EME 807
Technologies for Sustainability Systems

Summary & Activities

Lesson 2 explores the definitions of technology and attempts to characterize its role in sustainability systems. We learned that before technology can become part of society, it has to be developed and pass through a few levels of adaptation. This process of adaptation is largely governed by social and economic factors, not simply by the technical benefits proved through research and science. Decision making as for to deploy or not to deploy a particular technology, on what scale, at which location and when, would rely on (1) technology readiness (which is determined through TRL analysis) and (2) on technology adaptation to the social, economic, and environmental spheres (which is assessed through the LCA analysis). Both types of assessments are complex, require significant amount of factual data, and must be system-specific and location-specific. This lesson provides important background on both of the above-mentioned methodologies. The next step will be to choose metrics and to develop quantitative indicators for assessment.

Assignments for Lesson 2:
Type Assignment Directions Submit To
Reading Complete all necessary reading assigned in this lesson.  

Define Technology. How would you define technology from your personal perspective? (What comes to your mind when you use this word?) How do you understand the expression "sustainable technology"? Provide some examples to your definition (~1 paragraph). Provide comment on at least one other post on the forum. 

Deadline for initial posting: this Sunday; post your comments to other threads by the end of this lesson Wednesday 

Canvas: Lesson 2 Discussion 


Activity 2 - LCA exercise: Develop LCA diagrams for a particular product. You can use an object from the list or come up with your own choice. The goal of this exercise to apply lifecycle thinking to a simple product and map out all inputs and outputs and identify the potential environmental impacts of each lifecycle stage. You are advised to look up information on manufacturing and materials used in the product lifecycle, but you are not required to present any quantitative information.

Please refer to Lesson 2 Activity Worksheet on Canvas for more details.

Deadline: Wednesday (before midnight)


Lesson 2 Activity - LCA diagrams

Individual Course Project

Read the Course Project Instructions on Canvas.

Think of a topic that you would like to use for your Individual Final Course Project. The topic should focus on a particular technology of your choice and possibly be somewhat close to your professional area. You will use this technology or process for comprehensive evalution using different concepts incuded in this course.

Submit a brief description of the topic with an explanation why you chose it (please limit to 500 words) to the "Course Project - Topic Submission" on Canvas.

Deadline: Wednesday (before midnight)


Course Project module