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Teaching Design For Energy Sustainability

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

New Ideas in Energy Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1060.1 - 8.1060.14



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Paper Authors

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Doanh Van

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

Session 2533

Teaching Design for Energy Sustainability

Doanh Van, PhD., PE., CEM Union University


“Increasingly, investors are diversifying their portfolios by investing in companies that set industry- wide best practices with regard to sustainability”1. Sustainability has become yet another universal trend, besides total quality management, six sigma and total customer satisfaction, that businesses and industries must adapt to remain competitive in the global market. Industries are adapting to Corporate Sustainability and, as a result, engineers must be trained to help their employers to stay in compliance with, and excel in, this investor-driven economic atmosphere.

Sustainability has everything to do with a harmonious co-existence of the economy, society and the environment 3, 4. It is proposed that we view energy as the common thread that holds these three sectors together in an optimized fashion. A vision is cast in which the application of the principle of energy sustainability is incorporated into all engineering designs. Discussion is made on why sustainability should be considered as part of the design criteria much like that of economic feasibility of any acceptable engineering design projects10.

Sustainability means different things to different groups, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 16 in the context of this paper, energy sustainability is defined as the ability to fuel the world’s economic engine in support of its economic growth by minimizing the use of fossil fuels to the extent that there is no associated environmental impact. A design for energy sustainability, therefore, is a design of inherent energy saving systems. This could take in the form of specifying renewable resources or taking into account measures to slow down the depletion of non-renewable resources or a combination thereof. This could mean design for energy effectiveness via fuel choice, conversion efficiency, operational controllability via either automatic or self-learning process, etc.

A course designed to teach energy sustainability is proposed. It embraces the philosophy that true energy sustainability must be a combined effort of end-of-pipe behavior and that at the command and control. A list of examples is made to cite lack of energy saving sensitivity in the real world both at the point of use as well as in the design process. Discussion is made concerning how they could have been designed differently had the principle of sustainability been invoked or practiced17, 18. It is concluded that true sustainability can only be achieved if energy sustainability can first be achieved.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Van, D. (2003, June), Teaching Design For Energy Sustainability Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11967

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