International Workshop To Focus On Green Design, Renewable Energies & Sustainability

Published: Sept. 23, 2001

The University of Colorado at Boulder will host an international Workshop on Earth Systems Engineering, Oct. 3-6, aimed at promoting the integration of green design, renewable energies and other sustainability concepts in engineering education, research and practice.

Two free, public events will be held as part of the conference, including an evening lecture by Amory B. Lovins, chief executive officer of the non-profit Rocky Mountain Institute in Snowmass, Colo., which will kick off the workshop.

Lovins will speak on "Natural Capitalism and Integrative Design" on Wednesday, Oct. 3, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., in the Mathematics Building Auditorium, room 100.

A panel discussion on Friday, Oct. 5, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., in Mathematics 100 also will be open to the public. The discussion, titled "Toward Developing Sustainable Engineering Solutions in a Complex Natural World," will feature the following participants:

* Engineering with a "Land Ethic" - Buddy Huffaker, executive director, Aldo Leopold Foundation, Baraboo, Wisc.

* The Politics of Sustainability - William Toor, director, CU Environmental Center and mayor of Boulder.

* Science, Design and Cultural Complexity: Acid Mine Drainage Remediation in the Eastern Coal Region - Allan T. Comp, Office of Surface Mining, Washington, D.C.

* The World Commission on Dams: Integrating Engineering and Sustainability - Patrick McCully, director, International Rivers Network, Berkeley, Calif.

* Can Sustainable Engineering be Applied on the Scale Needed to Address Global Energy and Environmental Problems? - Patrick Keegan, executive director, Colorado Energy Science Center, Golden.

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Workshop on Earth Systems Engineering was designed to gather industry, government and university participants to develop recommendations and a plan for integrating a system approach. The plan will integrate concepts such as green design, appropriate technologies, renewable energies and other sustainability concepts into engineering education, practice and research.

The other workshop sessions are not open to the public.

Goals of the workshop include identifying what makes a technology or structure sustainable, appropriate or green; and identifying how Earth global climatic changes and natural hazards need to be accounted for in engineering design and risk-based analysis.

"With a current population of 6 billion, there is growing recognition that humans are altering the Earth's natural systems at an unprecedented rate in human history," said Bernard Amadei, professor of civil engineering and co-organizer of the conference. "Engineering, being a central element of human society, needs to understand and take into account the relationships between natural and non-natural systems when creating structures needed to sustain the quality of life of current and future generations."

Amadei also has launched an initiative within CU's department of civil, environmental and architectural engineering to incorporate sustainable design practices into engineering education.

For more information, visit