Martin A Abraham

University of Toledo

The ECI-sponsored conference "Green Engineering: Defining the Principles", SanDestin, was an attempt to bring together a group of engineers and scientists from a diverse set of backgrounds to develop a set of principles that underpin the concepts of green engineering. Shortly before the activity of the conference, Anastas and Zimmerman (2003) published an article in which they defined 12 principles of green engineering. This article became a basis for discussion at the conference, along with other statements of green chemistry, green engineering, and sustainabil-ity. Ultimately, the attendees used the existing statements to build up their own set of principles that can be broadly applied throughout industry. Although the original intent was to develop principles of green engineering, the tone of the resulting statements were that of sustainable engineering, and the defining principles are rewritten here in that context.

What distinguishes sustainable engineering from green engineering? In my recent article (Abraham, 2004), I provide a brief discussion of the different contexts in which these elements can be considered. In particular, I state that "while green chemistry addresses issues of natural capital, and green engineering addresses both natural capital and economic viability, sustainability also addresses the human condition and implores the individual to improve the quality of life for all habitants." Thus, we see that sustainable engineering seeks solutions that are beyond those of green engineering, by looking outside the scope of the process or product being developed and considering the system as a part of the global ecosystem, which includes all of humanity.

Within this section, we review the Principles of Sustainable Engineering that were developed at the SanDestin conference, and provide a brief discussion of each of the principles. First, the principles are stated in their entirety. Then, an elaboration is provided to put these principles into an appropriate engineering context.

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