Green design in first-year engineering

Andrew S. Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This paper begins by describing the evolution of the concept of green design over the last several decades. In its earliest form, the focus was on reducing waste, pollution, and resource use. In its current form, it includes the concepts of sustainability and industrial ecology, adding in a focus on nature and the future. This reflects a shift to renewable resources as well as considering the impact of technology on society. The author recommends two additional principles that need to be more explicitly incorporated into green design: ecological constraints and natural systems as models. A succinct definition of green design is proposed: green design means practicing engineering with the inclusion of natural systems, both as a model and as a fundamental consideration, for the improvement of the quality of all life. Following this introduction is a description of how these principles have been incorporated into first-year engineering courses. In the author's course, students are introduced to key concepts through readings, videos, lectures, and exercises, and then they apply the concepts to hands-on projects including cardboard furniture and loudspeaker redesign. A comprehensive summary of tools, resources and techniques is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-286
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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