As Design Professionals, engineers have a responsibility to be stewards of the environment. Since buildings consume nearly 40% energy and 40% raw materials, while also producing 30% of the waste output in the United States, our approach to building design has immediate and long-term impacts to the environment.
Designing buildings based solely on first cost often results in a building that is the sum of many independent parts. This approach is anything BUT sustainable. Material selection, integrated design, and construction processes are keys to enhancing the sustainability of buildings in terms of natural resource consumption, pollution and waste output, and energy efficiency. Ultimately, a satisfactory return on investment can be achieved for both the building owner and the environment, but not without a thoughtful design program.