56% of engineering students agree that their school has a sustainable design class, program or assignment, yet some respondents (13%) feel that incorporating sustainable and/or green design practices is too complex for her/his educational institution. A distinct majority (77%) of engineering student respondents believe that sustainable and/or green design principles typically have higher design costs. 3.3. Additional General Comments Although the attitudes towards sustainability of practicing engineers and engineering students are positive, and some believe it is a critical issue (e.g., some state that they feel engineers have a responsibility to bring sustainable processes to society), there are some who have serious reservations about its merits. These reservations include thinking that sustainability is: a buzzword or a temporary fad, or driven by public relations and politics, or a waste of time and money and harmful to companies, or based on unsound science. However, these views are held by a distinct minority of the respondents to the survey. Some cite the need for sharing sustainable engineering achievements and successes between developed and developing countries. 4. Attitudes and Actions of Engineering Corporations Towards Sustainability The involvement of practicing engineers with sustainability or sustainable technologies is notable. About 67% of practicing engineer respondents are involved with sustainability or sustainable technologies (24% extremely involved and 43% and somewhat involved). Conversely, 20% of practicing respondents are either somewhat uninvolved, extremely involved, or not at all involved. About 13% of practicing respondents are neither involved nor uninvolved. Similarly, the involvement of engineering students with sustainability or sustainable technologies is significant, but less notable than for practicing engineers. 48% of student respondents are involved with sustainability or sustainable technologies, while 26% are uninvolved and another 26% are neither involved nor uninvolved. The majority (66%) of practicing engineer respondents indicated that at least a small portion of their projects over the past year included sustainable and/or green design principles beyond those mandated by regulations. Only 14% of respondents felt that more than half of their projects included specifications that were based on sustainable and/or green design principles beyond those mandated by regulations. The most common sustainable technologies with which organizations are currently involved are shown in Table 1. They include designs that use less energy and reduce emissions (71% of respondents’ organizations), and designs that comply with environmental standards and regulations (also 71%).
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Sustainability 2013, 5378 Similarly, the sustainable technologies that have been worked on the most by practicing engineers over the past year include designs that use less energy or reduce emissions (64% or respondents), and designs that comply with environmental standards and regulations (54%). In the past year, more than two-thirds of working respondents have worked on designs that use less energy or reduce emissions.
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