In the pursuit of a greener, more sustainable future, the convergence of engineering and architecture plays a pivotal role. The concept of sustainability has evolved from a trend to a necessity. Sustainable architecture extends beyond design; it relies on innovative engineering practices that harmonize functionality, efficiency, and environmental responsibility. Green building practices and sustainable architecture revolutionize how we design, construct, and inhabit spaces, providing a blueprint for a more eco-conscious future.
Sustainable architecture goes beyond aesthetics; it’s a holistic approach that prioritizes environmental responsibility, energy efficiency, and the well-being of inhabitants. It integrates design elements, construction methods, and materials that minimize the environmental impact throughout a building’s life cycle.
Integrated Design Approach:
Sustainable architecture requires a collaborative approach where engineers work closely with architects from the project’s inception. This collaboration fosters the integration of sustainable elements into the building’s design, construction, and operation.
Engineers devise advanced energy-efficient systems that optimize energy consumption. From HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems to lighting, innovative engineering solutions reduce a building’s energy demands while maximizing efficiency.
Engineering expertise contributes to the development of eco-friendly materials and construction methods. Engineers explore alternatives like recycled materials, sustainable concrete, and innovative building techniques that minimize environmental impact.
Renewable Energy Integration:
Engineers play a vital role in integrating renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal power into building designs. They devise systems to effectively harness and utilize these resources, reducing dependence on traditional energy sources.
Building Information Modeling (BIM):
BIM software enables collaborative, data-driven design, facilitating accurate simulations and evaluations of a building’s performance, including energy efficiency and environmental impact. This is the AI of architectural engineering.
Passive Design Strategies:
Engineers employ passive design techniques, such as natural ventilation, thermal mass, and shading, optimizing a building’s performance without relying heavily on mechanical systems.
Water Conservation Systems:
Innovative engineering designs incorporate rainwater harvesting, greywater recycling, and efficient plumbing systems, reducing water wastage and promoting sustainability. Old school conservation staples are being reinvented and put to use in the newest conservation technologies.
Collaboration and Innovation:
The future of engineering in sustainable architecture relies on continued collaboration among multidisciplinary teams and embracing emerging technologies to push the boundaries of eco-friendly design. As sustainability becomes a global imperative, the future of architecture promises innovation, collaboration, and more accessible sustainable solutions.
Globally, governments are emphasizing green initiatives and setting stricter environmental regulations, fostering an environment conducive to sustainable engineering practices. Green building certifications, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), set benchmarks for sustainable building practices. Additionally, regulations and incentives encourage the adoption of eco-friendly construction methods.
Engineering and sustainable architecture form a symbiotic relationship, driving innovation and shaping the future of construction. The integration of engineering expertise into architectural design isn’t just about constructing buildings; it’s about pioneering a sustainable, resilient future that respects the environment and enhances human well-being.
The engineering landscape is undergoing a transformative shift, placing sustainability at the forefront of projects and design. In an era marked by environmental concerns and resource constraints, engineers are tasked with not only designing functional infrastructure but also embracing innovative practices that minimize their projects’ ecological footprint. This blog post delves into the world of sustainable design principles within civil engineering, shedding light on how engineers are striking a delicate balance between innovation and environmental responsibility.
Understanding Sustainable Design
Sustainable design consists of three major points: social, economical, and environmental sustainability. The goal is to use fewer non-renewable resources and minimize waste. Reducing negative impacts on the environment and the health and comfort of building occupants, thereby improving building performance. Sustainable design means crafting infrastructure that caters to present needs while safeguarding the ability of future generations to meet their own.
Green Building Innovations
An example of sustainable design’s influence can be found in the evolution of green buildings. “These “green buildings” follow strict resource-efficient models of construction and include specific features, such as sustainable materials, renewable resources, green roof systems, improved acoustics, clean indoor quality and biophilic spaces.” Engineers are now weaving energy-efficient features into the fabric of their projects.
Renewable Energy Integration
Renewable energy sources are a cornerstone of sustainable design. By harnessing solar panels, wind turbines, and hydropower systems, engineers are generating clean energy right on-site. This departure from fossil fuels helps to curb emissions contributing to a cleaner, greener energy landscape.
Traditional construction materials often contribute significantly to carbon emissions. Sustainable engineering involves moving towards eco-friendly alternatives like recycled material and innovative techniques such as 3D printing with sustainable materials.
Sustainable development and design is the way of the future, but is not without challenges. A civil engineer must ensure their projects do not have a negative impact on local communities and ecosystems.They must strive to find harmony between economic growth and environmental protection. However, the benefits far outweigh these challenges. Sustainable projects tend to have lower operational cost and improved long-term resilience. Moreover, engineers who champion sustainability play a pivotal role in shaping a more environmentally conscious industry.
The realm of civil engineering is witnessing a paradigm shift, with sustainability taking center stage. Engineers are no longer just builders; they are pioneers of a greener, more sustainable world. By embracing innovative technologies, integrating renewable energy, and rethinking traditional materials, they are charting a path toward a harmonious coexistence between human infrastructure and the natural environment. Interested in learning more? NJSPE offers multiple online continuing education courses revolving around this topic. Such courses include: Green Infrastructure (GI): Types, Benefits and Implementation Strategies with Tejal A. Patel, PE, CME, LEED AP (1PDH) adn A River of Practice with Green Infrastructure (1 PDH) with Jeromie Lange, P.E., PP, CME, CFM. Both available for purchase at njspe.org/continuing-education
1. Arabia, J. (2019, April 24). How to stay competitive & reduce your company’s carbon footprint. Construction Business Owner Magazine. Retrieved from https://shorturl.at/ALMN1
As the global population looks to rise to 10 billion people by 2050, the demand for sustainable engineering practices has never been higher. The engineers of tomorrow will play a vital role in creating an environment that can sustain our world of the future and that starts by incorporating sustainable practices and renewable technologies today. Here are just some of the ways engineering is creating solutions today to address environmental challenges and propel our world into the future.
Sustainability in engineering is based on the paradigm of considering the long term impact of projects today on the environment and society of tomorrow. This means using resources efficiently, minimizing waste, reducing the carbon footprint, and creating a healthier living environment.
These practices use life-cycle thinking in all their engineering activities which help to predict the potential environmental impacts of projects and ensures that all materials, inputs and outputs are as safe and benign as possible. This includes minimizing the depletion of natural resources and looking to prevent waste wherever possible. This is a more holistic mindset towards engineering, considering both the present project as well as the future impacts to the environment. By making all of these considerations, engineers can reduce environmental impact at every stage and level of a project.
An obvious aspect of green engineering is using renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and water power. By integrating these energy sources at every stage of the project, it reduces the carbon footprint overall. With a transition away from fossil fuels more important than ever before, establishing reliable sources of renewable energy with a high output will be critical for engineering in the future. Using renewable energy now sets the stage for the future to build on this and reduce environmental impact even more. In addition, incorporating sustainable materials and processes in engineering design can also reduce the impact on the environment.
Coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, one area of engineering that spiked in popularity was renewable energy. People all across the globe began to incorporate these technologies into their daily lives as we all processed the chaos of 2020. Now that renewable energy has become the new normal, it is more important than ever for engineers to continue this culture shift and create more renewable energy resources for our society of tomorrow.
Here are just a few engineering projects to keep an eye on throughout the rest of 2023 that will satisfy the needs of energy consumers all over Europe and the rest of the world.
1: Solaris’ Proteus
This project is taking solar energy to a whole new level. Normally, solar power has a limit based on the lack of ability to track the angle of the sun. To correct this, SolarisFloat, a Portuguese renewable energy company, plans to develop solar farms across Europe that can track the sun’s movement. This sun tracking feature will allow the solar panels to rotate, yielding a 40% increase in energy production compared to normal panels.
2: The EU’s REGACE Agrivoltaic Project
Often when solar panels are installed on rooftops of greenhouses or on farmland, they take space and sunlight away from plants and farming. This project, headed by the Israeli company Trisolar, is creating a solution to this. New solar panels are being developed that can control the amount of sunlight that passes through to plants below as well as increase the amount of solar power absorbed to be used as renewable energy.
3: Repsol’s Delta II Wind Project
Repsol, a Spanish renewable energy company, began this project in 2021 and it is expected to be completed and operational by 2023. This comprises six wind farms and when fully running, it will have the capacity to supply nearly 800,000 homes across Spain with renewable energy. What’s more, this project is estimated to prevent the emission of over 2.6 million tons of CO2 annually.
This is just a few of the ways that engineers are creating more renewable energy sources for the world of tomorrow. Transitioning to these energy sources as a global movement will stabilize the energy needs of the future as well as preserve our environment in the process.
From health to technology, transport to the environment, engineering impacts every aspect of our daily lives. Engineering uses design, creativity, and specialized skills to design and build systems and structures that improve our lives and our future. Some of the most pressing problems the world faces, such as climate change, clean water, safe travel, and life saving medical equipment, could see solutions in engineering. Right now, engineers are problem solving across the grid, exploring things like how clean energy can be used to heat and cool our homes and how we can use wind power to transfer electricity.
Since Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, engineering has been creating wonders and changing lives. For example, the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the dome in the Pantheon in Rome are both examples of engineering marvels created by these ancient societies. Similarly, inventions such as prosthetics, the telephone, and the internet all owe their origins to engineers.
Over time, some of the technology we use every day has been engineered in New Jersey. For example, modern air conditioning, the US submarine, the vacuum cleaner, and even the dreaded traffic circle all originated in New Jersey. Back in 1805, shortly after the formation of the United States, Col. John Stevens, who lived in the New Jersey area, built the first steam boat that navigated the Hudson River. He then invented the steam locomotive in 1825. It seems that the New Jersey area has always attracted people who were interested in problem solving at the engineering level.
At NJSPE, we gather once per year to recognize engineering achievements and advancements made within our community. This past June we recognized several recipients for their achievements in engineering, which included the construction of the Kaighn Avenue Dam, the Route 71 over Shark River Bridge, and Parker At Somerset. Each one of these engineering contributions has improved our state and the quality of travel in our communities.
Some of the most ambitious engineering feats forecasted for the future include a space elevator, earth to earth travel through space, technology to create energy from human waste, and the ability to remove carbon dioxide from the air and turn it into baking soda. While these inventions are a few years in the future, the technological advancements and inventions of engineers both locally and across the country have continued to impress and improve our lives.
To stay up to date on the latest ways engineering is improving your local community, check out our monthly newsletters found here.
As the world continues to transition towards cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, the demand for efficient and long-lasting batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and aviation is at an all-time high. A recent study, published on TechXplore, has unveiled a remarkable breakthrough that could potentially unlock significant advancements in battery technology. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of the study and explore its profound implications for the future of transportation.
A team of accomplished researchers from a renowned university has undertaken a pioneering study that focuses on the development of a new battery architecture capable of enhancing the performance and durability of batteries used in EVs and aviation. Through a meticulous analysis of the underlying processes within batteries, the researchers have pinpointed a critical factor that hampers their efficiency and lifespan—the formation of metallic dendrites.
Metallic dendrites are minuscule, needle-like structures that gradually grow on battery electrodes, ultimately leading to diminished battery capacity and the potential for short-circuits. This phenomenon has long posed a significant challenge in the quest for enhanced battery technology. However, the researchers have made a groundbreaking discovery—a novel method to suppress dendrite growth by introducing a protective layer within the battery architecture
The implications of this study are momentous, particularly for the domains of EVs and aviation. Electric vehicles have garnered substantial popularity as a more sustainable alternative to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. However, concerns regarding limited driving range and protracted charging times have persisted. The advent of batteries with improved performance and durability has the potential to revolutionize the EV industry, enabling longer driving ranges and faster charging times. These advancements will alleviate the apprehensions of prospective EV adopters, propelling the widespread adoption of clean transportation.
In the aviation sector, battery technology assumes a pivotal role in the development of electric aircraft and drones. Lighter, more potent batteries have the capacity to facilitate the electrification of aviation, effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution. Such progress could herald an era of quieter and greener air travel, making it a more sustainable and environmentally friendly mode of transportation.
While this study represents a significant milestone, it is crucial to acknowledge that it forms just one piece of the intricate puzzle in the broader landscape of battery research and development. Over the years, engineers and scientists have achieved remarkable strides in battery technology, ranging from the advancements in lithium-ion batteries to the exploration of solid-state batteries and alternative materials like graphene.
The findings of this groundbreaking study offer tremendous promise for the future of battery technology in the realms of electric vehicles and aviation. As engineers and researchers continue to push the boundaries of innovation, we can anticipate exciting advancements that will revolutionize the transportation industry. Improved battery performance will make electric vehicles and aviation more efficient, sustainable, and accessible, propelling us towards a cleaner and greener future. While challenges may still lie ahead in the journey towards better batteries, this study represents a significant stride forward in unlocking the true potential of energy storage technology.
TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today announced the Administration’s upcoming adoption of the landmark Inland Flood Protection Rule to better protect New Jersey’s communities from worsening riverine flooding and stormwater runoff. The rulemaking has been filed with the Office of Administrative Law and will become effective upon publication in the New Jersey Register next month. A courtesy copy of the rule and additional information are available here.
The Inland Flood Protection Rule updates New Jersey’s existing flood hazard and stormwater regulations by replacing outdated precipitation estimates with modern data that account for observed and projected increases in rainfall. These changes will help reduce flooding from stormwater runoff and increase the resiliency of new developments located in flood-prone inland areas. Upon adoption, New Jersey will become the first state to use predictive precipitation modeling to implement rules to inform and protect future development and redevelopment from the impacts of climate change.
“The Inland Flood Protection Rule will serve as a critical component of my Administration’s comprehensive strategy to bolster our state’s resilience amid the worsening impacts of climate change,” said Governor Murphy. “As a national model for climate adaptation and mitigation, we can no longer afford to depend on 20th-century data to meet 21st-century challenges. This rule’s formation and upcoming adoption testify to our commitment to rely on the most up-to-date science and robust stakeholder engagement to inform our most crucial policy decisions.”
“New Jersey’s communities are facing unprecedented threats from the devastating impacts of extreme rainfall events, which are expected to continue to intensify in their frequency and severity,” said Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette. “The Inland Flood Protection Rule ensures that inland, riverine areas at significant risk are better defined and that new and reconstructed assets in these areas are designed and constructed to protect New Jersey’s assets, economy and, above all, our people from the catastrophic effects of worsening floods. My DEP colleagues and I are truly grateful for Governor Murphy’s vision and leadership and for the thoughtful feedback we have received from the public and leaders in labor, business, local government, academia, and advocacy in designing this rule as part of the New Jersey Protecting Against Climate Threats (NJ PACT) initiative.”
“New Jersey is surrounded by water on three sides. For many residents – urban and rural, coastal and inland – flooding is a growing menace, resulting in billions of dollars of property damage, and with deadly consequences. Our climate is changing and so should NJDEP regulations to protect our communities today and decades into the future. These new protections will ensure new development isn’t putting people in harms’ way and reflects the best climate science we have. NJDEP and Governor Murphy deserve kudos for adopting inland flooding rules that learn not just from last year’s flood, but the larger ones to come,” said Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey.
“The updated Flood Protection Rules will save lives. These rules use climate change data and modeling projections to regulate how and where development and redevelopment happens. New Jersey is once again leading the way, this time with the first set of rules in the nation to look forward rather than backward to establish floodplains and better manage 100-year storms. These Flood Protection Rules make us Jersey smart as well as strong and guide us to building a safer future for our families and communities in the face of the climate crisis,” said Jennifer M. Coffey, Executive Director Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC).
“Climate change has already increased rainfall amounts and flood levels in New Jersey and this trend is projected to continue,” said Jim Waltman, Executive Director of The Watershed Institute. “We applaud the Murphy Administration for modifying the state’s stormwater management and flood hazard control rules to account for climate change, a critical step towards protecting our communities, businesses and environment from flooding and water pollution.”
“We commend the Murphy administration and the staff at DEP for adoption of critical inland flood hazard rules under NJPACT. Another storm season is here, and we can’t continue to repeat preventable, tragic loss of life year after year. We must take action now to protect lives, health, and property,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “We saw firsthand the devastation from Hurricane Ida, where tragically 30 souls were lost, including people living in low-lying affordable housing. That’s why updating the rainfall data for flood hazard regulations in the NJPACT rules is so important. It is literally a matter of life and death for the residents of our state.”
“The Inland Flood Protection Rule is a crucial regulation to protect our inland waterway communities from devastating flooding and will be a vital step in protecting all New Jerseyans from the growing threat of climate change and sea level rise. We are encouraged to see this rule adopted and look forward to continuing the fight for a more resilient New Jersey,” said Michele Langa, staff attorney for NY/NJ Baykeeper and Hackensack Riverkeeper.
“Raritan Headwaters is grateful for the hard work and persistence of the Department in creating the Inland Flood Protection rule,” said Bill Kibler, Director of Policy for the Raritan Headwaters Association. “We see storms becoming more frequent and more violent because of climate change; this rule will help New Jersey plan for our future and protect ourselves from flooding.”
“New Jersey is long overdue for the climate resilience that the Inland Flood Rule provides. Our state will continue to experience severe weather events and 100-year storms due to the imminent impacts of climate change. More floods are being experienced in places that did not flood before, heavy precipitation episodes are occurring more frequently, and more dangerous storms are being formed and impacting our communities. People are suffering because our infrastructure is not equipped to handle this, and this rule is the first step to address it. The inland flood rule will update the flood data that we rely on and change the ways we build,” said Anjuli Ramos-Busot, New Jersey Director of the Sierra Club. “Every hurricane season is a ticking bomb for the next big storm to come, which is why we need to implement this critical rule now.”
“New Jersey Future supports the Inland Flood Protection rule changes and applauds the shift toward requiring use of updated precipitation models to design our homes, roadways, stormwater management systems, and other critical infrastructure. Addressing riverine flooding became more evident in the wake of Tropical Storm Ida, the second deadliest natural disaster to impact New Jersey in the past century. Intense storms, whose frequency will increase as we grapple with climate change, demonstrate that our stormwater infrastructure was not built to convey such high volumes of rainfall, and that our homes, businesses, and roadways are extremely vulnerable to flooding. True resilience in the era of climate change will be measured in our ability to rebound quickly in the wake of a major storm event. Adding additional safety requirements in our floodplains, which should include an evaluation of our transportation footprint, is essential for protecting New Jerseyans from the perilous risks of flood and ensuring that we are a model of resiliency,” said Diane Schrauth, Policy Director of Water for New Jersey Future.
The Inland Flood Protection Rule establishes design elevations that are reflective of New Jersey’s changing climate and more frequent and intense rainfall, replacing standards based on outdated data and past conditions. The updated standards will apply to certain new and substantially reconstructed developments in inland riverine areas that are subject to flooding, but they do not prohibit development in these flood hazard areas. Under the two primary components of the rule:
Studies commissioned by the Murphy Administration regarding increased intensity of current and projected rainfall events indicate that additional resilience actions must be taken to better protect New Jersey’s people, communities, and public and private assets. In an effort to close severe climate data gaps and provide a reliable scientific basis for regulatory adjustments, the DEP commissioned New Jersey-specific studies that confirmed precipitation has increased in the state over the past 20 years and will continue to increase through the end of this century. The peer-reviewed studies, released in November 2021, were performed by the Northeast Regional Climate Center, a partner of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Key findings showed that:
The updated standards in the Inland Flood Protection Rule will apply to new or reconstructed developments and not to existing developments. Pending development applications before the DEP that are administratively complete at the time of adoption are not affected by these changes. Existing provisions of the flood hazard and stormwater rules that provide flexibility from strict compliance based on unique site-specific conditions will remain in place, along with new provisions designed to ensure that infrastructure projects already in progress can continue to move forward.
The final rule also provides clarifications for the legacy provision of the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules at N.J.A.C. 7:13-2.1 to address projects that were wholly located outside the prior flood hazard area, and which have already received local approval under the Municipal Land Use Law. As initially proposed, this exemption from the new flood elevations would have been limited to those projects that had begun construction before the new rules were adopted. In recognition of the often-significant investments made for projects that have reached the stage of receiving municipal approval, the DEP is retaining the existing exemption for such projects.
In connection with the proposed Inland Flood Protection Rule, to aid the public to gauge flood risk and provide a visual approximation of regulatory jurisdiction on specific parcels, the DEP has launched a flood indicator tool.
While the tool does not provide a definitive demonstration of regulatory jurisdiction or calculate actual risk, it can be useful in assisting property owners or prospective property owners on potential risk and, by referencing the 500-year flood extent, approximate DEP’s regulatory jurisdiction and flood risk. Equipped with this information, property owners may then decide to take additional steps to determine actual risk, which is dependent on site-specific conditions.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing many industries and engineering is no different. AI is revolutionizing engineering by analyzing big data, designing improved products, optimizing processes, and cutting costs. This blog examines current engineering applications of AI, its potential future impact, and the opportunities and challenges it presents.
AI is already being used in a variety of engineering applications, including:
The impact of AI on the future of engineering will be significant. Some of the key benefits include:
While AI presents many opportunities for engineering, there are also some challenges to be addressed. These include:
Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of AI in engineering are significant. According to a report by McKinsey, AI could add $13 trillion to the global economy by 2030. It is clear that AI will play a major role in the future of engineering, and engineers who embrace this technology will be well-placed to succeed. What are you thoughts on using AI? Do you agree this is the way of the future?
NJSPE is proud to offer membership discounts on continuing education, industry publications, and other products. A great example is the EJCDC® Contract Documents. The Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee (EJCDC®) released the new EJCDC® 2022 Construction Manager as Advisor Series. These documents are available to NSPE members for 50% off!
This series is completely new to EJCDC, and is intended for projects in which the Owner’s primary representative during construction will be the Construction Manager as Advisor (CM).
As such, the CM as Advisor Series is an alternative to the use of the EJCDC Construction Series, in which the Engineer that prepared the design subsequently serves as the Owner’s construction contract administrator. The CM as Advisor Series is composed of:
The Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee® (EJCDC®) develops and updates fair and objective standard documents that represent the latest thinking in contractual relations between all parties involved in engineering design and construction projects.
The committee is made up of the National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Council of Engineering Companies, and the American Society of Civil Engineers. It also involves the participation of more than 15 other professional engineering design, construction, owner, legal, and risk management organizations.
With the 2022 release of the Construction Manager as Advisor Series, the EJCDC now offers nine different categories of Contract Documents for the engineering industry. These categories are as follows:
This list, as well as all up to date license agreements and other policies, can also be found here on the NSPE website.
NJSPE requires that its members obtain Professional Development Hours (PDHs) by completing continuing education courses. New Jersey professional engineers need 24 hours of continuing education over a two-year period in order to maintain and renew their license.
The EJCDC is currently offering two continuing education courses for the convenience of industry professionals:
NJSPE prides itself on promoting, serving, and representing New Jersey’s engineering professionals for the public’s benefit. Stay connected year-round as a member of NSPE – join today!