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Scoping environmental pressure from material use for strategic environmental management : case of the Swedish National Rail Authority
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2005 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis aim is to develop an approach for scoping of environmental aspects regarding the material use in a large organisation in order to contribute to a strategic environmental management. The study object is the Swedish National Rail Authority.

The transport sector is closely linked to the environmental pressures caused by our society, consequently a lot of studies have been made regarding the contribution from different transport sectors. However, the bulk of these studies concerns only the transports and thus omits the environmental pressures from the material use needed to support these sectors, i.e. building and maintaining the infrastructure. The rail transport sector is generally conceived to be the most environmentally adapted land transport mode. However, this notion commonly only includes environmental pressures from the traffic phase.

The method uses "material related energy use" and CO2-emissions as a proxy to environmental pressures from material use. Furthermore, the robustness of the method is tested by the use of scenarios and sensitivity analysis. In particular, the environmental relevance of the energy indicator is studied.

The approach developed in this thesis can be used to introduce new perspectives, such as upstream environmental pressures, to an organisation's environmental management. It can be employed to identify hot spots in an organisation's material use. Consequently, this new knowledge can be used to influence the design of new products, to set environmental demands for purchasing and to focus further environmental analyses of the hot spots. The approach can also be used to broaden the perspectives in for instance environmental impact assessments, strategic environmental assessment and environmental reviews.

In the studied rail building project, 3 products constituted 99.5 weight-% of the total material use. These products were steel rails, concrete ties and ballast materials. They share the common characteristics of being noncomplex, non-toxic and made out of very few materials.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2005. , 42 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1152
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-39460Local ID: 48627ISBN: 91-85297-53-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-39460DiVA: diva2:260309
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2013-11-29
List of papers
1. Screening of environmental pressure from products in the Swedish railway infrastructure: Implications for Strategic Environmental Management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Screening of environmental pressure from products in the Swedish railway infrastructure: Implications for Strategic Environmental Management
2007 (English)In: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, ISSN 0921-3449, E-ISSN 1879-0658, Vol. 52, no 2, 248-265 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper proposes a method to be used in environmental reviews as an initial tool for estimating upstream environmental pressures from material use in organisations dealing mostly with construction materials. Upstream environmental pressures are often omitted in environmental reviews from organisations and instead tend to be site specific, with a limited life-cycle perspective. This paper uses the Swedish National Rail Authority as a case to present the approach. An energy indicator is used to estimate the environmental pressure of material use.

In the studied building project, a small set of products contribute to a major part of the material use and the material-related energy use. The energy use is almost exclusively of nonrenewable energy carriers. The three most important products are all homogenous and non-complex, which makes the energy indicator well suited for the analysis. The organisation can use the results to focus on the most important products and also to see which parts of the organisation contribute to the material-related energy use. Rail traffic in Sweden is almost exclusively from non-fossil-based energy carriers. This highlights the importance of the infrastructure to the overall environmental pressure of the railway. Consequently, if road transport were to shift away from fossil fuels, railways earlier environmental advantages would diminish, since research suggests that railway infrastructure is more energy intensive than road infrastructure.

Keyword
Railway, Infrastructure, Material use, Environmental pressure, Screening
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14492 (URN)10.1016/j.resconrec.2007.03.006 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-05-22 Created: 2007-05-22 Last updated: 2017-12-13
2. Energy Use and Carbon Dioxide Emissions From the Rail and Road Transport Systems: the Importance of Infrastructure
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Energy Use and Carbon Dioxide Emissions From the Rail and Road Transport Systems: the Importance of Infrastructure
2006 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The indirect environmental pressures from the material use of the transport infrastructure are often excluded in analysis of the transport sector. In this paper we analyze the energy and CO2 emissions from the rail and road transport sectors from both the traffic and the infrastructure. The analysis uses a cradle-to-gate methodology to calculate the environmental pressures and allocate them to different rail and road vehicles. The railway infrastructure is more energy intensive. Passenger buses use the least amount of energy among the passenger vehicles, but since the electrified trains in Sweden mostly use hydropower for electricity production, the latter has less CO2 emissions. Electrified freight trains are both more energy efficient and emit less CO2 compared to long-distance trucks. It is also interesting to note what would happen if the traffic in the road transport system were fuelled by renewable energy carriers instead of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide emissions from road transport would thereby decrease, making it reasonable to question the environmental advantage of the railway.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14491 (URN)
Available from: 2007-05-22 Created: 2007-05-22 Last updated: 2013-11-29
3. Environmental Relevance and Use of Energy Indicators in Environmental Management and Research.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental Relevance and Use of Energy Indicators in Environmental Management and Research.
2006 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, Vol. 14, no 2, 134-145 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Energy use as a single indicator or in a set of few indicators is often used in applied research in the building, transportation and energy sectors. However, the environmental relevance of energy indicators is seldom questioned. The relation between environmental relevance and energy indicators might seem obvious. Nevertheless, how this is obvious has not been thoroughly discussed. The aim of this paper is to investigate the environmental relevance of the energy indicator and discuss implications for its use. The approach is to express environmental pressure in different environmental impact categories and determine the contribution to these from energy use. Because not all impact categories are closely linked to energy indicators, the aim and context in which it is used must be apparent.

Keyword
Energy indicator; Environmental pressure; Environmental assessment; Energy system; Environmental management
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14493 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2005.01.004 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-05-22 Created: 2007-05-22 Last updated: 2013-11-29

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