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:: Volume 38, Issue 165 (6-2019) ::
JHRE 2019, 38(165): 97-112 Back to browse issues page
Assessing the Mitigation of Environmental Impacts of Using Renewable Resources in Rural Areas (Case Study: Nejobaran Village-Kermanshah- Iran)
Ehsan Khanmohamadi, Abbas Mahravan *
Assistant Professor of Architecture, Razi University of Kermanshah , a.mahravan@razi.ac.ir
Abstract:   (328 Views)
This paper evaluates the changes in the ecological footprint index in rural areas by applying the replacement of renewable energy sources to fossil fuels. Population growth, and consequently increased use of fossil fuels, has resulted in various environmental degradation including climate change, global warming, and melting of polar ice. Detailed scientific analysis show that the buildings consume more than 40% of the total used energy, of which 70% is consumed as electrical energy. Therefore, it is essential to reduce nonrenewable energy’s consumption through particularly focusing on the substitution of renewable energy sources to achieve a far less environmental degradation. Although the rural areas are considered as locations contain a proportion of the population living in the biosphere with a less usage of nonrenewable resources, it should also be considered that the population living in the mentioned areas benefits from many economic, health and welfare facilities existing in their surrounding towns. Therefore, rural communities' participation in environmental conservation is crucial to the conservation of the living environment. In addition, rural areas have a wide range of potential uses of renewable energy sources than urban environments. In this regard, the Eco-villages have successfully supplied much of their energy consumption from renewable sources focusing on sustainable strategies and policies. For example, Ithaca eco village have reduced its ecological footprint to zero through using renewable energy sources and even transferred its surplus electricity to the national grid. The ecological footprint is an indicator that can be widely used for assessing the environmental impacts of human products, activities, and services on the Earth. This index specifies the amount of land needed to absorb carbon dioxide emitted through the consumption of a certain amount of fossil fuels. On average, at the global scale, one hectare of productive land is needed to absorb the emitted CO2 from consuming 80 to 100(Gj) energy resulted from combustion of fossil fuel. The index of the ecological footprint in Iran was 2.8 gha/capita/year in 2015. Comparing this index with the Iran's bio-capacity (0.9 gha/capita/year) reveals the excessive withdrawal of the biological capacity of natural resources in this country. The present paper proposes an efficient method for assessing the effect of using renewable energy sources in the ecological footprint of rural areas. A case study of "Nejobaran village" as an example of rural areas with rich natural potentials for using renewable energy sources is analyzed carefully using an analytical research methodology. The data collection has been done through observation, questionnaires and interviews, using statistics and research works along with the official websites and library resources. After assessing the feasibility of using a variety of renewable energy production methods in the Nejobaran village, the ecological footprint of the current situation of the electricity consumption is calculated and compared with the case of consuming renewable energy sources. The Nejobaran village is examined to determine how the substitution of available renewable energy sources can contribute to mitigating environmental impacts of using electrical energy supplied by fossil fuels. The detailed analysis show that the ecological footprint of consumed electricity in that village, used for cooling, heating, lighting, and other home appliances, as well as the communication equipment, is 6.893 (gha). The use of photovoltaic panels with a surface area of 1,000 (m2) and two small water turbines not only contribute to reduce the ecological footprint of this sector to 1,895 (gha) and 1,577 (gha), respectively, but also contribute to mitigate the total ecological footprint of the village comparing to the choice when all electricity supplied by fossil fuel. The use of these two systems together brings 1912.1 (Gj) of electrical energy, which is 1216.4 (Gj) in excess of the needs of the Nejobaran village, which changes this village into an energy plus rural area. Applying these two systems will be resulted to supplying the required energy as well as delivering the additional electricity to the national grid. As a result, this prevents the exploitation of 10,365 (gha) from the productive lands of the village and country.
Keywords: Sustainability, Sustainable Communities, Ecological footprint, Ecovillage, Renewable energy sources.
Full-Text [PDF 2348 kb]   (142 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special
Received: 2017/08/30 | Accepted: 2019/06/9 | Published: 2019/06/9
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Khanmohamadi E, Mahravan A. Assessing the Mitigation of Environmental Impacts of Using Renewable Resources in Rural Areas (Case Study: Nejobaran Village-Kermanshah- Iran). JHRE. 2019; 38 (165) :97-112
URL: http://jhre.ir/article-1-1605-en.html

Volume 38, Issue 165 (6-2019) Back to browse issues page
فصلنامه مسکن و محیط روستا Journal of Housing and Rural Environment
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