Sustainable engineering is everything it states in the name. It’s the process of designing or using systems that take energy and/or resources from sustainable sources and uses it for everyday use. The whole point in ‘green’ engineering is to ensure that we are not compromising the natural environment in order to get the energy we need. There are still many companies out there that use non-sustainable forms of energy and some will agree that they are still necessary at this point in time. However, even those big companies that might not seem the greenest right now, are investigating how they can become more sustainable in the future. There is an understanding that we need to start doing what we can now to ensure the next generations are able to live comfortably. This all starts with you, the engineer.
Working in the sustainable engineering sector can come with its stereotypes and I would be lying if I too didn’t picture solar panels and wind turbines. However, sustainable engineering has so much more than just those 2 sectors to offer. There are loads of ways to get and use sustainable energy and the more the industry grows, the more jobs opportunities companies will be able to offer.
There are also myths out there regarding the reliability of renewable sources of energy. When people think of renewables, again, they may think of the wind turbines that you either see in the countryside or scattered across the fields next to motorways. However, there are many ways engineers are creating energy. There have been a few instances of the UK using renewable power for days on end and Britain has now gone coal free.
Renewable engineering is all about finding more ways to source clean energy and there are already multiple ways of doing this. So, the myth that renewable energy can’t provide enough for us, is quite clearly not true. In the long run, the more we use current resources and the more ways we find, there will be more jobs and more engineers needed!
Big businesses are becoming more eco-friendly
Then there are the big businesses, companies that you wouldn’t automatically think about when you think ‘sustainable’. For very strong commercial reasons, they are trying to become more eco-friendly and working on becoming sustainable as a business! When you think about coal, fossil fuels, petrol companies, you may not typically link them to this sector of engineering and it’s refreshing to know that they are thinking about the economic impact they have.
There may be benefits for the environment, but there are also big advantages for them as well. More and more people are considering their impact on the environment and what they can be doing to make small changes. Whether that be what they consume, what they wear and how they use their energy. These businesses don’t want to be left behind, so in hindsight, making an economic change for their company is going to do wonders for their reputation and commercial future! It will help them stay in business when everyone wants eco-friendly energy and it will help engineers like you that want to get involved and have a sustainable/ethical engineering career.
There’s big money in this sector
Sustainable engineering have 3 main pillars, environmental, social and economic. Where there is demand there needs to be a supply. I don’t know about you, but everywhere I look there are things pressuring you to look into how you can become a more sustainable person. People are thinking more and more about the effect they are having on this planet and they want to be able to make a change. You can see it in advertising and more importantly, social media!
The media is full of adverts and brand partnerships around sustainable living. This can be from veganism to electric cars, but people are putting money into it! The more people that start making life changes, the more money that is going to be fed into this sector. The more money there is, the more engineers’ businesses can hire to come up with new and innovative ways to be sustainable. It’s a win-win.
Sustainable engineering isn’t new. It’s been around for a long time, but it seems to be placed in the spotlight now, more than ever. As an engineer, this should interest you. The more popular something becomes; more jobs are going to be made available and it is something worth looking into because big corporations are hiring engineers like you to help make them more sustainable. Your skills are transferable, so nothing is standing in your way!