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... process levels with disassembling, reuse and materials recycling technology (Agency for Industrial Science and Technology, Japan) More Terminology ...

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  • Terminology
  • Design for the Environment
  • Natural Systems as Models
  • Directions in Industrial Ecology
  • Examples
  • Ecology: the study of the earth’s life support systems, of the interdependence of all beings on Earth (Odum, E.)
  • Metabolism: sum of the processes sustaining the organism: production of new cellular materials (anabolism) and degradation of other materials to produce energy (catabolism) (Ray)
  • Industrial Ecology: application of ecological theory to industrial systems (Rejeski); views the industrial world as a natural system, embedded in local ecosystems and the local biosphere (Lowe)
  • Industrial Metabolism: flow of materials & energy through the industrial system and the interaction of these flows with global biogeochemical cycles (Erkman)
  • Industrial Symbiosis: an industrial system where waste from processes is a resources for other processes
more terminology
More Terminology
  • Eco-Efficiency: Integration of economic efficiency (financial return, profit, productivity, customer perception) and environmental efficiency (energy, emissions, environmental impacts.
  • Ecofactory: integrated design of production systems technology- including DFE at product and process levels – with disassembling, reuse and materials recycling technology (Agency for Industrial Science and Technology, Japan)
more terminology5
More Terminology
  • Design for the Environment: considers all potential environmental implications of a product: energy and materials used in the product; its manufacture and packaging; transportation; consumer use, reuse, and recycling; and disposal.
  • DfX
  • Design for Recycling
  • Design for Disassembly
  • Design for Remanufacturing
resource energy flows linear model
Resource & energy flowsLinear model



unlimited waste


resource energy flows semi cyclical model
Resource & energy flowsSemi-cyclical model

limited resources

and energy




resource energy flows cyclical model
Resource & energy flowsCyclical model



Source: Graedel, T.E., “On the concept of industrial ecology”,

Annual Review of Energy and Environment, no. 21, 1996, p. 77.

natural systems
Natural Systems
  • Function as an integrated whole
  • Minimize waste: dead or alive all plants and animals and their wastes are food for something
  • Decomposers (microbes and other organisms) consume waste and are eaten by other creatures in the food chain
  • Toxins are not stored or transported in bulk but are synthesized and used as need by species individuals
  • Materials are continually circulated and transformed in elegant ways.
  • Nature runs largely off solar energy
  • Nature is dynamic and information driven, identity of ecosystem players is defined in process terms
the industrial ecology paradigm
The Industrial Ecology Paradigm
  • Earth is a closed ecological system: the scale and design of development is inconsistent with long-term ecological survival
  • Human society and natural systems have co-evolved
    • Nature has intrinsic value, revealed thru economic activity
    • The ethical/moral underpinnings of economic actions omit concerns for the world
  • Sustainability (strong) means independently maintaining stocks of natural and human capital
  • “Ecologize Economy”, an economy based on service, not goods, or quantity, of life
  • Moral/ethical transformation to instill environmental concerns
  • Technological realism, precautionary principle for uncertainty
more about industrial ecology
More about Industrial Ecology
  • Industry mimics nature
    • Waste from one organism is food for another
    • Everything is connected by cyclic processes
    • Living off nature’s interest
  • Shift in thinking
    • Past: Remediation
    • Present: Treatment, storage, and disposal
    • Future: Industrial metabolism and the industrial ecosystem
  • Management of the nature-industry interface
  • Ultimate goal: bringing the industrial system as close as possible to being a closed-loop system with near complete recycling of materials.
  • Is zero waste achievable, considering thermodynamics, or is zero environmental impact a more feasible target?
framework for industrial ecology
Framework for Industrial Ecology
  • Improve metabolic pathways of industrial processes and systems
  • Create loop-closing industrial systems
  • Dematerialize industrial output
  • Systematize patterns of energy use
  • Balance industrial system input and output to ecosystem activity
  • Align policy to conform with long-term industrial system evolution
  • Create new action-coordinating structures, communicative linkages, and information
industrial metabolism
Industrial Metabolism
  • A “Big Picture” analytic tool developed by Robert Ayres
  • Examination of the total pattern of material and energy flows form initial extraction of resources to final disposal of wastes
  • Factors in the real value of nonrenewable resources and environmental pollution, gives value to externalities
  • Can be used for regions (the Rhine basin), specific industries (aluminum) or specific materials (heavy metals)
  • Suggests some measures of sustainability: ratios of potential to actual recycled materials, virgin to recycled materials, materials productivity

On average, only 6% of resources taken from the environment end as products.

Other 94% is waste.

Source: Lowe, Warren, Moran, 1999.

Is it really waste?

Or is it a by-product that can be used elsewhere?

industrial symbiosis
Industrial Symbiosis
  • Most commonly understood meaning of industrial ecology
  • Waste materials and energy serving as inputs or resources for other industrial processes
  • Also referred to as “By-product synergy,” “green twinning,” “zero-waste/zero-emissions,” “cradle-to-cradle eco-efficient manufacturing”
  • Evolving into the concept of an Eco-Industrial Park where co-locating

Conventional Waste Managment in Fiji


Chicken Raising

Methane Gas Production

Fish Ponds

Brewery waste dumped into oceans to destroy coral reefs


Muck dumped on fields

Waste piles up

Methane vented

Muck cleaned out


Industrial Ecology in Fiji


Chicken Raising

Methane Gas Production

Fish Ponds


Brewery waste fertilizes mushrooms


Mushroom residue feeds chickens

Chicken waste is composted

Solids become fish food

Nutrients used in gardens

back to industrial ecology
Back to Industrial Ecology
  • The name “industrial ecology”- why?
    • Models of non-human biological systems and their interactions with nature are instructive for industrial systems that we design and operate
    • The biological model is clever, a closed-loop materials system
    • Recent better understanding of the materials and energy flows of biological systems
  • Questions:
    • How do you apply the biological principles of resilience, limiting factors, other rules?
    • What about the low efficiency of natural systems (<5%)?
  • Bottom Line:
    • Lessen (dramatically the impacts of our industrial system)
    • Management of the industry-natural systems interface, match input-output of the manmade world to the constraints of the biosphere
implementing industrial ecology
Implementing Industrial Ecology
  • Technical Basis
    • Choose material
    • Design the product
    • Recover the material
    • Monitor the Situation
  • Institutional Barriers and Incentives
    • Market and informational barriers
    • Business and Financial barriers
    • Regulatory barriers
    • Legal Barriers
  • Regional Strategies
    • Ecoparks, Eco-Factories
candidates for lessening impacts
Candidates for Lessening Impacts
  • Zero Emissions Systems
    • Orderly progression from Type I (high throughput mass and energy, no resource recovery) to Type III (closed loop)
    • Eliminate ‘leaks’
  • Material Substitution
    • More durable, less waste, more recyclable
  • Dematerialization
    • Theory of Dematerialization: the more affluent a society becomes, the mass of materials required diminishes over time
    • Must result in less waste to be effective
  • Functionality Economy
    • What is the function? Do we need automobiles? Waste from telephone disposal (old phones were leased and returned!)
design for the environment dfe
Design for the Environment (DFE)
  • Considers all potential implications of a product
    • Energy & materials
    • Manufacture & packaging
    • Transportation
    • Consumer use, reuse or recycling, and disposal
  • A holistic design process
  • Example: automobile bodies (Iron, plastics, & aluminum)
  • Tradeoffs: virgin vs. recycled, energy at each stage, materials recyclability, manufacturability, costs
  • Challenges:
    • Adequate database about materials and their impacts
    • Concurrent engineering to work across R&D, marketing, quality..
    • Public sector involvement for defining values for trade-off
dfe example xerox
DFE Example - Xerox


New Components

Raw Materials

Certified Reprocessing

Closed Loop Recycling

Certified Reprocessing


Return to Suppliers

Customer Use


Third Party Recycling


Materials for Recycling


Alternative Uses

Disposal Goal: Zero to Landfill

the eco industrial park eip
The Eco-Industrial Park (EIP)
  • A community of manufacturing and service businesses seeking enhanced environmental and economic performance through collaborating in the management of environmental and resource issues.
  • The interactions among companies resemble the dynamics of a natural ecosystem where all materials are continually recycled.
  • Industrial Park: restricted meaning in terms of geography and ownership.
  • An EIP is a relate estate property that must be managed to bring a competitive advantage to its owners.
  • An EIP is a “community of companies” that must manage itself to provide benefits for its members.
  • Decisions are based on maximizing the profitability of the EIP as a whole
  • Transfer prices negotiated so each member will be as profitable as without the EIP
green buildings and ecology
Green Buildings and Ecology
  • A highly successful international Green Building movement exists and is rapidly progressing
  • Buy-in is occurring by the public and private sectors and market demand is increasing
  • New products and services supporting this movement are appearing daily
  • BUT..the design, construction, operation, and disposition of Green Buildings is not based in science and its connection to ecology is at best tenuous
  • The proponents of Green Building are architects, engineers, planners, and others with little or no education, training, or experience in ecology
typical u s green building
Typical U.S. Green Building
  • Based on the application of the LEED (points) system
  • Energy efficient (first law); renewable energy sources
  • Water efficient; reuse or rainwater harvesting
  • Recycled content or used building materials with low embodied energy; certified wood; local materials
  • Healthy interior air quality
  • Proximity to mass transit
  • Reduction in construction waste
  • Rationale: Protect the environment and the functioning of ecosystems
raw materials for an earthship
Raw Materials for an Earthship

Earth - Ship n. 1. a passive solar home made out of natural and recycled materials. 2. a home combining passive solar architecture with thermal mass construction. 3. renewable energy and integrated water systems make the Earthship an off-grid home with no utility bills.

problem ecological insights
Problem-Ecological Insights
  • Rationale: Knowledge of ecology is a prerequisite to creating green buildings, otherwise we are guessing and using pure intuition
  • Problem: How do we use ecology to inform our design, construction, operation, and disposition of the built environment?
  • Spinoff Questions:
    • Should the built environment behave like a natural system?
      • Energy Use
      • Materials Flows
    • Should we merely use the ‘metaphor’ of a natural system?
    • How do we ‘interface’ natural and human systems?
    • How do we redesign our industrial system to behave like an ecosystem?
construction ecology and metabolism
Construction Ecology and Metabolism
  • Ecology and Industrial Ecology as the basis for sustainable construction or ‘green’ building
  • Industrial Ecology has made significant progress in the past decade: Industrial Symbiosis
  • Lessons from nature
    • Closed loop cycling of materials: zero waste
    • Maximize 2nd Law efficiency (effectiveness) and then maximize 1st Law efficiency
    • Nature is adaptable, diverse, and resilient
    • Emergent systems functioning on the edge of chaos
  • A subset of construction ecology and metabolism
  • Radical sustainability for construction

Initial Conversations with Ecologists

  • Interface buildings with nature and model based on nature
  • Make buildings part of the geological landscape
  • Design buildings that are deconstructable with components that are reusable and ultimately recyclable
  • Make buildings adaptable, flexible for multiple uses
  • Integrate industrial and construction activities with ecosystem functions to sustain or increase the resilience of society and nature
  • Keep materials in productive use, implies keeping buildings in productive use
  • Use only renewable, biodegradable materials or their industrial equivalents such as recyclable industrial material
green innovations rinker hall
Green Innovations – Rinker Hall
  • Advanced Passive Design: light, energy shedding façade, active façade
  • Advanced daylighting and integrated lighting controls: occupancy sensors, light throttling, task lighting, high efficiency light fixtures
  • Fuel cell power, waste heat absorption chiller
  • Dematerialized, Deenergized, Decarbonized
  • Deconstructable
  • Adaptable
  • Modern Classic Architecture, variant of Collegiate Georgian Architecture, bioclimatically suitable

Natural systems hold the key, both as metaphors and actual examples, for truly green buildings

  • Ecologists must be integrated into this movement to gain their expertise on how natural ‘systems’ behave
  • Construction Ecology is based on the integration of Ecology and Industrial Ecology
  • Construction Ecology is in fact a subset of Industrial Ecology