An Integrated Approach for Sustainability Assessment: The Wa-Pa-Su Project Sustainability Rating System

  • Author / Creator
    Poveda, Cesar A
  • As global demand for energy continues to rise, unconventional petroleum extraction and production of petroleum substitutes are both becoming more necessary. Development and operation of unconventional oil projects can have considerable social, economic, and environmental impacts. For example, one the largest unconventional oil deposits in the world is the Athabasca oil sands in northern Canada. Government policy makers, industrial developers, and other stakeholders generally work together to develop oil sands projects in an environmentally responsible manner; however, the projects lack an effective sustainable development (SD) measurement tool. The development of the oil sands and heavy oil projects has been shaped by different circumstances (e.g., politics, economics, social, etc.) throughout the years. As the development continues, concerns related to the projects’ sustainability increases. Developing companies, stakeholders, and society is increasingly interested in understanding the impact that the projects have on present and future generations. Government agencies have issued a series of legal requirements (e.g., regulations) as an attempt to mitigate the impact of the projects. While these provide a general guideline and decisions at senior level are made, they barely assist practitioners and developing companies to accomplish the goals of sustainability in its three fundamentals pillars (e.g., social, economic, environmental). Trends in building practice and concerns about environmental, social, economic, health, and other impacts in the building industry have led to the development of environmental and sustainability assessment approaches, strategies, models, appraisals, and methodologies. The implementation of green technology and practices towards improving SD performance and accomplishing a certification process has brought along economic, social, and environmental benefits. A series of sustainable rating systems have been developed around the world and used extensively with unquestionable benefits to stakeholders in the building industry; therefore, the framework for developing rating systems for building systems can be extended and applied in other industrial contexts. The different benefits have been studied to develop the WA-PA-SU project sustainability rating system to measure in a consistent manner the SD of the oil sands and heavy oil projects. The rating system is a decision making tool that can be used by companies, stakeholders, and policy makers to measure and understand the range of impacts that the projects may have over time. This assessment framework includes but is not limited to regulatory requirements, and includes approaches for measuring sustainability on social, economic, environmental, and health grounds. This research presents a description of the different components of the rating system including the structure, the sustainable development indicators (SDIs) pre-selection process, the credit weighting tool (CWT), and the credit and overall sustainability assessment score allocation methodology.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Engineering Management
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Kumar, Amit (Mechanical Engineering)
    • Brebbia, Carlos (Wessex Institute of Technology)
    • Suddaby, Roy (Strategic Management and Organization)
    • Doucette, John (Mechanical Engineering)