University of Calgary

Getachew Assefa

  • Associate Professor
  • Athena Chair Life Cycle Assess
  • Sustainable Development and Design

Education

BSc (Chem Eng), MSc(Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Infrastructure),  Licentiate Degree (Industrial Ecology), PhD (Industrial Ecology)

Personal Statement

My doctoral research at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm focusing on Sustainability Assessment of Technical Systems drew on my sustainability philosophy that connects back to  what I believe is the historical back yard of the sustainability concept and approach. The origins of the ideas of utilising resources at a sustainable rate can be traced back to different ancient literatures including the Scripture where a two dimensional command says: 'and the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it,' Genesis 2:15. For me, the  'dress' dimension represents designing and using technologies for human economic and social development.  The 'keep' dimension accounts for the environmental sustainability of the activity of development and utilization of technologies.

By having a holistic approach my research strives to avoid problem shifting and sub-optimization in the design and development of technical systems including buildings, energy systems, etc.  Sustainability can't be realized without making the whole world sustainable through environmentally benign, economically viable  and socially equitable utilization of resources. During my many travels around the world I have seen the importance of addressing developmental needs on one hand, and environmental sustainability on the other. It is not an either-or, it is both that we, as human beings, need to deal with. I am confident our common will and effort has the power to make a positive difference.  

Out of work, I enjoy participating in different activities of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. My other interests include swimming as well as reading and writing on sustainability and a spectrum of other issues.

Selected Work

  • Assefa, G., Glaumann, M., Malmqvist, T., and Eriksson, O. (2010) Quality versus impact: comparing the environmental efficiency of building properties using the EcoEffect tool. Accepted to Building and Environment. 45( 5),1095-1103.
  • Assefa, G., Glaumann, M., Malmqvist, T., Kindembe, B., Hult, M., Myhr, U. and Eriksson, O. (2007) Environmental assessment of building properties - where natural and social sciences meet: The case of EcoEffect. Building and Environment 42, 1458-1464
  • Ekvall, T., Assefa, G., Björklund, A., Eriksson, O. and Finnveden, G. (2007) What life-cycle assessment does and doesn't do in assessments of waste management. Waste Management.  27( 8), 989-996
  • Assefa, G., Frostell, B. (2006) Social sustainability and social acceptance in technology assessment: a case study on energy technologies. Technology in Society 29 (1), 63-78.
  • Zhenhong, G., Wennersten, R. and Assefa, G. (2006) Analysis of the most widely used Building Environmental Assessment methods. Environmental Science.  3(3),175-192
  • Assefa, G., Björklund, A., Eriksson, O., Frostell, B. (2005) ORWARE: an aid to Environmental Technology Chain Assessment. Journal of Cleaner Production 13(3), 265-274.
  • Assefa, G., Eriksson, O., Frostell, B. (2005) Technology assessment of thermal treatment technologies using ORWARE.  Energy Conversion and Management 46, 797-819.
  • Eriksson, O., Carlsson Reich, M., Frostell, B., Björklund, A., Assefa, G., Sundqvist, J. -O., Granath, J., Baky, A., Thyselius, L. (2005) Municipal Solid Waste Management from a Systems Perspective. Journal of Cleaner Production 13(3), 241-252.
  • Assefa, G., Frostell, B. (2005) A systematic approach for addressing input data uncertainties in technology assessment of new technologies: the case of ORWARE. Manuscript submitted to The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment.
  • Eriksson, O., Frostell, B., Björklund, A., Assefa, G., Sundqvist, J-O., Granath, J., Carlsson, M., Baky, A., Thyselius, L. (2002) ORWARE - A simulation tool for waste management. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 36(4), 287-307
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