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Modeling both direct and indirect environmental load of purchase decisions: a web-based tool addressing household metabolism
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0297-598X
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2459-0311
2015 (English)In: Environmental Modelling & Software, ISSN 1364-8152, E-ISSN 1873-6726, Vol. 71, 138-147 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Consumer awareness is continuously increasing towards pro-environmental behavior. Thus, we developed a web-based environmental feedback tool EcoRunner, which is designed for Swedish households aiming at increasing the awareness in a more pro-environmental direction. The conceptual model of EcoRunner has been developed based on top-down and bottom-up approaches connecting economic activities within a household to environmental pressures (both direct and indirect). In addition, the development of the tool includes a multi-level model aiming at better tailor-made advice to consumers. In this paper, we examine the EcoRunner tool with average single Swedish household expenditures as well as explore options for reductions and systems effects. Analysis shows that food and non-alcoholic beverages, fuel for personal transport (e.g. car) and air transports have significant environmental pressures. In addition, this study suggests that EcoRunner could be used in education systems as an environmental feedback tool to enlighten consumers motivation and change consumption patterns.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 71, 138-147 p.
Keyword [en]
Household metabolism, Sustainable consumption, LCA, Environmental feedback, Web-based tool, Carbon footprint, Energy footprint, Sweden
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-172668DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2015.05.014ISI: 000358627500011Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84933037756OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-172668DiVA: diva2:850357
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2006-1424
Note

QC 20150901

Available from: 2015-09-01 Created: 2015-08-27 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Systems Modeling Approaches to Physical Resource Management: An Industrial Ecology Perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Systems Modeling Approaches to Physical Resource Management: An Industrial Ecology Perspective
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many of the present problems that we are facing arise as unanticipated side-effects of our own actions. Moreover, the solutions implemented to solve important problems often create new problems. To avoid unintended consequences, understanding complex systems is essential in devising policy instruments and in improving environmental management. Thus, this thesis investigated systems modeling approaches to under- stand complex systems and monitor the environmental performance of management actions. The overall aim of the work was to investigate the usefulness of different systems modeling approaches in supporting environmental management. A driver- based, pressure-oriented approach was adopted to investigate systems modeling tools. Material/substance flow analysis, environmental footprinting, input-output analysis, process-based dynamic modeling, and systems dynamics modeling approaches were applied in different cases to investigate strengths and weaknesses of the tools in generating an understanding of complex systems. Three modeling and accounting approaches were also tested at different systems scales to support environmental mon- itoring. Static modeling approaches were identified as fundamental to map, account, and monitor physical resource metabolism in production and consumption systems, whereas dynamic modeling showed strengths in understanding complex systems. The results suggested that dynamic modeling approaches should be conducted on top of static analysis to understand the complexity of systems when devising and testing policy instruments. To achieve proactive monitoring, a pressure-based assessment was proposed instead of the mainstream impact/state-based approach. It was also concluded that the LCA community should shift the focus of its assessments to pressures instead of impacts. 

Abstract [sv]

Många nuvarande miljö- och utvecklingsproblem har uppstått som oförutsedda biverkningar av människans egna handlingar. De lösningar som prövats har i sin tur ofta skapat  nya problem. Det därför viktigt att förstå hur komplexa system fungerar och att utforma styrmedel och ledningssystem som minimerar risken för oönskade bieffekter. Den här avhandling har använt olika modelleringsmetoder för att öka förståelsen för komplexa system och bidra med kunskaper om hur miljöprestanda och förvaltningsåtgärder kan följas upp på ett mer effektivt sätt. Det övergripande syftet med arbetet var att undersöka användbarheten av olika modelleringsmetoder för att effektivisera den fysiska resurshanteringen i samhället. I arbetet har ett flödesbaserat och aktörsinriktat arbetssätt (pressure based and driver oriented approach) använts i modelleringen.  Material- och substansflödesanalys, miljöfotavtryck, input-output analys, processbaserad dynamisk modellering och systemdynamiska modelleringsmetoder studerades för att undersöka styrkor och svagheter hos de olika metoderna/verktygen.  Tre olika modellerings- och redovisningsmetoder för att stödja miljöövervakning testades också i olika systemskalor. Statiska modelleringsmetoder (räkenskaper) identifierades som grundläggande för att kartlägga, kontoföra och övervaka den fysiska resursmetabolismen i produktions- och konsumtionssystem, medan dynamisk modellering visade sin styrka i att skapa förståelse för komplexa system. Resultaten pekar på att dynamiska modelleringsmetoder bör användas som ett komplement till statiska analyser för att förstå komplexiteten i systemen när man utformar och testar styrmedel. För att uppnå proaktiv övervakning bör flödesbaserade räkenskaper utnyttjas i större utsträckning i stället för den vanliga tillstånds- och påverkansövervakningen (state/impact monitoring). En viktig slutsats är därför att LCA-samfundet bör flytta fokus i sina bedömningar från påverkan till flöden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. 74 p.
Series
TRITA-IM-PHD 2016:04, 2016:04
Keyword
Complex systems modeling, environmental accounting and monitoring, en- vironmental footprint, industrial ecology, pressure-based driver-oriented approach, Modellering av komplexa system, miljöräkenskaper och miljöövervakning, miljöpåverkan, industriell ekologi, flödesbaserad övervakningaktörsorienterad strategi
National Category
Energy Systems Environmental Management
Research subject
Industrial Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-191327 (URN)978-91-7729-077-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-09-22, Sal F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20160830

Available from: 2016-08-30 Created: 2016-08-29 Last updated: 2017-03-02Bibliographically approved

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