Sustainable Dwellings and Intergenerational Equality - New Applications for Ecological Economics: A Systems Thinking Approach
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A systems thinking based approach was used to define and investigate the current state of knowledge in the academic disciplines related to sustainable residential dwellings via literature review. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with respondents connected to the system definition. The goal of the study was to determine the extent to which the academic disciplines, as well as the respondents, incorporated the social, economic, environmental and intergenerational aspects of sustainability. Significant variation was found in both the disciplines as well as in the responses of interviewees. Life-cycle cost analysis of dwellings built to the Norwegian passive house standard was used to investigate the implications of using alternative discount factors for extended assumed life spans. The results indicated that alternative discount factors have the potential to significantly reduce rental costs while fulfilling the potential Pareto optimality criterion. The alternative discount factors used in the life-cycle cost analysis were later shown to have flaws which limit their usefulness; a methodology for deriving a representative multigenerational discount rate was proposed.