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Unformatted text preview: Engineering for the Environment:
The Evolution of Sustainable Engineering
Prof J.A. Nicell, PhD, PEng
Department of Civil Engineering & Applied Mechanics McGill School of Environment McGill University Engineering Constraints
Engineers apply their skills to solve problems, subject to the following traditional constraints: Lowest cost Shortest time Highest quality Functionality and responsiveness to changing user needs Financial viability Decision-Making Tools Technical analyses Cost-effectiveness and Benefit/Cost analyses Risk analysis Ethical analysis The Bad News...
EAST BLOC'S DIRTY Environmental Crisis 25% of world's plants in danger of extinction UN report forecasts global catastrophe
Canada among top of heap in garbage production
Chlorinated water adds to risk of cancer, study says Uh Oh. Endocrine Disruptors? How Did We Get Here?
The Solution to Pollution is Dilution Traditional Industrial Approach Traditional Industrial Approach Stages of Ecological Consciousness How Far Have We Come? Conservation Emphasize efficient development and use of natural resources Preservation Preserve natural areas in their natural state and close them to development Protection Focus on pollution control and dangers to human health Survival Be concerned with global problems and sustainability Sustainable Development
"...development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
"Our Common Future" World Commission on Economics and Development (1987) A Strategy for Environmental Protection
Reduce Reuse Recycle Recover The Solution to Pollution is Reducin' The Good News...
Blue-box bandits hungry for waste paper THE STATE OF GARBAGE IN AMERICA
RECYCLING CLIMBS TO 32% IN 2000 INCINERATION DOWN TO 7% LANDFILLING DOWN TO 61% A WHALE OF A SUCCESS Ontario's ripe beaches smell like success to biologists on both sides of border COMPOST IS KEY TO THEME PARK'S BEAUTY Who could relish a sewage burger? "Industrial Ecology" Approach
Industrial ecology "requires that an industrial system be viewed not in isolation from its surrounding system, but in concert with them. It is a systems view in which one seeks to optimize the total materials cycle from virgin material, to finished material, to component, to product, to waste product and to ultimate disposal." "Industrial Ecology" (1994) B. Allenby and T.E. Graedel Elements of an Industrial Ecology A deep understanding of materials and energy flows and interactions An orientation toward the future A change from linear (open) processes to cyclical (closed) systems An effort to reduce environmental impacts on ecological systems An emphasis on developing industrial systems that emulate efficient and sustainable natural systems Developing an Industrial Ecology
(Closed-Loop Material & Energy Flows) Each firm attempts to minimize process waste Industrial parks created based on diversity Interconnect firms based on waste-input cycles Cooperation for input sources Local sourcing of external inputs Local market for output Shift energy supply from fossil fuel to solar flow (renewable) A Sustainable Industrial Ecology A Sustainable Industrial Ecology Kalundborg Park Industrial Symbiosis (Denmark) Engineering Constraints Lowest cost Shortest time Highest quality Functionality and responsiveness to changing user needs Financial viability Economic and environmental sustainability The Decision-Making Process
Define the problem Generate solutions Evaluate solutions Reassess situation Take action Select a solution Decision-Making Tools Technical analyses Cost-effectiveness and Benefit/Cost analyses Risk analysis Ethical analysis Environmental and Social Impact analyses Sustainability and Life-Cycle analyses What Can Engineers Do? Integrate the concepts of sustainable development into the design process Educate yourself for the rest of your career Look at environmental problems as engineering "opportunities" Think "outside the box": develop new approaches Form interdisciplinary teams to tackle complex issues Adopt an "industrial ecology" approach The Principles of "Green" Engineering What Can You Do? Engineer processes and products holistically, use systems analysis, and integrate environmental impact assessment tools. Conserve and improve natural ecosystems while protecting human health and well-being. Use life-cycle thinking in all engineering activities. Ensure that all material and energy inputs and outputs are as safe and benign as possible. Minimize depletion of natural resources. The Principles of "Green" Engineering What Can You Do? Strive to prevent waste. Develop and apply engineering solutions, while being cognizant of local geography, aspirations, and cultures. Create engineering solutions beyond current or dominant technologies; improve, innovate and invent (technologies) to achieve sustainability. Actively engage communities and stakeholders in development of engineering solutions. Thanks Engineering Code of Ethics (QC) Duties & Obligations to the Public (Section 2.01)
In all aspects of his (her) work, the engineer must respect his (her) obligation towards humanity and take into account the consequences of the performance of that work on the environment and on the life, health and property of every person. Independence & Impartiality (Section 3.05)
An engineer must, in the practice of the profession, subordinate his (her) personal interests to that of the client. An engineer must ignore any intervention by a 3rd party which could influence the performance of his (her) professional duties to the detriment of the client. Sources of Influence
Industry Client Owners Employees Ethics Morals Traditions Family Public Media Environmentalists Humanists (?) Government Regulations Politics ...
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- Spring '10