Saturday, September 21, 2013

Engineering for the Planet

Sustainability - engineers like it, too.

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Engineers for Change. Image via Flicker
Some engineering experts believe mechanical engineers are advocates for international sustainability. At the very least, while some fully embrace and others cautiously test the waters, a sustainable consciousness is surfacing in the occupation.

In a survey conducted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in collaboration with the engineering software firm Autodesk, 87 percent of the professional and student respondents revealed their interest in sustainable practices and designs. Furthermore, mechanical engineers (MEs) displayed a professional interest in sustainability along with a personal investment.

"Sustainability is clearly establishing itself as part of the mechanical engineering culture," says Thomas Loughlin, executive director at ASME. "Some 75 percent of the engineers surveyed suggested that their organizations are involved, or even extremely involved, in sustainability. This is another example of the vision and commitment of engineers around the world to improve the quality of life for all."

Loughlin isn't the only one who believes that embracing sustainable practices should be part of the gig. Many universities and engineering programs encourage  practices that seek to use less energy, reduce emissions or use renewable or recycled materials.

English: Created in Photoshop, based on
English: Created in Photoshop, based on "Sustainable development" diagram at Cornell Sustainability Campus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Some students and fresh graduates are very familiar with sustainable methods. The ASME survey, which polled nearly 2,000 ME students, found that more than 70 percent of students reported being extremely or somewhat involved with sustainable engineering

Engineering ethics courses discuss the social responsibilities of mechanical engineering, especially its ability to make an impact on global sustainability. Some professors argue the sustainable development framework supports the idea that good engineering entails a level of environmental conscientiousness.

Such concepts are applied in ASME efforts like Engineering for Change, E4C, a project co-founded with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Engineers Without Borders-USA. By connecting local governments and activists with engineers, technologists and NGOs, E4C facilitates the creation and sharing of sustainable solutions to humanitarian challenges in communities around the world.

To learn more about the ME occupation and its emphasis on sustainable engineering, visit www.asme.org. The future looks bright, especially when two-thirds of surveyed engineers expect their organizations or employers to increase sustainable efforts and green specifications in the next year.

Above article based on materials provided by NewsUSA.



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