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Roland Clift Centre for Environmental Strategy University of Surrey.

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Presentation on theme: "Roland Clift Centre for Environmental Strategy University of Surrey."— Presentation transcript:

1 Roland Clift Centre for Environmental Strategy University of Surrey

2 OVERVIEW  What is sustainable development?  What are the issues?  How does this relate to the role of engineers?  Examples  Exercise

3 Sustainable Development is “ … development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” Our Common Future, World Commission on Environment and Development, Oxford University Press (1987) (“The Brundtland Report”)

4 The overarching goal of sustainable development is “… enabling all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life without compromising the quality of life of future generations” One Future – different paths, UK Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development, 2005


6 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE APPROACH  An approach which seeks to reconcile human needs and the capacity of the environment to cope with the consequences of economic systems

7 ECO-CENTRIC CONCERNS Natural resources and ecological capacity TECHNO-CENTRIC CONCERNS Techno-economic systems SOCIO-CENTRIC CONCERNS Human capital and social expectations THREE DIMENSIONS OF SUSTAINABILITY

8 ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES  Natural resources Water  1 billion people lack access to clean water  2.5 billion people (more than 1/3 of population) lack adequate sanitation Air  Air in most cities in the world is polluted Land  Land contamination  Deforestation  Desertification 50% of natural resources (fossil fuels, minerals) have already been consumed

9 NATURAL RESOURCES: WHAT DO WE USE? Number of planets needed to sustain current global consumption in 2050 if all countries consumed as Britain does today

10 WHO USES WHAT?  Inequitable distribution of resources between nations The US, Japan, Germany, Canada, France, Italy and the UK (less than 12 % of the world's population) consume: 43% of the world's fossil fuel production, 64% of the world's paper, and 55-60% of all the aluminium, copper, lead, nickel and tin 20% of the population in the developed nations consume 86% of the world’s resources

11 SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ISSUES  Population increase current 6 billion to 10 billion in this century?  Income distribution and poverty The richest 20% (1.2 billion) of the world’s population receive nearly 83% of total world income At the same time, the poorest 20% of the population receive 1.4% or less than $1 a day Almost half of the world's population of six billion lives on less than $2 a day About 790 million people are hungry and food insecure

12 SUSTAINABLE ENGINEERING  Sustainable engineering means providing for human needs and improving quality of life without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs  Engineers can contribute to sustainable development in many ways, e.g. designing sustainable buildings designing transportation manufacturing plants water and food provision systems introducing ICT to reduce material use, emissions and waste in products and services

13 THE ROLE OF ENGINEERS IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT  Economy to optimise economic returns  Environment to optimise the use of natural resources and minimise environmental impacts  Society to supply human needs and improve quality of life Examples of human needs:  Housing, food, health, energy, communication, mobility…

14 CONSTRUCTION: BUILDINGS  Energy use in buildings constitutes 30-50% of total energy requirements of a society  This energy use contributes to more CO 2 emissions than traffic or industry Reason: poor insulation and inefficient combustion systems Relatively cheap fuels and profligate use of energy

15 ICT: TELECOMMUTING  For Cambridgeshire CC Commute miles down by up to 500,000-1.25 million per year Commute hours could be reduced by 40,000 – 75,000 per year Reductions in emissions 26,200 kg CO, 323,000 kg CO2 and 4,500 kg NOx per year  Positive high quality of life  Self-reported health benefits  Greater use of local services  see and

16 ICT: INTERNET SERVICES  Online services: home shopping, banking, entertainment, even learning  Traffic reduction is difficult to measure. RAC (1997) predicted that by 2007 will cut shopping travel by 17%  Possible dematerialisation e.g. online subscriptions for software updates  Social inclusion  Better accountability of service providers  Has made the world far smaller  Information transfer: news and media

17 SUSTAINABLE ENGINEERING: FRESH AND WASTE WATER  The supply problems - shortage of water 1 billion people lack access to clean water  Provision of water to developing countries  Increasing the efficiency of use and reducing demand for fresh water e.g. using ‘grey water’ for toilets or to water the gardens (the example of the eco-house)  Rethinking systems for treating and recycling water e.g. sea water desalination

18 SUSTAINABLE ENGINEERING: WASTE  Developed countries, each person 500kg p.a.  Prevention of waste generation increased process efficiencies reduced consumption of materials  Re-use and recycling turning waste into valuable resources provision of facilities for recycling  Leasing rather than buying products  Waste-to-energy schemes Incinerating municipal solid waste  A plant in Sheffield provides heating to 3,000 homes and 90 buildings  Saves 200,000 MW of fossil fuel and 60,000 t of CO 2

19 SUSTAINABLE ENGINEERING: FUELS AND ENERGY  Global warming and limited supply of carbon- based fuels will require the use of non-carbon energy sources  Wind and solar power  Biomass  Hydrogen (generated by using solar energy or nuclear power)  Electric batteries  Fuel cells  Also more security of supply

20 EXERCISE: YOUR CONTRIBUTION?  Write down three ways in which you will be able to contribute, as an engineer, to sustainable development in future.  Discuss your choices with your neighbour.  Write a combined list of six ways you can contribute.  Pass your list down to the front, to be collated.  See if your ideas change by the end of the semester.


22 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT :  Concepts: setting goals for environmental management activities e.g. Dematerialisation, energy efficiency Sustainable Development, Product Stewardship, Producer Responsibility. :  Tools: measure progress towards goals e.g. Environmental Auditing, Environmental Impact Assessment, Risk Assessment, Life Cycle Thinking, Life Cycle Assessment


24 A NEW APPROACH  Increased material efficiency: reducing raw material inputs and waste outputs  Removing hazardous materials for a more acceptable alternative.  Designing service systems to minimise environmental impacts

25 PURCHASING DECISIONS FOR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES  Often driven by immediate criteria e.g. price, functionality, appearance, etc.  There is another way of thinking: chain of processes upstream and downstream from the product in the shop  e.g. mobile phone What happens before you purchase? How is it used? What happens when it reaches end of life?  Implications for design




29 LIFE CYCLE THINKING  Thinking qualitatively about impacts: upstream and downstream  Application of systems analysis  “Cradle to grave” quantification of: material and energy inputs outputs as emissions together known as “environmental interventions” of the system  Avoids displacing environmental problems  Promotes responsible product design  Formal environmental management tool: LCA

30 WHAT IT DOES Life cycle thinking examines the environmental interventions and potential impacts throughout a product’s life (i.e. cradle-to-grave) from raw material acquisition through production, use and disposal. The general categories of environmental impacts needing consideration include resource use, human health, and ecological consequences.

31 ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES  Environmental impacts Global warming Ozone layer depletion Loss of biodiversity Summer and winter smogs Acid rain Eutrophication Human and eco-toxicity


33 DfEDesign for the Environment IPPCIntegrated Pollution Prevention & Control EoLEnd-of-Life WEEE (EEE)Waste Electronic & Electrical Equipment ELVEnd-of-Life Vehicles IPPIntegrated Product Policy EPD’sEnvironmental Product Declarations ACRONYMS, ACRONYMS….


35 DFE STRATEGIES BENEFITING FROM A LIFE CYCLE APPROACH  Product life extension  Material life extension  Reduced use of materials (dematerialisation)  Energy efficiency  Pollution minimisation




39 FOREGROUND SYSTEM: Set of processes whose selection or mode of operation is affected directly by decisions based on the study. BACKGROUND SYSTEM: All other processes which interact directly with the foreground system, usually by supplying material or energy to the foreground or receiving material energy from it. A sufficient (but not necessary) condition for a process or group of processes to be in the background is that the exchange with the foreground takes place through a homogeneous market.


41 ASSUME-other products from Foreground are used in Background -other Functional Outputs from Background unchanged THEREFORE-other products from Foreground displace activities in Background and so avoid some burdens TOTAL INVENTORY is then: DIRECT BURDENS from Foreground plus INDIRECT BURDENS from Background, due to inputs to Foreground minus AVOIDED BURDENS from Background displaced by outputs from Foreground



44  Life cycle approaches are here to stay…  Skill base is insufficient  Open range for consultants  Professional bodies need to recognise Environmental System Analysis as an essential body of skills and tools CONCLUDING REMARKS

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