Virginia Tech® home

Green Engineering Core Courses

ENGR 3124 - Introduction to Green Engineering (3 credits) - Spring, Fall

  • This course is designed to introduce engineering students to global environmental issues that they should consider as responsible citizens and engineers. We will examine ways in which engineering activities can have both positive and negative impact on the environment.
  • This course introduces the concepts of Life Cycle Assessment and the Triple Bottom Line (environment, economics, and society) with a focus on using engineering design to minimize adverse environmental impacts.
  • This course is a broad discussion-based course with many current engineering examples from all engineering disciplines. The focus is on key concepts and applications of green engineering rather than specific details of any one technology.
  • This course is highly interdisciplinary with team-based homework and projects.
  • Learning Objectives:
    • Understand the fundamental concepts of energy generation and storage from a variety of sources.
    • Analyze the energy generation potential, efficiency, and associated environmental impacts for all major energy sources.
    • Discuss specific ways in which engineers can take a proactive role in minimizing environmental problems.
    • List the principal environmental issues facing your particular engineering discipline and discuss how these issues can or are being addressed by professionals in your discipline.
    • Utilize spreadsheets and simple simulation/programming techniques to analyze environmental problems and alternative solutions.
    • Discuss the importance of interdisciplinary teamwork in the solution of environmental and environmentally conscious design and manufacturing problems.

ENGR 4134 - Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (3 credits) -  Spring only

  • ENGR 3124 is a prerequisite for this class.
  • This course is designed to introduce engineering students to the concepts of product/process life cycles and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). We will examine ways to quantify, analyze, and evaluate the impacts of human engineering activities on the environment. We will also focus on the design and materials selection phase of the product/process life cycle as this phase have a significant effect on the environmental impact for anything designed.
  • This course will utilize a wide range of resources to provide interdisciplinary case studies and examples as a means to better understanding the concepts presented. Students will be required to investigate and analyze various materials and products related to their discipline or interests to solidify their understanding of the course material.
  • Learning Objectives:
    • Describe the phases of the life cycle of a product, process, or system
    • Define and select appropriate functional units for LCA Analyses
    • Discuss causes/effects for commonly used environmental impact LCA categories
    • Apply different types of characterization factors in LCA for impact analysis
    • Apply the concept of “weighting” in LCA analysis and interpretation
    • Identify sources of environmental impact data and assess the quality of that data
    • Discuss limitations of LCA and other common environmental rating systems
    • Create both a LCA and a stream-lined LCA for a simple product, process or system
    • Discuss the use of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) for decision making and the implications for engineering design, economics, society, the environment, and politics.

Contact the Green Engineering Program

Dr. Sean McGinnis
2090 Torgersen Hall
620 Drillfield Dr.
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: (540) 231-1446