Survey: Sustainable Design Practices Becoming a Priority Among Engineers

NEW YORK, Oct. 16, 2012 – An environmental consciousness is rising in the occupational mindset of engineers, who are showing a heightened interest in incorporating energy-saving and other green initiatives in product design projects, according to a survey conducted jointly by ASME (the American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and 3D design software company Autodesk.

Eighty-seven percent of mechanical engineering practitioners and mechanical engineering students responding to the 2012 ASME/Autodesk Sustainable Design Survey indicate they are “extremely or somewhat” interested in sustainable information and causes.  And 75 percent of the respondents indicated that their organizations are involved or extremely involved in sustainability, with most of these organizations focused on reduced energy consumption and reduced environmental emissions in products and systems.

“Sustainability is clearly establishing itself as part of the mechanical engineering culture,” says Thomas G. Loughlin, ASME Executive Director.  “This is yet another example of the vision and commitment of engineers around the world to improve the quality of life for all.”

Industrial firms, however, find it more difficult than individuals to embrace sustainability, due in large part to financial constraints and corporate goals to enhance the serviceability of products, according to the survey. Yet, 75 percent of respondents believe that sustainable designs produce greater product innovation.

The ASME/Autodesk Sustainability Design Survey is drawn from the responses of 4,500 engineering practitioners and 1,900 engineering students.  The survey reveals that 19 percent of students are “extremely involved” with sustainability projects and initiatives.  Mechanical Engineering magazine published an analysis of the ASME/Autodesk survey in the October 2012 edition.  As stated in the article in Mechanical Engineering: “Mechanical engineers expect to see a greater emphasis on sustainability in the future.”

Among other key findings of the ASME/Autodesk survey:

  • 70 percent of respondents said their companies are involved on projects that reduce energy or emissions or that comply with environmental standards and regulations
  • 29 percent said their companies would invest in green design if it does not add to cost
  • 55 percent of students indicated that elective classes on sustainable engineering are available
  • 90 percent of students believe that sustainable designs foster greater product innovation

About ASME
ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world.