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Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Faculty of Applied Science
Queen's University

MECH 425 Engineering for Sustainable Development
(Winter 2010)


--Dr. Pearce


MECH 425 Engineering for Sustainable Development[1]F 36-0-6 42

This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts of engineering for sustainability and sustainable development. It covers aspects of appropriate technology, green engineering and materials, resource conservation, renewable resources, and design for extreme affordability. Another emphasis of the course is to introduce students to a range of engineering problem solving methods: methods to identify and select sustainable solutions to design problems; methods of improving existing engineering solutions; and methods of systems thinking. Technical, economic, and social consequences of engineering practices and processes will be examined to better delineate the complex engineering decisions related to social and environmental issues. The goal of this course is to assist students in the application of science and innovation to meet human needs while indefinitely preserving the life support systems of the planet. (0/0/0/21/21)


Students will gain an understanding of the social and environmental responsibilities of a professional engineer and the role of sustainability in engineering design and product life cycles, and advance the body of knowledge related to appropriate technologies in both Canada and in developing regions of the world. The course hopes to improve education resources and technology transfer to increase the effectiveness of student projects working towards the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Students will also improve their problem solving ability, written and oral communication, and teamwork skills.

Course Material

Required Course Materials

  • $29 for project costs

Additional Materials

  • Citizen Engineer
  • Sustainable Development for Engineers: A Handbook and Resource Guide, Edited by Karel Mulder, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, Greenleaf, 2006.
  • Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (Paperback)by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, 2002.
  • The Natural Advantage of Nations. Hargroves and Smith, eds. Earthscan: London, 2006.
  • Becoming Part of the Solution: The Engineer's Guide to Sustainable Development by Bill Wallace, ASCE Publications, 2005.
  • Assorted Journal Papers will be referenced in class.

Course Organization

Lectures will concentrate on the presentation of theory with some simple examples. Problem solving and design experience will be gained from assignments and tutorial sessions.

More coming soon

Course Marking:


Late Penalty:


Policy on Academic Dishonesty – Plagiarism:


Abbreviated Course Outline:

1. Why do we need sustainability?

2. Patterns of development and sustainable development

3. Appropriate technology – Canada and the developing world

4. Design for sustainable development and design for extreme affordability

5. Resource conservation

6. Green materials

7. Green engineering and systems engineering

8. Sustainable development and the company

9. Innovation processes

10. Renewable energy

Final Exam

Additional Resources:

  1. Sustainable development is development that meets the needs and aspirations of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Winter 2010

Weekly Schedule:


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Pages in category "Mech425"

The following 77 pages are in this category, out of 77 total.