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Volume 10, Number 6, September 2014 - Editorial - pp. 539
KRISHNA B MISRAEditor-in-Chief, IJPE
For ages, the traditional engineering design of a product, system or service, was basically aimed to improve its dependability, which emphasized its quality, reliability, maintainability and safety. But it never went into the question of where the material used came from, how it was extracted, what were the processes to manufacture it and what are the effects of its use on the environment of our planet and how finally it is disposed of at the end of its useful life? These questions have become quite relevant today, while the population of the world is increasing on one hand and resources of our planet are becoming scarce and costly day by day and the amount of wastages is becoming enormous, it becomes imperative to consider these aspects of sustainability quite seriously in order to meet the demands of our future generations and to protect Earth’s environment from further degradation. Today, we need sustainable design engineering, which is inherent in the definition of performability as is used and propagated in this journal (see the scope of this journal). Performability, in short, is the integration of sustainability principles with dependability. Perfomability Engineering is a holistic interdisciplinary approach to optimally design and engineer products, systems and services that are not only dependable but also sustainable. The era of convention design, which usually would ensure the dependability of a product without any consideration of how the process of production and use of a product influences our environment at various stages of the life cycle of the product, is over. The objective of this journal has been to highlight these aspects of sustainable design of products, systems and services.
A sustainable design envisages that the products, systems, and services would meet the needs of society while striking a balance between economic and environmental interests. Given the challenge of coordinating the complex trade-offs between economic, societal, and environmental factors influenced by design, it can be expected that governments interested in operationalizing sustainable development will begin to legislate the options available to designers. European Union has been quite conscious of its responsibility in this respect and has brought forward some important legislation in the form of Directives on Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), Restrictions on Hazardous Substances (RoHS), and End of Life Vehicles (ELVs). These steps will surely accelerate the process of sustainable development. The initiatives like dematerialization (minimum use of material), minimization of energy use at all stages of life cycle as well as use of renewable source of energy, minimization of wastes at all stages of life cycle, strategy of recycling, reuse, remanufacturing and the extension of life through easy maintenance or renovation, material valorisation and disposal after end of life, are some of the steps that help achieve a sustainable product design.
This year we have brought out two special issues on sustainability. The theme of June 2014 issue of IJPE was on Balancing Technology, Environment and Lifestyles. We also realize that effort to propagate sustainability in design must begin with the students of today so that they can become accomplished sustainability designers in due course. Realizing this, it was considered appropriate to encourage engineering graduates and postgraduate students to submit their papers to the special issue of June 2014. This issue was very well Guest Edited by two well-known professors and a post graduate student (which was a unique experience for them) on the basis of symposium conducted with participation of post graduate studentsfrom the European nations.
The Theme of this issue was deliberately chosen to initiate a beginning in the area of promoting sustainability design. The Guest Editors did their best to present a status report on the subject and it is hoped that with the present issue a beginning has been made to introduce the subject of sustainability design to conventional designers and engineering students who are familiar only with conventional design and would like to know the direction in which the engineering community is moving today. I like to thank the Guest Editors of this issue, Dr. Claver Diallo and Dr. Uday Venkatadri of Industrial Engineering Department of Dalhousie University, and Dr. Daoud Ait-Kadi, Department of Mechanical Engineering of Laval University, Canada, who have worked on the issue to guarantee quality papers. My thanks are also due to reviewers, who helped in maintain timeliness in reviewing process. I would also like to thank the authors whose contributions are included in this issue and maintained the dead lines. It is hoped that this issue of IJPE will generate further interest in sustainability design and provide impetus to research in this important area of 21st Century and we will continue to bring out such special issues in the future as well.