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Exploring the Retention of Sustainable Design Principles in Engineering Practice Through Design Education

[+] Author Affiliations
Bryony DuPont, Addison Wisthoff

Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Paper No. DETC2015-46778, pp. V003T04A019; 4 pages
  • ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 3: 17th International Conference on Advanced Vehicle Technologies; 12th International Conference on Design Education; 8th Frontiers in Biomedical Devices
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, August 2–5, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5710-6
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


The School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University is home to one of the largest academic Mechanical Design groups in the country. As a leader in undergraduate design education, we have been able to keep in touch with a large group of mechanical design graduates, and as such are capable of assessing how students retain information learned in undergraduate coursework to see how this understanding is employed in real-world engineering practice. However, the principles governing the design of sustainable products and processes are relatively novel and are only now being integrated into the undergraduate and graduate mechanical design curriculum. It is our hypothesis that particular means of learning and understanding sustainable design — via lectures, homework assignments, design projects, and the use of various sustainability-related LCA tools — will enable the highest retention of sustainable design understanding, and a higher likelihood that this sustainable design knowledge will be propagated into design practice in industry. Multiple curricular studies that explore dissemination and retention of sustainable design skills are being explored, including a junior-level introductory mechanical design course and a graduate level sustainable product development course. In the junior-level course, baseline sustainability knowledge is tested by allowing students to make sustainable design decisions by applying varied skill sets, including general principles, a list of sustainable design guidelines, and an innovative online survey (The GREEn Quiz). The graduate-level course, which employs sustainable design principles within a larger product development architecture, will capitalize on more “expert” knowledge. Future work will also be discussed, including planned validation studies and curriculum improvements, as well as the means of quantifying the retention of sustainable design information.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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