Agriculture Reference
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Figure 5.4 Decision force field
where a number of factors have
nearly equal weighting in a design
decision. For example, if the law
is somewhat ambiguous, a
number of medical alternatives
are available, costs are flexible,
and environmental impacts are
reversible, the design has a
relatively large degree of latitude
and elasticity.
Medical efficaciousness
(e.g., drug delivery,
side effects)
Economics (e.g., initial and
operating costs, long-term
liabilities, investors'
Law (e.g., possible and
pending lawsuits, insurance
claims, contracts, codicils,
exclusions, government)
Environment impacts (e.g.,
energy losses, greenhouse
gas emission, use of toxic
substances, potential
releases of contaminants,
body burdens in patients)
Sustainable design must account for the various spheres of influence in the life
cycle, including the technical intricacies involved in manufacturing, using and
decommissioning of a product or system, the infrastructure technologies needed
to support the product and the social structure in which the product is made and
used (see Fig. 5.6). This means that no matter howwell a product is manufactured,
with the best quality control and assurances, it may well fail if the infrastructure
and societal context is not properly characterized and predicted. Each of the
spheres in Figure 5.6 affect and are influenced by every concentric sphere.
Decision force fields can be adapted specifically to sustainable designs. For
example, if we are concerned primarily about toxic management, we can develop
decision force fields based on the various physical and chemical properties of a
substance using a multiple-objective plot (Fig. 5.7). In this plot two different
products can be compared visually in terms of the sustainability, based on toxicity
(e.g. carcinogenicity), mobility and partitioning (e.g., sorption, vapor pressure,
Henry's law constants), persistence, and treatability by different methods (e.g.,
wastewater treatment facilities, pump and treat). The shape of the curve and the
size of the peaks are relative indicators of toxicity and persistence of a potential
problems (the inverse of sustainability of healthy conditions).
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