The purpose of this class is to address the issue of sustainability from an engineering perspective. First we review the concept of sustainability from several points of view including economics, ecology, and engineering. This discussion includes the widely used “Triple Bottom Line” approach of industry. The current state of the “Science of Sustainability” will be reviewed. We then develop a resource accounting perspective in some detail with the emphasis in four areas:
1) energy resources analysis, energy flows, balances, efficiencies, primary energy use, energy return on investment, net energy analysis, renewable energy.
2) material resources analysis (including not only the materials used in the delivery of products and services, but also the effects on major material cycles such as carbon, water, and nitrogen). This approach will be expanded to aggregate both fuels and non-fuel materials by using an exergy analysis approach.
3) life cycle assessment of products and services (including variations on the method such as input-output models, hybrid models, and exergy models and a critique of the utility of LCA).
4) accounting for the role of ecosystem services in supporting industrial activities.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND
This class is intended for engineers and managers from manufacturing, design, energy, and sustainability, as well as for academics (faculty, researchers, and graduate students).
Organizer(s): MIT Professional Education
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