Green Engineering

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Date 11/17/11

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Name: Manuel Tejada Activity: Sustainable Architectural Design
Course: Materials and Processes (CD220)
Instructor: Paul Debashis

Green engineering is a much-needed approach to transform existing engineering disciplines and practices to those that promote sustainability. The concept of sustainability is to develop and implement technologically and economically viable products, processes, and systems that meet the needs of humanity, while protecting the environment. Green engineering is governed by the following principles: Use the least amount of energy to achieve any given task.

Generate as much energy as possible using renewable resources. Generate the least amount of pollutants and by-products during energy generation. Use renewable and biodegradable materials to a maximum extent for building structures and fabricating products. Reduce waste during construction and fabrication.

Design structures and products to maximize their life spans and minimize maintenance. Design for easy deconstruction and facilitate the reuse of components and materials from obsolete structures and products in new construction and fabrication. Make the least impact on the environment.

The obvious question is: Why are these principles not followed? The answer is: Because of economics, convenience, ignorance, and affluence, with economics playing the major role. For example, thermal power plants are still a more economical source for electrical energy compared to solar energy. However, the depletion of raw materials and the cost of controlling pollution and by-products are resulting in a steady increase in the cost of electricity produced by thermal power plants. This, in combination with the improved efficiency of solar cells, is making solar cells a viable alternative. In the area of energy production, the fraction of energy...
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