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Environmental Life Cycle Analysis For Engineers

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Teaching Green Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.524.1 - 7.524.7



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Michael Gregg

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Session 3251

Environmental Life Cycle Analysis for Engineers

Michael H. Gregg Division of Engineering Fundamentals Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Environmental Life Cycle Analysis, EF3134, is one of the core courses in Virginia Tech’s 18 credit hour Green Engineering concentration as well as an engineering elective. This paper describes the difficulties associated with presenting this complex software driven class in an undergraduate curriculum. Main elements include LCA concepts, databases, available software, assumptions and simplifications, limitations and applicability.


Virginia Tech, a land grant institution, is well into its second century. Its objectives are education, research, and community service. Virginia Tech has grown over the past 130 years from an institution with a student body of 43 to its current enrollment of over 25,000, comprising about 5000 new freshman each year. Of these entering freshmen, roughly 1500 will enter the College of Engineering. The College offers ABET accredited Bachelor of Science degrees in Aerospace, Biological Systems, Chemical, Civil/Environmental, Computer, Electrical, Engineering Science and Mechanics, Industrial and Systems, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical, Mining and Minerals, and Ocean Engineering.

Virginia Tech’s engineering program puts an emphasis on immediately involving its entering engineering students in engineering topics. These introductory topics are structured to give these students a taste of engineering curricula and to expose them to problem solving techniques. Early involvement in engineering problem solving helps stimulate, refresh and/or retain the interest that these students have already shown in the engineering profession. Virginia Tech’s success in maintaining a respected and rigorous engineering program is combined with an exceptionally high retention rate of its freshman in engineering. Although admission standards to the engineering program are reasonably high (average 1256 combined SAT, top 10% of class, 3.6/4.0 GPA), the latest figures indicate that nearly 70 percent of freshman engineering students graduate from Virginia Tech with an engineering degree; an additional 20 percent graduate from Virginia Tech with other than an engineering degree, and the remainder transfer to another institution or take on other challenges. 1

Green Engineering

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Gregg, M. (2002, June), Environmental Life Cycle Analysis For Engineers Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10453

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