Some explain sustainable construction as simply 'not cheating on the kids', ensuring that what we do today will not have a negative impact on future generations.
Others use more complex terms such as 'triple bottom line accounting', an exercise in managing the interfaces between environment, society and companies' balance sheets.
It may all sound simple, but ramifications of the concepts for engineers are huge, particularly as the headaches of dealing with cost and time pressures alone are bad enough.
NCE readers have been calling for closer examination of the issues sustainability poses for engineers in all fields, be it highways, civil, structural, water, transportation or marine engineering.
The launch of NCE sustainability will provide much sought after coverage of sustainability in theory and practice. It will look at projects, ideas, design and construction solutions that are changing the way the industry thinks about problems and help define the issues.
We kick off with a challenge - give us some practical, easily implemented examples of how to deliver sustainability in practice. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas - a case study, a project, a product, and we will post them here, for everyone to take inspiration from.