Sustainability Indicators for the Use of Resources—The Exergy Approach
Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reached an all-time high in 2010, rising 45% in the past 20 years. The rise of peoples’ concerns regarding environmental problems such as global warming and waste management problem has led to a movement to convert the current mass-production, mass-consumption, and mass-disposal type economic society into a sustainable society. The Rio Conference on Environment and Development in 1992, and other similar environmental milestone activities and happenings, documented the need for better and more detailed knowledge and information about environmental conditions, trends, and impacts. New thinking and research with regard to indicator frameworks, methodologies, and actual indicators are also needed. The value of the overall indicators depends on the production procedure of each material, and indicates their environmental impact. The use of “exergy indicators” based on the exergy content of materials and the use of the second law of thermodynamics in this work presents the relationship between exergy content and environmental impact.
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