This December issue of Engineering Sustainability contains two book reviews, two briefings and three full papers.
Campen (2013) in his briefing article, discusses the emotive topic of geoengineering and the very serious challenges its implementation poses technically, ethically and environmentally.
Young and Osmani (2013) challenge contractors' practices with respect to responsible sourcing of materials for construction projects; Costigane and Guthrie (2013) focus on consultancy practice and their motivations for adopting sustainability as a business priority. Rodrigues and Gillott (2013) present an evaluation of the thermal performance and potential climate resilience of the prototype affordable house at the Nottingham Creative Energy Homes project; Chmutina et al. (2013) present an analysis of the drivers and barriers to implementation of energy saving partnerships for improving energy efficiency in the UK's public building stock.
Price's review of Lehmann's 2010 book ‘The principles of green urbanism’ (Lehmann, 2010) reveals how the author relates the transformation of the city towards sustainability to 15 principles which span multiple scales and include human, environmental and technological systems. Essex's review of the 2010 book Engineering and Sustainable Community Development (Lucena, 2010), draws out the importance of expanding the education of engineers to include these aspects.
Overall, the subject matter of this issue covers a range of scales from houses, public buildings, communities, local and national government through to the global challenges and impacts of geoengineering. This breadth illustrates the complex and multi-scalar nature of engineering sustainability. Moreover, the collection of material demonstrates an increasing shift of emphasis both in research and engineering practice, from single-technology, single-sector solutions towards considerations of systems which include peoples and communities who share in defining both the problem and in co-creating appropriate solutions. Even research which is concerned with niche innovation can place its research and development within a bigger socio-technical system. This is evident within individual papers and, more particularly, when papers are considered as a collection and demonstrates a maturing of both the discipline and the journal.
It is very gratifying to see the topics that Engineering Sustainability has championed as themed issues forming consistent and long-running threads through the rest of the publication. Participatory planning and earth systems engineering are clearly present within this issue, as is the changing nature of the engineer and the need for an education system which delivers engineers equipped for the future of the profession.
This is the last editorial I shall write as editor, the handover process to a new Chair has begun. Reflecting on the changes to the journal over the last 3 years, we have increased the frequency of issues from four to six per year. The plan has been to focus the two additional issues on particular themes, with one of these related to a relevant conference or event.
In 2012 we were delighted to publish the themed issue on earth systems engineering which contained a collection of papers from the highly successful international symposium on earth systems engineering held in Newcastle, UK, in June 2011. The next themed issue on engineering sustainability education, planned for April/June 2014, will combine papers received as a result of an open call, with the best papers on the built environment selected from the engineering education for sustainable development conference in Cambridge in September 2013 (http://www-eesd13.eng.cam.ac.uk). The editorial team would like to thank Richard Fenner and his colleagues for an extremely interesting and stimulating conference and for their work in selecting papers for review by this journal. Richard Fenner was a previous editor of Engineering Sustainability and it is pleasing that he remains actively committed to its success.
We will shortly announce a call for papers for the themed issue on sustainability in major construction projects planned for October/December 2014. This is being championed by Peter Braithwaite of Birmingham University (and formally CH2M Hill) and Kate Cairns, an independent sustainability advisor and Ceequal assessor. The panel would be delighted to hear from anyone who is holding an event from which a future themed issue could be created, or from readers who have suggestions for future calls for papers. Please contact Judith Barker, judith.
Furthermore, in 2014 we aim to attract briefing articles for newly funded research projects with a relevance to Engineering Sustainability. In this way we hope to showcase research in its early stages and encourage publication of outputs in engineering sustainability. If readers have recently funded projects that they would like to highlight to our readership in this way please contact Judith.
The new Chair of the editorial panel from 2014 will be Chris Whitehead, who is Group Head of Sustainability and Innovation for Balfour Beatty plc. In December we will meet to discuss ideas for the further development of the journal. I know that Chris is keen to embrace different forms of social media to promote the journal to a wider readership, so please look out for #ICEsustainability in 2014!