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Green Engineering: A Multidisciplinary Engineering Approach

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Engineering Courses II

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.677.1 - 10.677.9



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Paper Authors

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Michael Gregg

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Green Engineering: A Multidisciplinary Engineering Approach

Michael Gregg Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is entering its 131st year. Founded in 1872 as Virginia’s land-grant college with an initial enrollment of 43, Virginia Tech has grown to become the commonwealth’s largest university with enrollment at roughly 26,000. The University offers over 200 degree programs through its seven undergraduate academic colleges. Its annual research expenditures exceed $150 million.


Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering accounts for about one quarter of university students, both undergraduate and graduate, as well as the lion’s-share of research expenditures. The College of Engineering consists of 10 degree granting departments plus the Division of Engineering Fundamentals – the home of engineering’s common-first-year program. Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering is unusual in that, in addition to the multitude of special interest groups, labs and research areas, the college contains a Green Engineering Program. Green Engineering encompasses all of the engineering and science disciplines, focusing on the design and synthesis of materials, processes, systems, and devices with the objective of minimizing overall environmental impact (including energy utilization and waste production) throughout the entire life cycle of a product or process. Green engineering might be considered environmentally conscious attitudes, values and principles combined with sound science, technology and engineering practice. Green engineering is, inherently, inter- and cross-disciplinary in nature. Each department within the College of Engineering includes this information to a greater or lesser degree as an imbedded and generally non-specific part of its curricula.

This paper examines the potential of green engineering in a multidisciplinary environment. Not only is green content appropriate for most, if not all, disciplines within engineering, but it is also appropriate for non-engineering majors. “A technically literate society must be educated on what issues to evaluate, or be resigned to being the victim of snake-oil sales people in the form of politicians, telemarketers, and other guises.”1

The National Council for Science and the Environment in their Recommendations for Education for a Sustainable and Secure Future make the case for a new paradigm in education:

‘Education strategies are being considered now that prepare a new professional to feel comfortable in a multidisciplinary framework. Individuals cannot have all the specialized knowledge relevant to decisions they make in their private, work, or civic life. They must realize through the education process, however, that such information is relevant and available. Even if they are not experts in everything, they can appreciate the work of

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2005. American Society for Engineering Education

Gregg, M. (2005, June), Green Engineering: A Multidisciplinary Engineering Approach Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14227

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