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Engineers and architects for environmental sustainability

Engineers and Architects for environmental sustainability

In recent years, engineers and architects have become increasingly aware of the need to build environmentally friendly buildings and structures. These professionals are working hard to create innovative solutions that save energy, water, and natural resources while contributing to a significant improvement in environmental sustainability. In this article, we’ll explore the many efforts engineers and architects are taking to ensure a more sustainable future for the planet.

 

What is environmental sustainability?

Environmental sustainability refers to the ability of natural systems to sustain themselves and the species that depend on them over time. This implies a responsible use of natural resources and the conservation of the environment for future generations.

On the other hand, sustainable development is a concept that seeks to meet the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This implies the sustainable use of natural resources and the balance between economic growth, environmental protection and social justice.

In summary, environmental sustainability is one of the fundamental pillars of sustainable development, and refers to the conservation of the environment and natural resources, while sustainable development seeks to balance economic growth, environmental protection and social justice to ensure a sustainable future for future generations.

 

Banco Caminos’ report on the needs of young civil engineers and architects

In December 2022, the report by Banco Caminos and the Madrid World Capital of Construction, Engineering, and Architecture Association, concluded that Civil Engineers and Architects must adapt to the new challenges of the sector, such as digitization, sustainability and the circular economy. 

In addition, the importance of continuous training and collaboration between different disciplines and actors in the sector to face these challenges was highlighted. The report also stressed the need for long-term strategic planning and increased investment in sustainable infrastructure to boost the competitiveness and sustainable development of the sector.

This study was carried out in the form of an online survey between May and June 2022. These are some of the most relevant data points:

  • 35% of those surveyed believe that it is necessary to communicate via the media or social networks the value that the profession brings to the economic and sustainable development of society, adapting to new challenges and ways of working.
  • 37% of those surveyed believe that joint training programs should be developed focused on improving the employability of graduates.
  • 65% of the participants consider that sustainability is of the utmost importance for the sector, with the social and economic impact of projects, the calculation of the carbon footprint of construction and the use of sustainable materials being the most important factors.

 

How the work of civil engineers and architects has evolved to adapt to environmental sustainability.

In recent decades, civil engineers and architects have evolved in their practice and have adapted their approach to incorporate environmental sustainability. In this sense, engineers and architects have worked on the development of more efficient and sustainable solutions for the construction and maintenance of infrastructures and buildings.

 

Among the main trends that have emerged in relation to environmental sustainability, we can highlight:

  • Design and construction of sustainable buildings: the construction of buildings with sustainable materials and technologies, as well as the design of buildings that take advantage of sunlight, natural ventilation and renewable energy, are some of the most prominent trends. In addition, sustainability regulations and certifications have been developed that assess the environmental impact of buildings, such as LEED, BREEAM or VERDE certifications.
  • Use of sustainable materials and resources: engineers and architects have incorporated the use of sustainable materials with low environmental impacts, such as certified wood, and ecological paints, among others. In addition, work has been done on the proper management of waste and the use of natural resources in construction.
  • Planning and design of sustainable infrastructures: the engineers have worked on the design of infrastructure that allow sustainable mobility, such as bike lanes, public transport systems, and the creation of pedestrian zones, among others. In addition, work has been done on the design of infrastructure that takes advantage of renewable energy, such as hydroelectric power plants, and wind or solar farms.
  • Restoration and regeneration of natural environments: engineers and architects have worked on the restoration of ecosystems and the integration of infrastructure into the natural environment, through the use of landscaping, reforestation and biodiversity conservation techniques.

 

In short, engineers, and architects have adapted their approach to incorporate environmental sustainability, seeking more efficient and sustainable solutions for the construction and maintenance of infrastructure and buildings.