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Urban Nexus

Towards Productive Cities // Environmental Assessment of the Food‐Energy‐Water Nexus of the Urban Roof Mosaic

By Susana Toboso‐Chavero, Ana Nadal, Anna Petit‐Boix, Oriol Pons, Gara Villalba, Xavier Gabarrell, Alejandro Josa, Joan Rieradevall. Cities are rapidly growing and need to look for ways to optimize resource consumption. Metropolises are especially vulnerable in three main systems, often referred to as the FEW (i.e., food, energy, and water) nexus. In this context, urban rooftops are underutilized areas that might be used for the production of these resources.

The authors developed the Roof Mosaic approach, which combines life cycle assessment with two rooftop guidelines, to analyze the technical feasibility and environmental implications of producing food and energy, and harvesting rainwater on rooftops through different combinations at different scales. To illustrate, we apply the Roof Mosaic approach to a densely populated neighborhood in a Mediterranean city. The building‐scale results show that integrating rainwater harvesting and food production would avoid relatively insignificant emissions (13.9–18.6 kg CO2 eq/inhabitant/year) in the use stage, but their construction would have low environmental impacts. In contrast, the application of energy systems (photovoltaic or solar thermal systems) combined with rainwater harvesting could potentially avoid higher CO2 eq emissions (177–196 kg CO2 eq/inhabitant/year) but generate higher environmental burdens in the construction phase.

When applied at the neighborhood scale, the approach can be optimized to meet between 7% and 50% of FEW demands and avoid up to 157 tons CO2 eq/year. This approach is a useful guide to optimize the FEW nexus providing a range of options for the exploitation of rooftops at the local scale, which can aid cities in becoming self‐sufficient, optimizing resources, and reducing CO2 eq emissions.

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Published

November 2018

In

Journal of Industrial Economy

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Solar-powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS)

Nexus Publicación // Manual de Capacitación Equipo Móvil de Bombeo Solar

Desarrollar y fortalecer capacidades de asesoramiento técnico y formulación de proyectos de agua, energía solar y producción de alimentos, en personal técnico del sector público y privado, así como en familias campesinas mediante su formación práctica utilizando un Equipo Móvil de Bombeo Solar demostrativo. La publicación1 de la Caja de herramientas de sistemas de riego solar ha sido posible gracias al apoyo brindado por la iniciativa mundial PAEGC. En 2012, la Agencia de los Estados Unidos para...

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Research

WEF Nexus Publication // Applying the Water-Energy-Food Nexus Approach to Catalyse Transformational Change in Africa

RES4Africa Foundation’s new study carried out in collaboration with Open Economics, looks at a WEF nexus project in rural Tanzania integrating hydro-powered mini-grid and agri-business usages that distributes water, power and food services to the surrounding communities. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects that the innovative Nexus project can have on a specific area. In doing this, a microeconomic impact assessment was developed to evaluate economic, social and environmental costs...

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Governance

WEF Nexus Research // Solar Energy Farming as a Development Innovation for Vulnerable Water Basins

By Mohammad Al-Saidi and Nisreen Lahham. This article evaluates a project from the Azraq Basin in Jordan, and presents similar international experiences, particularly from India. It assesses solar energy farming as an innovation from a water-energy-food nexus perspective.

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