Sustainable Engineering is Engineering that is sustainable in three ways; environmentally sustainable is something that causes no damage to the environment. This is important as it means your image and products are clean.
This then leads onto social sustainability which is whether the public agree with your decisions and the quality of your product. The final of the three pillars is whether your products and economically stable which means that their product and their company can keep going with the amount of money that they earn. If a company meets all three of these strands of sustainability, then it means that that their company has a good image, it will carry on getting support and it has enough money to keep going.
Anglian water is a very successful company who base themselves around their success in producing clean water to lots of homes, as well as their sustainable image which has been made after years of successful business and earning the trust of their customers. Anglian water is sustainable as they are successful in the three pillars. They use recycled pipes and buildings to stop wasting material and also cuts down on manufacturing costs and carbon that is produced in the construction. In reference to their website, they aim to exceed a reduction of 7% in gross operational carbon which is how much carbon is used while the buildings and machines are running. They also want to achieve a 60% reduction of embodied carbon. Anglian water keeps up appearances to remain socially sustainable with their updated website and also adds and posters everywhere. And as their product is clean and people know who they are it means that they’re getting enough business and money to be able to support the company and always have the latest technology and ability to keep expanding.
Anglian water said on their website; “A healthy natural environment is the foundation of sustained economic growth, prospering communities and personal wellbeing, and we need to play our part to protect it.” This shows how their company is based around making their image clean. They want people to know that they are supporting sustainable engineering.
Bedford waste water works is a water treatment plant that are in partnership with Anglian water and @one Alliance. Back in 2012, this plant was expanded to cater for an extra 30,000 more people in the area and kitted out with lots of extra equipment which is called a retrofit (an additional component to something that was not part of the original item when manufactured). One alliance needed to accommodate for the extra 30’000 people so spent two years installing state of the art high efficiency aeration technology, which is with cleaning water to make it easier to filter. As there is going to be a lot more waste water coming into the facility then the equipment needs to be in pristine condition, which is why they refurbished the filters to prepare for the extra workload. Also the filters a much easier to clean and be serviced which reduces energy consumption. @one alliance also used part of their £20 million provided by Anglian water to replace the primary settlement tanks with new filter technology which are more efficient and have a lower carbon manufacturing cost. All this new technology mixed with the low costs and how Anglian water have published information to the public about this project. All this means that @one alliance have succeeded in making a sustainable water treatment plant solution.
Compared to the traditional methods that were once used, Anglian water nearly halved to amount of capital costs with a 43% reduction and 66% reduction in embodied carbon which is the amount of carbon it takes to produce and deliver an item or service. Anglian water go out of their way to use materials that are non-finite.
The new equipment means that there is more efficient oxygen transfer which they can treat greater amounts of water with previously existing buildings. This is efficient use of pre-existing resources and it also cuts down on the amount of embodied carbon and carbon emissions.
Anglian water pride themselves in the things they do to help stop climate change and they take a lot of measures in their work to do so. In their ‘climate change charter 2015’ which I have found information on in their website they detailed 4 ways in which they wish to cut down climate change. In the charter, they promise to;
1. Become the most water-efficient region in the UK.
2. Be innovative and develop more sustainable ways of working.
3. Encourage employees and customers to take action on climate change.
4. Embed climate change mitigation and adaptation into decision-making processes.
As detailed, Anglian water are actively trying to fight climate change by simple changes in the workplace and by publishing articles like this and spreading the message to the public.
Renewable and low carbon technology are two ways we can describe a piece of technology. Renewable is when it uses or is made from materials that are not finite. A wind turbine uses wind to create kinetic energy which can be distributed to homes, wind will never ‘run out’ so therefore a wind turbine is a renewable energy. However, coal is not as coal is a fossil fuel and fossil fuels are going to run out soon. But low carbon technologies are technology which produce power with a lot lower amounts of carbon emissions compared to fossil fuel methods. Using the same examples, wind turbines do not use combustion as a way of making energy, instead the wind will turn the turbine which is connected to a generator, this produces no carbon at all, the only carbon emissions could be from the manufacturing and production of the wind turbine. However, a coal power station uses the combustion of coal to make water turn into steam which then turns a turbine. The combustion of the coal gives off greenhouse gases such as carbon. Both low carbon and renewable technologies are starting to become more and more popular in the UK and we are seeing a decrease in methods such as coal which is good because it means we will no longer be relying on a finite resource and we will also no longer be producing harmful gases such as carbon dioxide, which constitutes to global warming and climate change. Some of these technologies include solar, which uses light energy from the sun to be made transferred into power. Wind which uses kinetic energy from wind to turn a turbine. Hydroelectric, which features turbines at the bottom of dams which get turned when the water from the dams is passed through them. Marine, which has turbines in places in the sea of other kinetic bodies of water that get big currents to turn the turbines. Some people seem to think that nuclear is very bad. However, it is a low carbon technology, however it uses non-renewable resources which means it is not a renewable energy. Also nuclear power stations have destructed in the past such as the Chernobyl incident, where a part of a nuclear plant ruptured and ignited causing a massive explosion and many people being killed immediately but also caused many people radioactive damage which meant many people died in the long run as well. At the rate that fossil fuels are running out, we will need to replace this energy production with renewable energy production such as wind and solar technology.
“Because the energy sector is the most carbon intensive, renewable energy is the key driver for a transition to a sustainable world.” (The Climate Change Performance Index Results, 2015, Jan Burck, Franziska Marten, Christoph Bals). Renewable energies are important to the move from unsustainability to sustainability in the UK. However, at the moment there is still a large proportion of the UK energy requirements being produced by non-renewable technology’s like coal and gas power stations. Therefore, we will need to gradually build renewable energies as we take down non-renewable energies. Nearly 50% of the UK’s energy requirements is produced by gas power stations. Nearly 30% is from nuclear, and about 10% is coal. However only about 15% is from renewable energies, most of that being wind. Advantages to traditional methods is that it can be controlled. If the demand is high, then we can produce more energy and vice versa. Compared to renewable energies such as solar and wind which rely on specific conditions to produce energy. This means that some renewables are not reliable.
Overall renewable and low carbon technologies are the innovation of sustainable and environmentally friendly energy production; however, they are only producing a small amount of the UK’s energy requirements and some are unreliable as they rely on certain circumstances.
CCPI or the Climate Change Performance Index is a report produced every year which shows how the UK is performing compared to other countries in a range of categories such as; carbon emissions, amount of energy produced by renewable technologies and efficiency. Countries get a score on each of the categories then they get an overall score and put into a table that gives an overview of how each of the countries are doing in relation to the rest of the world. Based on CCPI 2015, Although there is nobody in the top 3 spaces, the UK are currently 6th, behind Sweden and Denmark. This is very good in comparison to the rest of the countries involved as it means the UK are doing a lot to help become sustainable and stop the emission of harmful gasses such ad carbon. The UK has committed to some carbon reduction targets such as the climate change act, which is that the UK need to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% compared to 1990 emissions by the year 2050. A company which helps the government abide by these targets is called the environment agency, which look at how much carbon certain companies are producing and then give them and the government ways in which the company can reduce carbon emissions, this ultimately leads to the company having reduced carbon which in turn also lowers the UK’s overall carbon emissions.
Global manufacturing is when parts or sub-assemblies of a product are made in different countries and then the system is passed around these countries until a final product is shipped all around the world. Just like a car headlamp washing system, the 12v motor being sourced in china then being shipped to Vietnam, where the washer pump parts are injection moulded and assembled with the motor into a finished pump which is shipped to the UK where the nozzles, reservoir and controls are combines and tested. This is then shipped to Germany where it is fitted into the car which is then sold and shipped to all over the world, hence, global manufacturing.
Global manufacturing is a very efficient and quick way of making many items at a fixed pace. The main reasons of global manufacture are because lots of different parts of items can be sourced from anywhere, such as motors from china, so when Germany decide to source these from china, it saves them time and room in their industry and it also boosts china’s industry because money is being put into the country. Places like Germany, which make a lot of the cars for the rest of the world, are very useful because if there were car manufacturing facilities in every country then it wouldn’t be efficient as these facilities would only accommodate for smaller amounts of demand so there would be a waste of money to make these facilities. But if there is one main car producer such as Germany then more money can be put into this business to make it more efficient and have the latest technology and it would be a more efficient way.
However, there are a few disadvantages to global manufacturing. One of them being that the transport for the parts produces lots of harmful gasses such as carbon dioxide which is a main cause of climate change in our modern world. The amount of carbon from ships, planes, lorry’s and also from the factories which produce the items also have high carbon dioxide products. Also the factories in places like china are immoral as the workers will work very unfair and long hours getting paid under minimum wage. This way of making things on a big scale is very wrong, especially if the people doing the Manual labour are underage which in many countries is the case.
...(download the rest of the essay above)