ENV 982b/ENVE 360b/ENAS 660b/360b () / 2022-2023

Green Engineering and Sustainability

Note: this course information is for the 2022-2023 academic year, not the current academic year (2021-2022).
Credits: 3

Spring 2023: Time and location TBA


This course provides a hands-on foundation in green engineering and the design and assessment of green products. Approaching sustainability from a design perspective requires a fundamental conceptual shift from the current paradigms of product toward a more sustainable system, based on efficient and effective use of benign materials and energy. Through course assignments, class exercises, and a term-long team project, students are challenged with the same issues facing production and consumption systems today. The course is organized around the “engineering design process” from opportunity definition; criteria definition; ideation; alternatives assessment; and solution selection, implementation, and monitoring. To begin, the mega-trends driving sustainability discussions are presented and the case for new greener product systems is made. The course emphasizes quantitative and rigorous analysis of green design in addition to the tools needed to develop these designs. The foundational principles of the course can be summarized in the five I’s: (1) Innovation—we can’t solve problems at the same level of thinking used to create them, (2) Inherency—we can’t solve problems without looking at the nature of the system that created them, (3) Interdisciplinary—we can’t solve problems without looking at other aspects of the problem, (4) Integration—we can’t solve problems without connecting segments at a system level, and (5) International—we can’t solve problems without considering their context. The current approach to design, manufacturing, and end of life is discussed in the context of examples and case studies from various sectors, providing a basis for what and how to consider designing green products, processes, and systems. Fundamental engineering design topics include pollution prevention and source reduction, separations and disassembly, virtual and rapid prototyping, life cycle design, management, and assessment. Enrollment limited to thirty-two. Preference given to second-year M.E.M. students