ENV 884a/ENAS 645b () / 2022-2023

Industrial Ecology

Credits: 3
Fall 2022: M,W, 1:00-2:20, Bowers


The principal objective of industrial ecology is to reorganise the industrial system so that it evolves towards a mode of operation that is compatible with the biosphere and is sustainable over the long term” (Erkman 2017). To achieve this ambitious objective, the field of Industrial Ecology takes a systems perspective and draws analogies between industrial systems and ecology. Industrial Ecologists study (1) the flows of materials and energy in industrial and consumer activities, (2) the effects of these flows on the environment, and (3) the influences of economic, political, regulatory, and social factors on the flow, use, and transformation of resources (White 1994).
This course will introduce the foundations and applications of key tools of the field: Material Flow Analysis (MFA), Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Environmentally-Extended Input-Output Analysis (EEIO), and Industrial Symbiosis (IS). Strategic applications of these tools can provide insight for a wide range of decisionmakers with sustainability aims.  
The overall goals of the course are to define and describe Industrial Ecology; to demonstrate the relationships among production, consumption, sustainability, and Industrial Ecology in diverse settings and at multiple scales; to show how industrial ecology serves as a framework for the consideration of environmental and sustainability-related aspects of science, technology, and policy; and to gain an understanding of the tools, applications, and implications of Industrial Ecology