Sustainability in Civil Engineering

April 10, 2008 at 8:59 pm 8 comments

By Carol A. Metzner
President, The Metzner Group, LLC, and
Managing Partner,


Throughout the years the phrase “sustainability” has been showing up in articles throughout the civil engineering industry and in first year civil engineering courses. Many if not all in the industry believe that Sustainable Development is essential to today’s civil engineering.The Institution of Civil Engineers defines Sustainability as “meeting the needs of today without compromising those of tomorrow.”This is such an important concept. Sustainable design saves energy, water and minimizes damage to the environment ~ just to name a few. Once again, civil engineering thinks out of the box…with an eye to the future.With our natural resources fading away and our infrastructure in dire need of repair, we as a community need to commit ethically and financially to investments in sustainable design! What do you think?

update BLOG: Sustainability in Civil Engineering – Part 2: Please continue reading! 


Entry filed under: Civil Engineering Issues, US Infrastructure. Tags: , , .

ASCE Scandal? Where Have All The Civil Engineering Firms Gone?

8 Comments Add your own

  • […] 2008, we posted a brief BLOG titled “Sustainability in Civil Engineering.” Now, 3 years later, I asked several civil engineering leaders to discuss this topic. For […]

  • 2. q  |  December 4, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    While I understand the importance of the Topic and certainly have no qualms with it, I have become tired of the topic being over used in the curriculum of my university. It is becoming a meaningless buzzword.

  • 3. Lisa Kasten  |  October 31, 2011 at 3:37 am

    We have been working in the field of improving the sustainability of road and urban construction for the past decade. we have focused on environmental aspects of reducing waste; social aspects of reducing injuries and disturbance to public; physical aspects of reducing damage and subsequent waste and monetary aspect of reducing the cost of maintaining urban environments- covering all aspects of sustainability with some very simple solutions that both reduce the cost of construction of urban environments and substantially reduce downstream costs of maintenance.

    Please or for more details.

  • 4. Sustainability in Civil Engineering – Part 2 «  |  October 20, 2011 at 7:38 am

    […] 2008, we posted a brief BLOG titled “Sustainability in Civil Engineering.” Now, 3 years later, I asked several civil engineering leaders to discuss this topic. For […]

  • 5. arezoo  |  January 12, 2010 at 10:34 am

    i dont quite understand the concept of sustainibility and whats it got to do with civil engineering but i still agree with what its been told in this blog before

  • 6. mattsj  |  September 17, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly. And so does the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers). But still, the UK Government lacks civil engineers on planning and strategic panels.

    If you’re bored enough, check out all the kerfuffle over plans for 10 new eco-towns throughout the UK. No civil engineers are involved in that decision. Go figure!

  • 7. Ben Matthews  |  April 25, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    The Society of American Military Engineers is on board. At next month’s Board meeting, we are about to declare “Sustainability” as one of our focus areas for 2008-2009.

  • 8. Liz Martin  |  April 17, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    I completly agree. I’m currently a freshman attending UW Milwaukee and just switched my major to civil engineering after taking an Environmental Conservation Science class. Our main focus was about sustainablility, with a main focus on water resourses, due to Milwaukee’s water system complications. I started as an art major with interest in designing products, however after taking this class I realized that design can be much more than just for asthetic purposes. I like your phrase, “sustainable design”, becuase I feel like it fits my feelings about wanting to change my major. The future is fragile with natural resourses depleting rapidly everyday I believe that civil engineering will be more important than ever. We need people who can think creativley and differently in order to solve these problems of the future, and I’m really happy that I’ve chosen to be apart of that.


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