An engineering student describes How to Build a Mechanically Powered Battery Charger for LED Lighting that operates using a bicycle wheel. More appropriate technology projects can be found at Mech425 AT Project.

Engineering for sustainable development is a way of applying science to improve the quality of human life for all time, while maintaining an ecological balance on the earth. Applied sustainability is another term used to describe the concept and just sustainability, which adds the values of justice and equity, is related.

There is now a professional duty on engineers to formulate systems, technologies and attitudes that will deliver a more sustainable society by adopting an applied sustainability approach across all sectors of engineering.Climate destabilization, resource depletion, inefficiency, wastefulness and pollution are some of the difficult problems we face as a global society. Engineers have a special place in being able to develop solutions and new strategies to deal with these critical subjects, whilst also providing the necessary tools to address global poverty and health issues to create a just sustainable society.

Definitions[edit | edit source]

Citizen Engineer defines the concept in a slightly different way, saying: "It is within the engineer's power to envision—and create—a new generation of buildings, vehicles, machines, devices, and services that deliver the functionality people want without destroying the ecosystem or depleting scarce resources."[1]

A popular definition that is often quoted comes from a UN report: "Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable – to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."[2]

William McDonough, author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things says that the goal of designs should be "To love all the children of all species for all time".

Engineering is very broad, and so engineering for sustainable development can be applied to every area of life. Anything you can think of is somehow related to engineering for sustainable development: drinking water, bank investments, building a house, the food that you eat, even the air that you breathe! A few examples of subcategories within the category of engineering for sustainable development are open access information, appropriate technology, green information technology, solar energy, needs of the developing world, socially responsible investing, industrial symbiosis, and green design principles.

Highlight[edit | edit source]


A video of a pulser pump. Pulser pump is an in-depth engineering article that includes theory of operation and the testing results of a prototype.

Programs and Courses[edit | edit source]

Courses[edit | edit source]

Programs[edit | edit source]

Donation Opportunities[edit | edit source]

Funding Opportunities for Engineers[edit | edit source]

Job Opportunities[edit | edit source]

Journals[edit | edit source]

Work to be Done[edit | edit source]

Stubs that need to be expanded:

Education for engineering for sustainable development[edit | edit source]

Tools[edit | edit source]

  • The Open source engineering software page has many links to various open source software programs used in engineering.
  • Thingiverse is a website where people can share digital designs. It also provides a way to upload non-compliant files to be shared on Appropedia pages.
  • The Mech425 GreenIT Project page offers links to several Green Information Technology pages. Each article has an Excel spreadsheet that is an energy conservation measure (ECM), used to quantitatively evaluate the benefits of a specific technology.

Canadian and US Accreditation Standards for Sustainability[edit | edit source]

United States

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is the governing body that accredits educational programs in the United States so they can be recognized as meeting the necessary criteria. The document that outlines the requirements is called "CRITERIA FOR ACCREDITING ENGINEERING PROGRAMS" and can be found here. Some of the sustainability related learning requirements for an engineering program are:

  • "an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability"[3]
  • "an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility"[4]
  • "the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context"[5]


The Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board, part of Engineers Canada, is the governing body that accredits undergraduate engineering programs in Canada to ensure that graduates have the qualifications to become a professional engineer. The Accreditation Criteria and Procedures can be found here.

  • "accredited engineering programs must contain not only adequate mathematics, science, and engineering curriculum content but must also develop communication skills, an understanding of the environmental, cultural, economic, and social impacts of engineering on society, the concepts of sustainable development, and the capacity for life-long learning."[6]
  • "Impact of engineering on society and the environment: An ability to analyze social and environmental aspects of engineering activities. Such ability includes an understanding of the interactions that engineering has with the economic, social, health, safety, legal, and cultural aspects of society, the uncertainties in the prediction of such interactions; and the concepts of sustainable design and development and environmental stewardship."[7]
  • "While considerable latitude is provided in the choice of suitable content for the complementary studies component of the curriculum, some areas of study are essential in the education of an engineer. Accordingly, the curriculum must include studies in the following:

...(g)Sustainable development and environmental stewardship"[8]

See also[edit | edit source]







Conventional Discipline:


Chemical Engineering

Civil Engineering

Electrical Engineering

Materials Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

External links[edit | edit source]


Developmental Need:



Conventional Discipline:

Architecture Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Civil Engineering

Electrical Engineering

Industrial Engineering

Materials Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Bert, Ray. "Citizen Engineer: A Handbook for Socially Responsible Engineering." Civil Engineering (08857024) 79.12 (2009): 77. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 2 May 2010.
  2. From Our Common Future (The Brundtland Report) – Report of the 1987 World Commission on Environment and Development
  3. Criterion 3, category c
  4. Criterion 3, category f
  5. Criterion 3, category h
  6. Page 11 of the 2009 Accreditation Criteria and Procedures document.
  7. Section 3.1.9, page 13 of the 2009 Accreditation Criteria and Procedures document.
  8. Section, page 18 of the 2009 Accreditation Criteria and Procedures document.
FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
Authors Joshua M. Pearce
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 2 pages link here
Aliases Engineering for Sustainable Development, Engineering, Portal:Engineering for Sustainable Development
Impact 1,345 page views
Created June 27, 2008 by Joshua M. Pearce
Modified May 29, 2024 by Kathy Nativi
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