Design of Environmental Management System for Consumers

Research Project , Research Report 2003

Yasuhiro FUKUSHIMA Research Associate, Department of Chemical System Engineering, University of Tokyo
Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Engineering, National Cheng Kung University

Abstract

Though a large number of studies, data, and sustainability schemes in daily lives can be found in different sources, only a limited portion of them are referred to by consumers for the purpose of putting the recommendations into action and managing their household consumption activities in a more sustainable manner, because they are not accessible in systematic and appropriate ways.
In this project, we have worked out a design of environmental management system that supports consumers in retrieving the relevant information, manage their daily activities, and learn the issues that are directly and indirectly related to their individual pattern of household consumption, by using environmental balance sheets that are progressively and automatically customized to individual consumer. Activity model of such a management system was constructed using IDEF0 function modeling language. Referring to the model, a preliminary trial of the management system operation was performed using prototype environmental balance sheets, to verify the information flows and to obtain administrative knowledge of such a system.
Furthermore, we have developed a household consumption model implemented as EcoLife software, which is constructed for use by consumers aiming at navigating its users towards a more sustainable lifestyle. The prototyping project elucidates the requirements to the envisioned tool, its data source, and case studies. The current version of EcoLife demonstrates the comparison of alternative activities in drinking tea. The inventory data used for making this comparison was developed from various scattered sources, including reports from environmental statements (reports) of tea manufacturers, convenience stores and bottle manufacturers, in addition to the LCA databases and I/O table.
The outcomes of this project were presented at three international conferences. One of the presentations (on EcoLife) has been quoted in ISIE (International Society of Industrial Ecology) newsletter as “maybe the most interesting presentation”, with a high interest to its further development.

Keywords:

Sustainable Consumption, Environmental Balance Sheet, EcoLife, IDEF0 function model