Embedding environmental sustainability and sustainable development goals in mechanical engineering design projects

Atas, Akin and Heinemann, Robert; (2022) Embedding environmental sustainability and sustainable development goals in mechanical engineering design projects. In: Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium for Engineering Education. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. ISBN 9781914241208

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Mechanical engineering plays a significant role in ensuring a sustainable future, because embedding environmental sustainability in the higher education curriculum is of vital importance for increasing the awareness and enhancing students’ capability to contribute towards sustainable development. This paper summarises our effort and experiences in introducing sustainability and the United Nation’s (UN) sustainable development goals (SDGs) in a third-year project-based undergraduate mechanical engineering design unit at the University of Manchester. Each academic year, a new open-ended design task is being devised, with the main objective of creating novel design solutions for challenging and timely engineering problems. Throughout the semester the aspects of sustainability and SDGs are integrated into the unit through lectures and by blending relevant information into individual/group discussions. Students are required to demonstrate their awareness and understanding of the environmental impact of their designs and the sustainability of the resources at all stages of the design process. Sustainability-related technical design specifications are included in the design brief, which allows for the students’ designs to be assessed according to their environmental credentials. Integrating sustainability and SDGs in the unit has not only increased students’ awareness of the close relationship between design and environment, but also improved their engagement with the unit and interaction within each design group.

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