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Welcome to Cal Poly's wiki for Sustainability in Integrated Circuits

This wiki aims to share information regarding sustainability issues related to integrated circuits, offering a forum for students to teach each other about sustainability and the electronics field.


Definitions of sustainability


  • Sustainability describes a condition in which natural systems and social systems survive and thrive together indefinitely [1].

  • A sustainable society
    • meets the needs of the present generation,
    • does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs [2], and
    • allows each human being the opportunity to develop in freedom, within a well-balanced society and in harmony with its surroundings [3]


    Universally accepted


    Technology that benefits all


    Improvement in quality of life




    Indigenous knowledge

    Least-cost production


    Total quality

    Youth [4]



Because humanity now consumes and pollutes the Earth’s resources faster than natural and human systems can replenish and clean them, we do not currently live in a sustainable manner [5]. More sustainable design might

  • “Design systems that love all the children of all species for all time” [6]

  • “The goal is a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy, and just

      world, with clean air, soil, water, and power,

      economically, equitably, ecologically, and

      elegantly enjoyed.” [6]



In analyzing sustainability issues, it might prove helpful to consider Commoner’s laws of ecology, which sound unsurprisingly similar to laws of physics:

  • Everything connects to everything else

  • Everything must go somewhere

  • Nature knows best and bats last

  • There is no such thing as a free lunch [7].


Explain how experiment topics or applications related to the experiment foster or prevent sustainability [8]. Reference [9] and others on Blackboard™ provide helpful information. Consider issues related to Energy, Environment, Economics, and social or political Equity, four “E”s of sustainability.


What is your ecological footprint? or use another calculator.



Course sustainability wikis based on 4E Sustainability Analysis

EE 346


EE 347


EE 413


EE 422



Data on EnergyUse



The Earth Policy Institute has a plan:

Lester R. Brown, Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (New York: W.W. Norton & Company) 2008,

The entire book and Excel files containing the book's data appear online: http://www.earthpolicy.org/Books/PB3/Contents.htm


Ways to reduce carbon appear in a McKinsey report:

Jon Creyts, Anton Derkach, Scott Nyquist, Ken Ostrowski, Jack Stephenson, "Reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions: How much at what cost?," November 2007, p. 20, http://www.mckinsey.com/client_service/sustainability/latest_thinking/reducing_us_greenhouse_gas_emissions and a followup report http://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/dotcom/client_service/sustainability/cost%20curve%20pdfs/pathways_lowcarbon_economy_version2.ashx.


A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030 appears in Scientific American:

Jacobson and Delucchi, "A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030," November 2009, p. 58-65, The article explains how wind, water, and solar power can supply total global energy demand, thereby eliminating the need for fossil fuels. 




[1] S. R. Euston and W. E. Gibson, The Ethic of Sustainability, Earth Ethics 6, 1995 p. 5-7. Available: http://www.iisd.org/sd/principle.aspx?pid=31&display=1. [Accessed September 19, 2010].

[2] The World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future, chaired by Norwegian Prime-Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, 1987.

[3] G. Van de Kerk and A. R. ManuelA comprehensive index for a sustainable society: The SSI — the Sustainable Society Index,” Ecological Economics 66 (2-3), 2008 p. 228-242.

[4] Olaitan Ojuroye as cited in Paul L. Bishop, Pollution Prevention: Fundamentals and Practice Long Grove, IL: Waveland, 2004 Fig. 14.1 p. 584.

[5] Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Current State and Trends, Volume 1, Eds. R. Hassan, R. Scholes, & N. Ash, Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2005, p. 827-838. “MA Findings Animated slides,” Available:  http://www.millenniumassessment.org/en/SlidePresentations.html, [Accessed December 31, 2010]

[6] William McDonough, as quoted in “Waste = Food (An inspiring documentary on the Cradle to Cradle design concept)” Directed by Rob van Hattum, VPRO, The Netherlands, 2006. Available: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3058533428492266222. [Accessed September 1, 2008] Or http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/05/15/18416351.php.

[7] Commoner, The Closing Circle: Nature, Man, and Technology. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1972, pp. 16-24.

[8] P. Hawken, A. Lovins, and L.H. Lovins, Natural Capitalism. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1999, pp. 49-50, 57-58. Available: http://www.natcap.org/images/other/NCchapter3.pdf [Accessed March 22, 2006].

[9] E. Williams, “Environmental impacts in the production of personal computers,” in Computers and the Environment: Understanding and Managing Their Impacts, R. Kuehr and E. Williams, Eds. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2003, pp. 41-72.

[10] William J Ripple, Christopher Wolf, Thomas M Newsome, Phoebe Barnard, William R Moomaw, World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency, BioScience, , biz088, https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biz088



Tips: To Use PBwiki




Jacobson, Mark Z. and Mark A. Delucchi (2009) A PATH TO SUSTAINABLE ENERGY BY 2030 . Scientific American 2009, 58 - 65

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