Sustainable Design in a Second Year Engineering Design Course

Warren Stiver
Professor & NSERC Chair in Environmental Design Engineering
School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, N1G 2W1

Engineers have a primary responsibility to help society develop sustainably. Engineering education has an obligation to integrate sustainable design principles into the curriculum of all engineers. This paper describes the integration of sustainable design principles into a second year engineering design course taken by all engineering students at the University of Guelph. The approach requires students to develop and measure their design-build-test project from three specific measures to reflect economic, societal and environmental dimensions of their system. Many students are able to understand the challenges associated with succeeding by all three measures within the same design. These students see the importance of creativity and innovation in overcoming the apparent conflicts. However, it is also evident that the efforts to date are not sufficient to deeply embed sustainable design thinking in all of the students.


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