Teaching Sustainability in Engineering

Engineering offers many excellent opportunities to integrate sustainability into the curriculum where it is a natural fit with topics such as waste and water management. Engineering is also uniquely equipped to help provide sustainable solutions to many areas affecting our society, such as materials development, energy, housing and transportation.

Sustainability issues are inherently interdisciplinary. See the Resources & Discussions page for resources that span multiple disciplines and the Disciplinary Perspectives pages.

Exploring Sustainability through Engineering

  • Manufacturing
  • Water supply
  • Transportation
  • Energy
  • Housing
  • Waste management

Sustainability and Engineering for the Undergraduate Curriculum

Sustainability can be addressed in many different types of courses, from Engineering 101 to advanced graduate-level classes. Thus, there are many pathways to introduce sustainability themes into a wide range of topics. One place to help you get started is An Introduction to Sustainable Development in the Engineering Curriculum, a guide from the Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Center, that discusses approaches to incorporating sustainable development into the engineering curriculum (Penlington, Roger et. al., 2010).


Investigative Case: Goodbye Honey Buckets

Solar Power: Using Lab Measurements to Determine the Feasibility of a Photovoltaic Panel

HydroViz: Virtual Hydrologic Observatory

Center for Sustainable Engineering Electronic Library Center for Sustainable Engineering.
A searchable collection of lesson plans, case studies and course descriptions related to sustainable engineering.


The Theory and Practice of Sustainable Engineering
An undergraduate textbook that puts Engineering into a "cultural, social, institutional, and environmental context." The Theory and Practice of Sustainable Engineering Allenby, Braden R. 2012, Prentice Hall.

Green Engineering: Environmentally Conscious Design of Chemical Processes

This textbook covers "green" pollution prevention and waste management techniques with a focus on minimizing environmental impacts. For upper level undergraduate courses in Chemical, Environmental or Civil Engineering. Follows EPA and ABET/AICHE requirements on environment, health and safety. Green Engineering: Environmentally Conscious Design of Chemical Processes Allen, David T. et. al., 2002, Prentice Hall.


Investigating Neighborhood Wetlands: Can Floods be Controlled?

Engineers Teaching Sustainability

Engineering Subject Centre at The Higher Education Academy
Works with engineering professionals to ensure "the long term health of the engineering profession." The HEA is a UK-based organization dedicated to improving higher learning across all disciplines.

Organizations and Institutes with Additional Resources

Rocky Mountain Institute (more info)
A nonprofit, RMI seeks to "drive the business-led transition from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables by 2050." They are a self described "think-and-do tank," with the goals of spreading innovation and promoting integrative design through projects like Factor 10 Engineering. RMI's archives contain resources on many engineering-related topics.

Continuing Education and Networking

American Society of Civil Engineers (more info)
The ASCE has a stated commitment to sustainability in engineering. They also provide many opportunities for networking and professional development and continuing education

ASEE logo