertido en uno de los pilares de la ingeniería del siglo XXI esto, unido a la necesidad de enfrentarse a problemas y retos desde una perspectiva holística e interdisciplinaria, hace necesario que las soluciones a estas problemáticas resulten temas centrales para la ingeniería. Con el anterior propósito se ha conformado el grupo de Ingenieros sin Fronteras en Colombia, iniciativa liderada por la Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios (UNIMINUT0) y la Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES), el cual apunta a desarrollar ingeniería aplicada innovadora en conjunto con las poblaciones en alta situación de vulnerabilidad y apoyados por la investigación que se realiza en los laboratorios de las universidades vinculadas por parte de los estudiantes y docentes. A continuación, se presenta un caso de intervención comunitaria por parte del grupo que se ha unido con la comunidad de la Vereda Torres, Municipio de Guayabal de Siquima, Cundinamarca, con el objetivo de cooperar entre sí para trabajar en pro de disminuir la mala calidad de agua presente en este lugar. Se presentarán las condiciones generales del agua en Colombia en zona rural, la propuesta de intervención del grupo de Ingenieros sin Fronteras Colombia, la descripción del caso de estudio aplicado y los retos a mediano y largo plazo.</p
  • Article
    Manufacturing activity is a major consumer of energy and natural resources. In machining process, a large amount of heat is produced whose removal requires the use of suitable cooling agents or cutting fluids, which are a major source of waste generation and environmental damage. To eliminate hazardous cutting fluids during machining operations, researchers have tried machining components without applying cutting fluids, which is also known as dry machining. Dry machining, however, has many challenges. The aim of this paper is to present a systematic, critical, and comprehensive review of all aspects of dry machining including the sustainability aspects of machining, especially focusing on three research objectives.
  • Chapter
    AT THE DAWN of the new millennium, the future relevance and potential of rainwater catchment systems for domestic water supply is increasingly being recognized around the world. In the last 20 years, the ancient practice of rainwater collection has undergone a major renaissance in many countries. Africa and South-east Asia, in particular, have been at the heart of this revival during which tens of millions of roof catchment systems have been constructed (Figure 1.1). Some countries, such as Kenya and Thailand, have been focal points for technological innovation, while others have followed their lead. In other places, systems and technologies have gradually evolved specifically to meet local conditions and needs. This is the case in Iran, for example, where many modern systems are based on ancient traditional designs (Aminipori and Ghoddousi, 1997). Perhaps most significant of all has been the recent growing interest in the technology in China and India, which together comprise more than a third of the global population. Both these rapidly developing countries are facing growing pressures on their finite water resources and both are now recognizing the important role that traditional rainwater harvesting technologies can play in integrated water resources management (Agarwal and Narain, 1997; Zhu and Liu, 1998). Since most modern rainwater systems are upgraded or modified forms of traditional technologies, based on the same design principles, they too offer the promise of providing sustainable water supplies with low environmental impact.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Various organic technologies have been utilized for about 6000 years to make agriculture sustainable while conserving soil, water, energy, and biological resources. Among the benefits of organic technologies are higher soil organic matter and nitrogen, lower fossil energy inputs, yields similar to those of conventional systems, and conservation of soil moisture and water resources (especially advantageous under drought conditions). Conventional agriculture can be made more sustainable and ecologically sound by adopting some traditional organic farming technologies.
  • Article
    Earths resources are consumed by one of its 5-30 million species homo sapiens or man at a rate disproportionately greater than any other species. Mans impact on the biosphere is measured in terms of net primary production (NPP). NPP is the amount of energy remaining after the respiration of primary producers (mostly plants) is subtracted from the total amount of biologically fixed energy (mostly solar). Human output is determined by 1) the direct NPP used for food fuel fiber or timber which yields a low estimate 2) all NPP of cropland devoted to human activity and 3) both 1) and 2) and land conversion for cities or pastures as well as conversion which results in desertification and overuse of lands. This last output determination yields a high estimate. Calculations are made for global NPP and each of the 3 estimates of low intermediate and high human output. Data are based on estimates by Ajtay et al. Armentano and Loucks and Houghton et al. and on the Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) summaries. Petagram (Pg) is used to calculate organic matter; this is equivalent to 10 to the 15th power grams or 10 to the 9th power metric tons. Carbon has been converted to organic matter by multiplying by 2.2. Matter in kilocalories has been converted to organic matter by dividing by 5. Intermediate or conservative estimates have been included. The standard of biomass is 1244 Pg and an annual NPP to 132.1. The NPP of marine and freshwater ecosystems is considered to be 92.4 Pg which is a low estimate. The low calculation of human (5 billion persons) consumption of plants at a caloric intake of 2500 kilocalories/person/day is .91 Pg of organic matter which equals .76 Pg of vegetable matter. The global production of human food is 1/7 Pg for grains and for human and livestock fed or .85 Pg of dry grain material and .3 Pg in nongrain dry material with dry grain material and .3 Pg in nongrain dry material with a subtraction of 20% for water content. 34% or .39 Pg is lost to waste and spoilage. Consumption by livestock forest usage and aquatic ecosystems is computed. The overall estimate for human use if 7.2 Pg of organic matter/year or 3% of total NPP/year. The intermediate figures take into account cropland pastureland forest use and conversion; the overall estimate of human use is 42.6 Pg of NPP/year of 19.0% (42.6/224.5) of NPP (30.7% on land and 2.2% on seas). The high estimate yields human use of 58.1 Pg/year on land or 40% (58.1/149.6) of potential land productivity or 25% (60.1/149.8 + 92.4) of land and water NPP. The remaining 60% of land is also affected by humans. The figures reflect the current patterns of exploitation distribution and consumption of a much larger population. These patterns amount to using >50% of NPP of land; there must be limits to growth.