A wealth of resources and topics of discussion from the Engineering Solutions for Sustainability: Materials and Resources workshop held in Switzerland in 2009 Natural resources are the lifeblood of agricultural and industrial endeavors that contribute to our social and economic well-being. Yet, even as these resources dwindle from mismanagement, there is still no clear consensus in the engineering community of what actually defines "sustainable engineering." This publication offers the engineering profession a multi-disciplinary blueprint for action by presenting topics of discussion from the Engineering Solutions for Sustainability: Materials and Resources workshop held at the ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, July 22 24, 2009. It includes an extensive bibliography and recommended readings section, and a summary of key, cross-cutting initiatives recommended as priorities because of their potential to create common principles for advancing societal sustainability through technological, educational, and public policy solutions.
The resources, tools, and concepts delivered in this report draw from the unique perspectives and expertise of an array of engineering disciplines, represented by delegates from the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). The intent of this publication is to forge a better understanding of the role and responsibility of engineering in achieving global sustainability, while also laying the foundation for an ongoing and productive interdisciplinary dialogue in other forums.
About This Report vii About the Workshop Sponsors ix Acknowledgments x I Executive Summary 1 II Introduction and Process 6 III Human Needs (Water, Food, and Health) 12 Figure 1: Earth's Water Balance 15 Table 1: Water Consumption by Energy Type in the United States 16 IV Infrastructure (Transportation, Housing, and Urban Design) 23 Figure 1: The Brooklyn Bridge: An Example of a Pioneering and Sustained Urban Infrastructure 25 Figure 2: The Los Angeles Airport "Theme Building": Melding Art, Architecture, and Air Transport 28 V The Resource Cycle 30 V(A). Energy 30 Figure 1: Carbon Abatement Wedges 33 Figure 2: Populations Without Electricity Access 34 V(B). Mineral Resources 37 Figure 3: Expansion of the Scope of Concern about Mineral Supply 39 Figure 4: Assessing How a Mine Project Can Contribute to Sustainable Development 40 Table 1: Five Dimensions of Mineral Availability 41 Figure 5: The Scope of Material Stewardship Encompasses Process and Product Stewardship 42 Table 2: Opportunities for Research and Development in the Minerals Sector 43 V(C). Materials and Recycling 46 VI Human Resources 52 VII Linking Technologies to Resources 61 Figure 1: Technology and Resources Matrix 62 VIII The Path Forward 66 Appendix A: List of Delegates 68 Appendix B: References and Recommended Readings 70 Appendix C: Summary of Sector-Specific Advances 77