Strategy Of The Chapter

Issues of economic evaluation and assessment are covered in this chapter. All ecological engineering projects are concerned with economics, usually in several contexts, making this a subject of general relevance. The conventional economic approaches are covered first with a survey of cost-benefit analysis and assessments based on market valuation. Ecological engineering designs can save money especially because they use more free, renewable energies and less purchased energies than traditional alternatives. They also can produce by-products that add value to their assessment. Limitations of conventional economic analysis are discussed with focus on environment. While a number of approaches have evolved to include environmental issues and values in conventional economics, some aspects are still not adequately considered. Alternative policy and accounting systems, such as the new field of ecological economics, have been developed in response to these limitations. Important topics stimulated by the development of this field are discussed, including ecosystem services, carrying capacity, natural capital, and sustainability. A new approach, emergy analysis, is presented in some depth as an example of an accounting system that is appropriate for ecological engineering. The chapter con cludes with brief considerations of relevant economic policies and issues: financing, patenting, regulatory permitting, and ethics.

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