Edited by Jodi Summers

Industrial Ecology is one of the finest concepts to come out of the green revolution. It also has some terminology that is uniquely its own…so we looked all the relevant terms up on Wikipedia (thank you http://en.wikipedia.org/) and would now like to share them with you…

Industrial Ecology – Industrial Ecology has been defined as a “systems-based, multidisciplinary discourse that seeks to understand emergent behavior of complex integrated human/natural systems”. The field approaches issues of sustainability by examining problems from multiple perspectives, usually involving aspects of sociology, the environment, economy and technology. The name comes from the idea that we should use the analogy of natural systems as an aid in understanding how to design sustainable industrial systems.

Circular Economy – Circular Economy is an evolving term that emphasizes strategies which a circular flow of materials and energy for environmental and monetary gain. An example of Circular Economy would be selling waste heat from one process to run another process that requires a lower temperature, thus maximizing energy efficiency by circulating emissions from one business to another.

Closed system – A closed system is a system in the “state of being isolated from its surrounding environment.” The term often refers to an idealized system in which closure is perfect. In reality no system can be completely closed; there are only varying degrees of closure.

Isolated system – In the natural sciences an isolated system, as contrasted with an open system, is a physical system that does not interact with its surroundings. It obeys a number of conservation laws: its total energy and mass stay constant. They cannot enter or exit, but can only move around inside.

Open system – Open system (systems theory), a system where matter or energy can flow into and/or out of the system, in contrast to a closed system, where energy can enter or leave but matter may not.

Eco-Industrial Park – An eco-industrial park (EIP) is an industrial park in which businesses cooperate with each other and with the local community in an attempt to reduce waste and pollution, efficiently share resources (such as information, materials, water, energy, infrastructure, and natural resources), and help achieve sustainable development, with the intention of increasing economic gains and improving environmental quality. An EIP may also be planned, designed, and built in such a way that it makes it easier for businesses to co-operate, and that results in a more financially sound, environmentally friendly project for the developer.








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  1. A notable example resides in a Danish industrial park in the city of Kalundborg. Here several linkages of by-products and waste heat can be found between numerous entities such as a large power plant, an oil refinery, a pharmaceutical plant, a plasterboard factory, an enzyme manufacturer, a waste company and the city itself. Surplus heat from this power plant is used to heat 3500 local homes in addition to a nearby fish farm, whose sludge is then sold as a fertilizer. Steam from the power plant is sold to Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical and enzyme manufacturer, in addition to a Statoil plant. This reuse of heat reduces the amount of thermal pollution discharged to a nearby fjord. Additionally, a by-product from the power plant’s sulfur dioxide scrubber contains gypsum, which is sold to a plasterboard manufacturer. Almost all of the manufacturer’s gypsum needs are met this way, which reduces the amount of open-pit mining needed. Furthermore, fly ash from the power plant is utilized for road building and cement production.

  2. In John Ehrenfeld’s article from American Behavioral Scientist entitled, Industrial Ecology: Paradigm or Normal Science, he proposes this dualistic query as a structure for discerning this paradox and asserts that Industrial Ecology has value in both concept and practice. It is not an either/or, but rather a both/and. He reinforces that Industrial Ecology offers the potential to include both modernity and sustainability, as suggested by the meanings of both “industrial” and “ecology.”

    Read more: http://www.triplepundit.com/2010/04/industrial-ecology-paradigm-shift-or-emerging-discipline/#ixzz0uCHsfMlf

  3. What each conception of waste has in common is the notion of something cast off. Often these cast-offs wind up by the side of the road or in a landfill. Sometimes people find value in them–table scrapings that become a meal for man or beast; discarded bottles that are recycled into new ones; industrial waste that becomes a feedstock to an entirely different process. Most recently, U.S. castoffs are trending downward. Even in categories where more waste is actually generated, less is simply discarded in favor of some type of reclamation.(1) Not only did we avoid a “garbage crisis” in the 1980s, but also, in the late 1990s, there are significant reasons to believe that ever-increasing waste is not inevitable. For the forces of the 1980s have led to a contextual shift in how we view waste today. Seen from the new perspective offered by industrial ecology in the broader framework of sustainable development, far fewer materials need be considered waste.

  4. Instituting a 10-year retrofit program for the country’s commercial spaces could save $41.1 billion in energy expenses every year, according to a new report by Pike Research.

    According to the report, as of 2010, more than 80 percent of commercial buildings in the U.S. were more than 10 years old. Pike estimated that a 10-year retrofit program would cost a total of $22.5 billion over its 10-year span.

  5. Hundreds of Chinese cities face varying levels of water shortages and deteriorating water quality, even as industries continue to pollute water.

    China’s quest for water has stressed downriver countries like Bangladesh, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, India, Thailand and Vietnam say China’s aggressive dam-building is depriving their citizens, especially subsistence farmers and other poor people, of water.

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