top of page
  • Writer's pictureStudentGuiders

How do the concepts of green design, industrial ecology and sustainable development differ from the

Updated: Aug 15, 2022

Question 1. How do the concepts of green design, industrial ecology and sustainable development differ from the past approaches to environmental design? Prepare a brief report on this topic, using some specific examples for illustration.

Earlier engineers were not as concerned about the environmental impacts of the approaches they used as today’s engineers are. One of the main reasons was the lack of education and awareness about the harmful effect on the environment. As technology advances we become more aware of the environment around us. Since the wellbeing of environment wasn’t taken into account, many past approaches caused severe damage to the environment, due to these a lot of natural resources were compromised .Considering all the past mistakes done by engineers, nowadays engineers are more aware of the environmental impacts of their approaches, so they use concepts such as green design, industrial ecology, and sustainable development to protect the environment from any further harm.

The idea of green design demands engineers to do their jobs with minimal environmental damage. Among other concerns, this concept is concerned with energy use. Engineers can lower the harmful effects on the environment by using renewable energy sources. In the past wind power and solar energy wasn’t used to anything except for experiments however these days wind power and solar power are widely spreading around the world. On the other side public transports and automobiles companies are also focusing on green design which can have as low impact as possible on environment.

In 1995, the concept of industrial ecology was defined by Gradel and Allenby as “the concept behind Industrial ecology is humanity can deliberately and rationally approach and maintain a desirable carrying capacity, given continued economic, cultural and technological evolution”. This concept revolves around recycling, remanufacturing and reusing. Enhancing the use of a material starts from the raw material to the final product, during this process the final product is recycled and reused until reaches the limit of disposal. For instance IBM in Germany are required by law to take back their electronic goods which may have negative impact on environment and this has given an opportunity to IBM to recycle their material which will help them make new materials easier and faster.

The World Commission on Environment and Development defined the concept of sustainable development in 1987 to be the “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Factors being optimised are not restricted to the material but also refer to energy, capital and resources. Both sustainable development and industrial development are based on limiting the resources we use today. In the past the concept of recycle wasn’t even introduced and people used to throw their equipment and other goods which had negative impact on environment such as pollution and global warming, however these days in all the areas the concept of recycling has been introduced and advanced. For instance the purpose of manufacturing or energy generation fossil fuels are not preferred, rather other renewable methods are favoured like solar power, wind power and hydroelectric power. This is due to the advancement of industrial ecology.

Question 3: Table 2.10 gave an estimate of the remaining world resources of selected nonrenewable materials. Select any one of the listed commodities with a life index of less than 100 years. Investigate the major uses of that material, and analyze the implications of its projected scarcity in the future. Include a discussion of any likely substitutes for the material or its applications.

As mentioned in the table 2.10 in Robin’s book, the data was presented in the year 1990 and it has been 12 year already so the remaining years for lead are 26 years which is unimaginably less.

Mostly the lead is used to make batteries for trucks, batteries and other vehicles; it is also for soldering, bearings, wheel weights and other parts of the automobiles. Lead also plays an important role in electronics and communications; it is used for emergency power battery, ammunition, television glass, construction and protective coatings. It is also used in medical science to make protective aprons for patients to shield the body from excess x-rays radiation. Considering all the major uses of lead, it is hard to avoid the use of lead but in order to prolong life of lead we have to use different metal to accomplish our desires. Lead has been playing one of the important role in human evolution, lead has made our life easier however considering the remaining life of lead which is only 26 years. It is important for manufacturer and engineers to use the substitutes in order to extend the life of lead and current substitute which are available on earth for more than 100 years are iron, tin and plastics. All these alternates are replacing lead in many industries such as in containers, packaging, construction materials and automobile parts.

Other metals such as tin are also being used to replace lead in soldering applications.

Question: 4

Investigate the estimate resource base if the world energy supplies of either crude oil or natural gas(choose one). One useful website is the energy information administration of the US department of energy ( Comment on when or whether we might be “running out” of this non-renewable resource based on the current estimates. Also discuss whether the environmental implications of the future energy resource extraction might change because of the location or difficulty of exploiting the remaining reserves. Summarize your finding in a brief report.

Crude oil is one of the demanded natural energy available, which is also known as petroleum. Crude oil is a fossil fuel which means it is naturally made from decaying animals and plants centuries ago. Crude oil has color of clear to tar-black and is also available from liquid to almost solid state. Currently, our world is highly dependent on crude oil as it is used as a raw material to be processed by refineries into gasoline, diesel fuel, and airplane fuel. Crude oil is considered as one of the non-renewable energy sources; therefore we might run out of crude oil at any time. However, crude oil has insignificant recovery rate with respect to the time taken in the extraction and consumption process, and is considered a limited, diminishing energy resource.

According to Dr. Birol, “one day we will run out of oil, the earlier we start the better because all of our economics and social system is based on oil so to change from that will take a lot of time and a lot of money and we should take this issue very seriously. There is now a real risk of a crunch in the oil supply after next year when demand picks up because not enough is being done to build up new supplies of oil to compensate for the rapid decline in existing fields. The IEA estimates in 2009 that the decline in oil production in existing fields is now running at 6.7 per cent a year compared to the 3.7 per cent decline it had estimated in 2007” [3]. However oil might be available in long future but it will be extremely expensive.

The graph below clearly shows the demand of the crude oil and price of the crude oil as the demand increases the price increases. In order to avoid extinction of crude oil, engineers and manufacturers have to look for alternate energy recourses such as hydroelectric power which produces electricity by water falling, through turbine blades. Power is generated first by storing water in a reservoir next to a dam on a river. Solar Power Energy comes from either Thermal Solar or Photovoltaic. When materials are heated by the sun to produce heat that can be used or stored referred to as Thermal Solar Power. Nuclear Energy is the second largest source of electricity. Producing nuclear energy, works when Uranium atom is bombarded with neutrons. [4]

References:Image 1






Recent Posts

See All

When infusing pantoprazole, use a separate IV line, a pump, and an in-line filter. A brown wrapper and frequent vital signs are not needed. A client has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The pro

Your paragraph text(10).png
bottom of page