Mechanical design and its impact is crucial to sustainable design. Mechanical systems use resources. The size of the system is a determining factor in how much resources it will use. The larger system will use more resources than a smaller system. For example, a transportation system based on the single occupant vehicle system uses more resources than a mixed transportation system that includes trains, buses, bicycling, mopeds, and walking in compact neighborhoods. The mixed system can be as much as 1000 times more mechanically efficient. Any sustainable society that uses a mechanical system must determine which system will accomplish a given result with the least possible use of resources.
A sustainable system will meet this criteria:
1) Exerts the amount of effort required to accomplish the task without excess effort.
2) Uses the least amount of energy necessary to accomplish the task.
3) Sized to the task, neither too big nor too small.
There are various types of mechanical systems in today's world that can benefit by an upgrade to a more efficient design. These include:
2) Factories and manufacturing
5) Energy Production