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The pace of change in education curriculums is growing exponentially due to numerous legislative arrangements and changes. Carbon tax, carbon pollution reduction schemes, emissions trading legislation are paving the way for environmental accountability in engineering industry. Engineering education moves into the twenty first century charged with an environmental agenda due to response to wider changes in society. Educators are regularly modifying curriculum content to embrace sustainability in learning outcomes. However this crosses over between a number of multi-disciplinary, multidimensional study areas that include philosophy and ethics. Consequently a major challenge for educators is to encourage engineering students whose primary focus is purely technical to include sustainability viewpoint in their designs. Unlike technical or financial evaluations where measures are either empirical or numerical estimates, sustainability position includes criteria in economic, natural, social, technological and time indicators. For the most part sustainability evaluations are content and competency driven and rely sometimes on rather intangible and proximal criteria. These criteria form the basis of assessment for measuring the sustainability of a design. The purpose of this article is to present various criterion, and indicators available to evaluate sustainability in engineering designs feasibility assessments. The paper presents the application of sustainability design criteria in the context of capstone design projects by way of applying social, economic, ecological, technological and time SEETT framework. These criteria form the basis of sustainability education embedment in engineering capstone design projects. Finally this paper argues the thesis that Sustainability feasibility studies and assessment in capstone engineering design projects are of grave importance for the success of the new frontier.
Education Engineering (EDUCON), 2010 IEEE
Date of Conference: 14-16 April 2010