Green Engineering is not only ‘using engineering to do sustainable things’, it is also about ‘how to do all engineering in a sustainable way’

The video has ‘Green Manufacturing’ in its title (once again, no page in Wikipedia for this term yet) but it covers directly relevant concerns (even the ad near the start is ‘on topic’!)

The video mentions an article in Control Design magazine

Focus On: Green Manufacturing & Sustainability

Ok, so is there such a subject as green engineering?

Is there any basis for defining the term?

Here is my evidence for such a requirement:

‘The Twelve Principles of Green Engineering’

Published in the Environmental Science and Technology Journal of the American Chemical Society (ACS) by Paul Anastas and Julie Zimmerman

“Sustainability requires objectives at the molecular, product, process, and system levels”

1. Inherent Rather Than Circumstantial

Designers need to strive to ensure that all materials and energy inputs and outputs are as inherently non-hazardous as possible.

2. Prevention Instead of Treatment

It is better to prevent waste than to treat or clean up waste after it is formed.

3. Design for Separation

Separation and purification operations should be designed to minimize energy consumption and materials use.

4. Maximize Efficiency

Products, processes, and systems should be designed to maximize mass, energy, space, and time efficiency.

5. Output-Pulled Versus Input-Pushed

Products, processes, and systems should be “output pulled” rather than “input pushed” through the use of energy and materials.

6. Conserve Complexity

Embedded entropy and complexity must be viewed as an investment when making design choices on recycle, reuse, or beneficial disposition.

7. Durability Rather Than Immortality

Targeted durability, not immortality, should be a design goal.

8. Meet Need, Minimize Excess

Design for unnecessary capacity or capability (e.g., “one size fits all”) solutions should be considered a design flaw.

9. Minimize Material Diversity

Material diversity in multicomponent products should be minimized to promote disassembly and value retention.

10. Integrate Material and Energy Flows

Design of products, processes, and systems must include integration and interconnectivity with available energy and materials flows.

11. Design for Commercial “Afterlife”

Products, processes, and systems should be designed for performance in a commercial “afterlife.”

12. Renewable Rather Than Depleting

Material and energy inputs should be renewable rather than depleting.

Anastas, P.T., and Zimmerman, J.B., “Design through the Twelve Principles of Green Engineering”, Env. Sci. and Tech., 37, 5, 94A-101A, 2003.

Just in case this exercise in ‘defining green engineering’ seems to be a bit overbearingly authoritative (as far as adopting the ‘twelve principles’ and their basis as being definitive without question) on my part, a book with that term in the title has just been released.

Let me know whether you feel the term is being used in the book in the way described in the principles or in a different way, or in more than one way.

Sustainable infrastructure: the guide to green engineering and design

A complete guide to integrating sustainable strategies into infrastructure planning and design with emphasis on water resource management, site design and land planning.

Press release disclaimer

The item to the left of this box is a press release

Issued on behalf of at least one of the main organisations that it mentions, it concerns matters and events which they’d like to bring to your attention.

After checking it out, I’ve concluded that it’s a good idea to include it in here at length because it contains material relevant to this story and that if you are interested, you might find these additional details useful

I know it’s not common practice to include more than a small fragment of a press release in an independently written article, so I’d just like to make a point of reminding you to take the declared and implicit interests of the source into account when considering its content

John Wiley & Sons – Sustainable, or “Green,” building practices, coupled with emerging technologies, are transforming the design and construction industries.

As more factors, perspectives, and metrics are incorporated into the planning and building process, the roles of engineers and designers are increasingly being fused together.

Designers are being asked to account for and incorporate systems thinking, material flows, and environmental performance into their work; and engineers are being asked to apply their technical and infrastructural expertise earlier and more comprehensively as an integral part of the design process.

John Wiley & Sons, a leading publisher for designers and engineers, is releasing Sustainable Infrastructure: The Guide to Green Engineering and Design to explain how engineers are working with other members of the design team to develop a unified strategy that produces the most effective and elegant green alternatives for the revitalization of urban infrastructure.

This new release covers the concepts, strategies, tools, practices, and approaches that lead to environmental improvement through design & engineering practices.

In an effort to maximize the usability of dwindling resources such as land and water to help humanity strive to reconnect with the natural world, Sustainable Infrastructure advocates a multidisciplinary team approach to design that is not only highly sustainable technologically, but also visually beautiful.

This forward-thinking guide:

  • Contains complete coverage of sustainable infrastructure strategies for watershed master-planning, integrated storm water management, reclaiming urban spaces, and green streets programs
  • Delivers information on how to account for and incorporate systems thinking, material flows, and environmental performance into projects
  • Demonstrates how natural spaces are assimilated into the built environment
  • Offers an international perspective with case studies from around the world
  • Provides guidance on the role creative thinking and collaborative team-building play in developing the complex solutions needed to affect sustainability

Sustainable Infrastructure takes an in-depth view of the challenges involved in matching artistic impression with engineering principles in a sustainable development context.

It is the first to recognize and articulate the design and engineering perspectives when approaching the development of a modern sustainable infrastructure.

This book is an essential reference, for any professional incorporating sustainability into their design of urban infrastructure.

About the author:

S. Bry Sarté, PE, ASCE, LEED AP, founder of the Sherwood Institute and Sherwood Design Engineers, is a leading designer in green and sustainable engineering, and has made significant contributions to contemporary research involving global environmental issues affecting water supply, urban design, material science, and energy use.

Bry has built an international reputation by providing engineering services and design solutions that reflect a deep commitment to executing well-planned, sustainable alternatives for communities worldwide.

Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Publication date: September 27, 2010
$80.00; Hardcover; 384 pages; ISBN: 978-0-470-45361