Industrial ecology is an interdisciplinary field focused on the sustainable combination of business, environment, and technology. It shifts industrial processes from linear (open loop) systems, in which resources and capital investments move through the system to become waste, to a closed loop system where wastes become inputs for new processes. Industrial ecology views industrial systems as being integral to ecological systems, not separate from them. The goals of the course are as follows: to define and describe industrial ecology; to demonstrate the relationships among production, consumption, sustainability, and industrial ecology; to show how industrial ecology serves as a framework for consideration of environmental and sustainability-related aspects of science and technology; and to introduce quantitative analytical methods and investigate their application to industrial ecology. The course provides an overview of theory, analytical methodology, and practical challenges in the field of industrial ecology. Emphasis is given to understanding how environmental assessment and improvements are carried out with support from systems analytical methods such as material flow analysis, risk analysis, life cycle analysis, energy analysis, cost benefit analysis, and eco-efficiency analysis.
Prerequisite: ENVR E-151, or the equivalent. (4 credits)
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