Depending on whom you ask, engineers and scientists follow anywhere between half a dozen and a dozen principles of green engineering. These guidelines let makers of products come to decisions more easily during the development process.
While the specifics may vary from one industry to the next, there are a few generally accepted principles of green engineering. Chief among them is the idea that it makes more sense to start designing for sustainability right from the start -- as opposed to trying to make a product or process greener after it's been built or put into place. Another principle: make things as simple as possible, in terms of the number of materials and steps needed to complete them. That's because more complex something is, the more stuff and energy have to be consumed during its life cycle -- the time from its creation to after its being discarded.
To find out what the principles look like when they're put into practice, go to the next page, where we'll talk about green engineering technologies.