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What is Sustainability?

Sustainability means
Meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own
needs.
In addition to natural resources, we also need social and economic resources. Sustainability is not just
environmentalism. In most definitions of sustainability we also find concerns for social equity and
economic development.

Pillars of Sustainability:

Enviornment

Society

Economy

Environmental Sustainability:

In Environmental Sustainability ecological integrity is maintained, all of earths environmental systems


are kept in balance. While natural resources within them are consumed by humans at a rate where they
are able to replace them.

Economic Sustainability:

All people across the world are able to maintain their individuality and have access to resources that
they want to meet their needs. Economic systems are intact and activities are available to everyone.

Social Sustainability:

Universal human rights and basic necessities are attainable by all people. Healthy communities have just
leaders who ensure that their rights are respected and all people are protected from discrimination.

Engineering and sustainability:


Sustainability is a critically important goal for human development. Sustainability in the area of
engineering is of great importance to any plans for overall sustainability given. The concept of

engineering sustainability is application of the general definitions of sustainability to engineering. That


is, engineering sustainability involves:
The provision of engineering services in a sustainable manner, which in turn necessitates that
engineering services be provided for all people in ways that, now and in the future, are sufficient to
provide basic necessities, affordable, not detrimental to the environment, and acceptable to communities
and people.
There are several distinct components to the manner in which engineering can be practiced sustainably
in society, each of which is a requirement for engineering sustainability:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Sustainable resources
Sustainable processes
Increased efficiency
Reduced environmental impact

1. Sustainable Resources:
Most engineering activities utilize resources that are derived from nature. Such resources include water
materials and energy.
2. Sustainable Processes:
Resources are used in engineering processes and operations to yield products and/or services. An
important requirement of sustainable engineering is the use of sustainable processes. This implies that
the engineering processes must be sustainable in terms of the operations, steps, energy and materials
they utilize.
3. Increased Efficiency:
High efficiency allows the greatest benefits and helps to achieve engineering sustainability. Efficiency
improvements taken broadly efforts include direct measures to increase the efficiency of processes,
devices and systems as well as:

Resource conservation
Improved resource and demand management
Resource substitution
Better matching of energy carriers and energy demands
More efficient utilization of resources in terms of both quantity and quality

4. Reduced Environmental Impact:


Environmental impacts associated with engineering processes must be taken into account in order to
attain engineering sustainability. These include impacts to the atmosphere, the lithosphere and the
hydrosphere.