Introduction to Engineering
What does the word
mean to you?
Form a small group and discuss this question
Sustainability – A Definition
"sustainable development is development that
meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations
to meet their own needs."
(Our Common Future, Brundtland Commission of the United
What are some current issues
that are driving engineers
(and others) to think about
sustainability in design?
What do you think?
If all people on Earth had the same
consumption habits as Americans do, how
many Earths would be needed to provide what
the world’s population would consume?
a. 1 Earth
b. 2 Earths
c. 6 Earths
d. 20 Earths
Show of hands
When you put your plastics on the curb
for recycling, what happens to them?
1. They all get recycled
2. Many of them get thrown away
If you wanted to make a product of
plastic, which of the following would
make it easiest to recycle?
A. Type 1
B. Type 3
C. Type 5 polyvinyl chloride
D. Type 6
E. I don’t know
What happened to my soda bottle?
Have you ever thrown
an old cell phone in the
Which of these materials saves the
most energy by recycling it?
Watch film: Citizens at Risk
Another film to watch: The Story of Stuff
As you watch think about how this applies to
In your small groups
What is an example of how you might
incorporate sustainability in engineering
design (particularly in your field of interest)
Sustainability is not a new concept
The U.S. National Environmental Policy Act
of 1969 declared as its goal a national policy
to "create and maintain conditions under
which [humans] and nature can exist in
productive harmony, and fulfill the social,
economic and other requirements of present
and future generations of Americans."
Three models of the three dimensions of sustainability
Elements of Sustainability
Economic – example: develop a process to
use industrial waste rather than have to pay to
get rid of it
Social – develop products that don’t
disproportionally affect one population
Environmental – example: develop processes
and products that minimize pollution
One method –
Impacts on people,
combined in Policy
Performance Index (PPI)
How do we judge if a product or
service is sustainable?
Life Cycle Assessment
(Life Cycle Analysis, Cradle to Grave Analysis)
Audit the total impact of the product’s (service’s)
In terms of
(“Life Cycle Assessment,” n.d.)
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
Categories of assessed damages
Greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, H2O, etc.)
Ozone layer depletion
Mineral & fossil fuel depletion
Dell netbooks shipped in bamboo packaging
Bamboo - highly renewable material as alternative to molded paper pulp,
foams and corrugated cardboard
CA Academy of Sciences
Green roof – natural insulation
Insulation from recycled jeans
Shuto Expressway- Japan
Bridge lights powered using electricity
generated from vibration caused by autos
Pepsi’s New Bottle
Will be on the
shelves in 2012
See what Apple is doing http://www.apple.com/environment/complete-lifecycle/
According to Apple:
•Through ultra-efficient design and use of highly recyclable materials,
Apple minimizes material waste at the product’s end of life.
•Various product take-back and recycling programs in 95% of regions
where Apple products are sold.
What is SJSU Doing?
President signed Talloires Declaration, a 10-point
action plan for incorporating sustainability and
environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations
and outreach at colleges and universities
Reduce consumption by 15% by the end of FY
2009/10, as compared to 2003/04. (EO 987)
Remodeled and new buildings - LEED* Certification
Artificial turf at stadium (1 million gallons water)
Other projects: see www.sjsu.edu/sustainability
*Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
Sustainability in our future
Phil Angelides (former CA State Treasurer):
“between now and 2030, 75% of the buildings
in the U.S. will either be new or substantially
rehabilitated” (“What is,” 2008).
Green Collar Jobs
Green Building design and construction
Design/manufacturing of sustainable products
Recycling and material reuse
Energy efficient automobiles
Environmental compliance specialist
Many more . . .
Green in Your Education
SJSU College of Engineering has a Green Engineering Minor
12 units total
Apply principles of green and sustainable engineering to engineering
Analyze economic and environmental impact of biofuels,
photovoltaics, rechargeable batteries, and fuel cells.
Use life cycle thinking in engineering activities.
Participate in student research projects that apply new, sustainable
and environmentally sound technologies and methods to real world
More info: www.engr.sjsu.edu/gen/greenengr
Dashboard of Sustainability. (2009, January 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Retrieved 14:55, November 24, 2009, from
EPA. 2009. Sustainability: Basic Information. Retrieved Nov 1, 2009 from
Life Cycle Assessment. (n.d.) Retrieved Nov 11, 2009 from
What is a Green Collar Job, Exactly? May 26, 2008. Time. Retrieved Nov 10, 2009 from