Service sector metabolism: Accounting for energy impacts of the Montjuïc urban park in Barcelona

Jordi Oliver-Solà, Montserrat Núñez, Xavier Gabarrell, Martí Boada, Joan Rieradevall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


This article evaluates, from an industrial ecology (IE) perspective, the energy performance of the services inside an urban system and determines their global environmental impact. Additionally, this study determines which are the most energy demanding services and the efficiency of their energy use per visitor and per surface area unit.

The urban system under study is the Montjuic urban park in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, which can be considered a services system. In this case study we distinguished the different patterns of consumption among the service fields and, by studying each field individually, found the most efficient facilities and identified the most critical services based on energy use per visitor or per square meter. These findings are based on the use of energy flow accounting (EFA), life-cycle assessment (LCA), and the energy footprint to analyze the Park's technical energy consumption.

Electricity consumption represents nearly 70% of the total energy consumed by the services at Montjuic Park. The forest surface area required to absorb the CO2-equivalent emissions produced by the life cycle of the energy consumed at Montjuic Park represents 12.2 times the Park's surface area. We conclude this article by proposing the incorporation of the methods of IE within the study of parks containing multiple services to improve energy management, and as a result, to raise the global environmental performance of the service sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-98
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • Energy footprint
  • Energy use
  • Industrial ecology
  • Integrated environmental assessment
  • Sustainable cities
  • Urban ecosystem


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