Back in the day whole environment refreshes were commonplace, utilized both as a go-live step and as a way of ensuring that environments before PD in the SDLC were synchronized. It worked and in the absence of a true object management tool, was pretty useful. Whole methodologies developed around this practice. With the introduction of OMW and subsequent understanding of how to manage a SDLC in EnterpriseOne the use of the practice seems to have dwindled. I know that, due to the possible issues associated with refreshing an environment's object's I no longer utilize the "whole environment refresh" method except as a repair tool.
Because somebody asked about this:
Please keep in mind that some of the information is out of date, particularly the P9864A stuff which is only for pre-8.11 and that most of these steps are done differently now.