Sustainability is the cornerstone of many big challenges that most engineers face at present. Engineering programs should prepare students in ways that they can engineer within the bounds of sustainability.
The decisions made during product development are important. Over 80% of a product’s environmental impact is determined at this phase. Things such as material selection, manufacturing processes, supplier selection, and operational sufficiency are all established before production finally begins. Hence, the best way to begin is with, sustainable engineering.
Engineering students who study at reputed institutions are taught the importance of incorporating sustainability into their jobs. The intersection between engineering and sustainability is made significant so that the results are favourable.
Meaning of Intersection Between Engineering and Sustainability
In manufacturing, how products are developed can consume significant energy and natural resources, which can then lead to a negative impact on the environment and its ecosystems. Therefore, it is important to consider sustainable engineering principles while designing and manufacturing products.
Sustainable engineering is nothing but the practice of designing products and processes that can further drive material and energy efficiencies for minimising their environmental impact. This cuts costs and also improves the bottom line.
When manufacturers consider sustainability principles, they can easily minimise waste and maximise the value that they deliver. Most consumers and investors are expressing wide interest in sustainability and in response to this, manufacturers are open to adopting sustainability initiatives into their product development.
Sustainability is about focusing on reducing, recycling, reusing, and repurposing. Sustainable design is about adding value and designing products that are capable of bringing societal benefits and solving environmental challenges that are viable for businesses to implement. Engineers should be taught the process of developing and implementing innovative solutions.
Why Should Engineers Implement Sustainability?
All engineers should strive to keep the health, welfare, and security of the public in mind while improving efficiency and reducing the use of energy and materials. Sustainability has become one of the top objectives for engineers, as they are the ones who make decisions for minimising the environmental impact of a product.
There are various reasons why manufacturers must focus on sustainable engineering, and they are mentioned below.
- It helps reduce CO2 emissions.
- It helps minimise energy and material consumption, which further increases operational efficiency and reduces costs.
- It helps build recyclability and reuse while streamlining the top and bottom lines.
- It improves the company culture, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement.
- It increases the brand’s competitive edge, strengthens the brand, and also helps build public trust.
- It helps companies compete in the market when there are strict environmental, health, and safety regulations.
Sustainability Principles in Engineering
Sustainability is more like a collective process. Engineers are responsible for the design of a product, and it can influence what goes into the process, how something is built, how it functions, and how it is disposed of, and recycled. Engineers can adopt sustainable practices that are capable of reducing an organisation’s environmental impact.
Below are some of the few sustainable engineering principles that can make a difference.
Effective Use of Resources: During the process of designing products, engineers must be focused on ensuring that non-renewable resources are used properly. Effective use of resources helps in manufacturing as it leads to reduced depletion and any kind of extra waste.
Eliminating Waste: You should design, visualise, develop, and even test products in the digital realm as opposed to doing the same in the physical world while avoiding waste.
Material Alternatives: When it comes to sourcing parts, it becomes important to consider suppliers who offer sustainable options, including recycled and reused materials, so that sustainability can be achieved.
Sustainability is fundamental for overall growth in the future, and engineers must be taught the knowledge and skills that can ensure the streamlined use of resources. If you have always been interested in becoming a successful engineer, then choosing study programs that give due importance to sustainability is necessary.