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Sustainability In Engineering And Architecture Design

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Sustainability in AEC and AEC Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1127.1 - 13.1127.10



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Paper Authors

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Jason Kirby University of Alabama at Birmingham

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Hilal Ozcan Prairie View A&M University

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Fouad Fouad University of Alabama at Birmingham

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

Sustainability in Engineering and Architecture Design


Engineering and architecture are inseparable disciplines when contemplating the design and construction of the built environment. Together these professions have helped shape our world to include everything from thriving metropolitan cities to quaint residential suburbs. Regrettably, these developments often come at a high cost to the natural environment; routinely polluting air, water, and land resources. In response, the study of “Green Engineering and Architecture” has emerged in an attempt to rectify damages and forge new environmentally- sound construction techniques and technologies. This manuscript provides an overview of sustainable design as it relates to architecture and engineering within the United States and identifies education opportunities both domestically and abroad.

Keywords: Green Engineering, Sustainable Architectural Design, International Education


Energy consumption, rising cost of petroleum, poor ambient/indoor air quality, severe weather, and global warming are important issues that have been consistently in the news and are likely to have a continued and profound effect on the natural environment and society. While automobiles have been traditionally blamed for energy consumption and polluting of the environment, buildings are the single largest contributor to the nation’s environmental and energy-supply challenges. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that buildings are responsible for approximately half of all greenhouse gas emissions and annually consume over seventy percent of the domestically generated power1. Energy consumption has increased 30% in the past 25 years, and current projections indicate another 35% increase over the next 25 years primarily due to population growth and increased industrialization.

“Sustainable development” is a direct response to these concerns. The term has been defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development2 as “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainable buildings, also referred to as “green construction”, require special techniques and materials to achieve the desired characteristics of functionality, indoor air quality, economy, safety, and aesthetics. Sustainability must be achieved over the entire life cycle of the building which includes: planning, design, construction, commissioning, operation, maintenance, renovation, and removal. Environmental life cycle assessments must consider the various stages of a product’s existence and it’s ecological impact to aid in selection of building materials that are both environmentally and economically responsible. Hence, sustainable design requires special engineering and architectural expertise coupled with a good understanding of new materials and building products. Therefore, design professionals play a crucial role in improving living standards and can have a significant impact on progress toward sustainable development.

Kirby, J., & Ozcan, H., & Fouad, F. (2008, June), Sustainability In Engineering And Architecture Design Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4328

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