Green Engineering - Improving the Environment and the Bottom Line, by National Instruments
Over the past year, the mainstream media has dramatically increased its emphasis on all things “green.” Concerns about global climate change, soaring energy prices, and increased government legislation are driving new priorities and expectations – from consumer products to corporate responsibility and sustainability plans. To meet these new demands, companies, big and small, around the world are scrambling to not only create products and technologies that address these concerns.
Over the past year, the mainstream media has dramatically increased its emphasis on all things “green.” Concerns about global climate change, soaring energy prices, and increased government legislation are driving new priorities and expectations– from consumer products to corporate responsibility and sustainability plans. To meet these new demands, companies, big and small, around the world are scrambling to not only create products and technologies that address these concerns but also change the ways and processes by which they are developed. Engineers and scientists worldwide are leading the charge to address one of the largest challenges society faces, and they have the unique opportunity to make a bigger impact on the environment than any government policy. Green engineering provides the tools, techniques, and technologies to foster this innovation.
What is Green Engineering?
Engineers who want to lower the emissions of their products, develop devices that consume less energy, create viable renewable energy technologies, or better understand the global ecosystem need green engineering. Green engineering is the use of measurement and control techniques to design, develop, and improve products, technologies, and processes that result in environmental and economic benefits. While green may be the focus today, performing green engineering is fundamentally no different than any other type of engineering innovation. First, you need to measure the variables with which you are concerned, and then you can begin the process of designing or “fixing” products and processes that achieve your desired goal. Green engineering encompasses common measurements such as power quality and consumption; emissions from vehicles and factories, such as mercury and nitrogen oxides; and environmental data, including carbon, temperature, and water quality.
National Instruments enables green engineering by providing measurement, automation, and design tools that empower engineers and scientists to first quantify and understand real-world data and, second, correct problems by designing and developing the next generation of products and technologies with improved efficiency and reduced environmental impact.
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After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.