November/December 2022 - 104

responsibilities as an engineer; account
for social, economic and environmental
factors in engineering design; and
recognize the impact their decisions
can have in each of these areas. At
present, post-graduate education in
geotechnical engineering has minimal
direct coverage of sustainability and
serves to increase the depth of
knowledge and technical skills of
graduates in traditional fundamental
topics, as demanded by industry. In the
future, as industry needs and demands
change, more specific and direct
sustainability content may find its way
into graduate education. While there
are no specific requirements for
sustainability to be addressed in
geotechnical courses, there are many
ways that the subject can be readily
linked or incorporated into instruction
on geotechnical topics, helping
students make specific applications of
sustainability principles within the
discipline. Finally, employers should be
aware that the continued development
of young engineers (and experienced
professionals) in sustainability comes
primarily from mentored experience
and self development, and encouraging
these activities is important for ongoing
growth and maturity in incorporating
sustainability into engineering and
construction practice.
Craig M. Shillaber is an associate teaching professor in the department of Civil and
Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University. His research interests include
teaching and learning in geotechnical engineering, sustainability education in civil
engineering, geotechnical subsurface characterization, ground improvement, developing and
improving methods for assessing life-cycle embodied energy and carbon emissions for the
geotechnical profession, and sustainable geotechnics.
Links between geotechnical course topics, potential sustainability content and U.N. Sustainable Development Goals
Geotechnical Topic
Geology, Minerals,
Soil Formation
Potential Sustainability Content
Identify predominant elements in earth's crust and point out the
rarity of some elements used in modern devices, including
renewable energy production and storage equipment (e.g.,
solar, batteries).
Aquifers,
Groundwater
Incorporate discussion of drinking water supply, aquifer
contamination, aquifer storage and recovery, and or subsidence
impacts due to groundwater drawdown.
Relevant U.N. Sustainable Development Goals
Dams and Levees
Address that constructing dams and altering watercourses have
adverse environmental impacts, hence the effort to remove
many dams and restore streams. There are also significant
societal and economic benefits to dams and levees such as
flood control and protection for communities and economic
centers, water supply, recreation areas, and hydropower.
Geosynthetics
Address how geosynthetics can accomplish many tasks in a
more efficient manner with lower impact (e.g., carbon, energy)
than traditional methods. There is also significant innovation
with geosynthetics to solve a wide range of different problems.
Foundations and
Ground Improvement
Address factors such as innovative materials and methods,
streamlined life-cycle assessment for carbon and energy, life
cycle cost, design for disassembly or reuse, and the potential
use of energy foundations to reduce overall energy
consumption associated with heating and cooling.
Landfills,
Geoenvironmental
Engineering
Address aspects of landfill design and environmental
protection, including liners, covers, diverting waste, waste to
energy, landfill gas to energy, reuse of closed landfills for
renewable energy facilities and recreation.
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November/December 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of November/December 2022

TOC
November/December 2022 - Intro
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November/December 2022 - TOC
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