Sustainability philosophy in engineering context: review and discussion

Hasna, Abdallah M. (2009) Sustainability philosophy in engineering context: review and discussion. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Subsequent to the Rio Earth Summit both the engineering industry and the profession alike recognized the need for shifting towards sustainable practices. Similarly literature is mushrooming with sustainability definitions, themes and descriptions in many complex shapes and sizes, thus, presenting an immense diversity of opinion. This research defines the concept and principles of sustainability from an engineering perspective. It also addresses how sustainability philosophy or culture in engineering may one day drive net positive development.

In recent times going 'green' has been the focus of governmental agencies, non‐ governmental organizations, private sector and society at large with a modest universality between these efforts. By way of example the overabundance of sustainability definitions and assessment tools found in literature, poses a unique set of challenges: first and foremost differing values describing how ideal criteria and indicators in sustainability assessment 'should be'. The surplus of definitions causes perplexity from an operational engineering perspective. This research probed sustainability operational issues experienced by engineers in the course of a series of consultative interviews with experts to account for generic criteria and indicators used in engineering sustainability assessment. This research presents a synopsis of these expert interviews. Furthermore, it reviewed and critiqued existing mechanisms, rating schemes and assessment methods frequently used by the engineering profession, in order to examine current practices purporting to enable or facilitate sustainability in engineering practice.

The study makes a contribution to sustainability science in the sense that it illustrates the concept diagrams of social, economic, environmental, technology and time criteria based on results from expert interviews. It also highlights the limitation of the rampant practice of minimizing negative impacts on the environment and society.

The research will benefit members of the engineering profession by providing them with a background on the development of sustainability within engineering, thus allowing them to make informed sustainability decisions. It is intended to outline non‐specific relations between sustainability indicators and criteria for any given engineering project despite the definitional ambiguities indicators and criteria displayed.

Finally scale is important for defining sustainability approach to measurement and the outcomes in decision‐making, since the majority of environmental and economic issues cut across several scales. The thesis argues for a transdisciplinary approach to achieve sustainability in engineering and sets out a typology of contexts in which this research finding could be applied and developed further.

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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Master of Engineering thesis.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Supervisors: Thorpe, David
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2011 04:57
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2016 02:18
Uncontrolled Keywords: engineering; sustainability;
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099999 Engineering not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4099 Other engineering > 409999 Other engineering not elsewhere classified

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