Multi-actor multi-criteria sustainability assessment framework for energy and industrial systems in life cycle perspective under uncertainties. Part 1: weighting method

Jingzheng Ren, Xusheng Ren, Hanwei Liang, Liang Dong, Long Zhang, Xiao Luo, Yingkui Yang, Zhiqiu Gao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Life cycle sustainability assessment is meaningful for the decision-makers/stakeholders to select the most sustainable option among multiple alternatives; however, there are usually various severe uncertainty problems in sustainability-oriented decision-making, i.e., the vagueness and ambiguity that existed in human judgments and the lack of information. This study aims at developing a novel life cycle multi-criteria sustainability assessment method for helping the decision-makers/stakeholders to determine the sustainability level of the industrial and energy systems. In part 1, an improved interval analytic hierarchy process (AHP) which allows multiple decision-makers/stakeholders to participate in the decision-making was developed to determine the weights of the criteria which were used in life cycle sustainability assessment. Methods: It is usually difficult for the decision-makers/stakeholders to use the numbers from 1 to 9 and their reciprocals for determining the comparison matrix when using the traditional AHP method for weight calculation, because human judgments usually involve various uncertainties. In order to the overcome this weak point of the traditional AHP, an improved AHP, so-called interval AHP, in which, multiple decision-makers/stakeholders are allowed to participate in the decision-making and allowed to use interval numbers instead of crisp numbers to establish the comparison matrix for determining the weights of the criteria for life cycle sustainability assessment, has been developed. Results and discussion: The proposed method was used to determine the weights of the four aspects for life cycle sustainability assessment including economic, safety, social, and environmental aspects. Five representative stakeholders were invited to participate in the decision-making. After Monte Carlo simulation, the final weights of the four aspects have been determined with the proposed interval AHP. Conclusions and perspectives: An interval AHP method was developed for determining the weights of the criteria for life cycle sustainability assessment; the decision-makers are allowed to use interval numbers to establish the comparison matrix for weight calculation. The weighting coefficients determined by Monte Carlo method can accurately reflect the preferences and willingness of multi-actor comparing with the traditional AHP method. This paper merely presents a novel method to calculate the weights of the criteria for life cycle sustainability assessment, but the method for determining the sustainability performance has been presented in part 2.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1397-1405
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Volume22
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Analytical hierarchy process
  • Interval number
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Multi-actor multi-criteria decision-making
  • Weights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)

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