Sustainable Design is a specialised area of engineering that is based on the philosophy of eco-design wherein physical objects, services and the built environment are compliant with ecological sustainability principles. This form of design intends to use skillful and sensitive design to eliminate a negative impact on the environment. It employs the usage of renewable materials, which do not have a negative impact on the environment so that people have the ability to connect with their natural surrounding environment.
Based on the practical applications of sustainable design, the principles which are commonly followed are:
- Usage of low-impact materials which are recycled, non-toxic and produced in a sustainable manner.
- Energy efficient manufacturing products which consume lower energy.
- Using design that is emotionally durable producing minimal waste and reduced consumption thereby ameliorating friction between people and products.
- Reusable and recyclable products, processes and systems which live beyond their current shelf life.
- Durability trumps immortality, with regards to design goals.
- Reduced material diversity in products which consist of several components, allowing for easier disassembly and value retention.
- Total carbon footprint of resources and life cycle assessments must be conducted.
- Increased availability of sustainable design and promotion of sustainable sciences in the design field.
- Industrial systems should be engineered to mimic biology (biomimicry)
- A paradigm shift away from personal ownership to service substitution wherein shared services offer similar functions.
- Resources must be responsibly obtained from bio regional sources and must eventually can be composted.
- Robust eco-design principles to be followed.
A sustainable design engineer will interact with potential clients and identify their design requirements. For this, s/he must possess a technical knowledge of all engineering concepts, across fields. S/he must also be able to analyse all applicable scientific principles to any sustainable design project. S/he must also have inclination for design and creative approach. A problem-solving mentality is required to come up with innovative solutions to potential problems across a range of industries. S/he must also be adept at prototyping and design frameworks using CAD-CAM technology and innovate new solutions keeping as priority the principles of sustainable design.