Transition Engineering

Transition Innovation, Engineering and Management

We desperately need – and are running out of time – to learn how to shift direction toward safety for ourselves, our descendants, and the other species that are our only known companions in the universe.

Robert Engleman, State of the World 2013


62343_signs of change conf logo   Business as Usual is no longer an option

Every time a new problem, challenge or opportunity arises, a new field of engineering emerges to provide solutions, manage the risks, and deliver the benefits derived from applying the sciences, mathematics and the arts of creative problem solving.


The mission of Transition Engineers is to create innovations that disrupt the business as usual course, effectively manage the risks of un-sustainable resource use and environmental impacts by carrying out shift projects involving existing engineered systems and existing businesses and organizations.

The Global Association for Transition Engineering will provide a membership and support network, a platform for carrying out research, teaching and certification and a forum for communicating successful projects that rapidly reduce fossil fuel use and manage restricted use of these valuable resources over an extended time-scale.


Susan Krumdieck, Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Canterbury University in New Zealand, has 25 years of research and experience in sustainability and energy engineering. In 2010 she put forward the idea of Transition Engineering when she had the idea that the work of transition to sustainability could be accomplished in a similar way to previous transitions in safety and security. By 2011 there were a number of people who wanted to get involved on several continents. A Linked-in discussion group was started in November 2012 to explore the foundation of a professional group. The discussion agreed that in keeping with the founding of Safety Engineering in 1911, if 62 professional engineers agreed that there should be an action from within the engineering professions to achieve the scientific requirements for climate change and fossil fuel reduction, then we would start a campaign for action. The discussion group is used to consider ideas and share experiences. The decision to go forward with opening the GATE was made by 142 engineers from the USA, UK, New Zealand and other countries in November 2012. It is also the forum where the organisation of an association is taking place. As at April 2015 the Linked-in membership is over 1500 members from across the globe. 

Join the Linked in Discussion Group 

Discussion Topics: Theoretical Background needed for TE, Examples of TE projects, Teaching of TE Principles and Methods, Local organisations, sources of information, meetings and workshops, companies investing in TE analysis and Transition Planning and Management.


A campaign is any concerted effort to achieve an action. The objective was accomplished with the Linked-in group being formed, the charter being adopted and the first national GATE opened in the UK in February 2014. The action is  The campaign was launched at 8 March 2013 at the Otago Energy Research Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.  The presentation and audio are available.

Global Association for Transition Engineering (GATE)

The Linked-in discussion group organised a workshop meeting to draft the constitution of the GATE, elect leaders, decide on structures and set a work schedule to achieve an international launch or "opening of the GATE". 

The proceedings of the inaugural workshop meeting can be viewed (HERE).

The GATE Founding Tenets original signed document can be viewed (HERE).


  • Develop the governance and membership structure and establish the Global Association for Transition Engineering
  • Establish a financial structure to support innovation, research, development and dissemination of Transition Engineering practice
  • Establish a website that provides an ACTION link - membership, education, resources, connections, jobs, reporting
  • Mount a successful campaign to bring the concept of Transition Engineering into the public and professional lexicon
  • Establish the first standard for Transition Engineering and have it adopted by all international professional engineering organisations
  • Hold an international "no travel" conference to showcase experience with achieving the first standard
  • Document and produce a media campaign to explain the progress, benefits, and prosperity derived from Transition Engineering

          62343_GATE UK Group Web

Opening of GATE UK 10 Feb 2014

Julie Winnard, Andy Ford, Connie Shirley, Rupert Blackstone, Susan Krumdieck, Alex Galloway, Walt Patterson, Michael Reid, Daniel Kenning, Deborah Andrews, Nick Bristow, Jackie Carpenter,  Adam Poole, Jim Stewart, Roger Wade, Alex Vella

GATE Founding Tenets

If there is a future civilization of people like us...
   Who share our core values of liberty and democracy,
   Who apply science and knowledge to sustainably achieve equitable and healthy standards of living,
   And if they use a Farmer's Almanac because the weather is predictable....

Then there will have been a transition of all engineered systems
   to become optimally efficient and passive,
   and very tolerant, highly resilient, and safe for people and the biosphere,
   and renewable energy-based with frugal use of minerals and resources,
   and integrated into natural systems via continuously well-managed demand

   and which do not grow except were preceded by reduction.

GATE Code of Ethics

I acknowledge the need for the transition through a change in engineering.
I agree to the tenet that all engineers are charged by society to take on the responsibility for re-design and re-development of un-sustainable engineered systems.
In my professional work I will be honest with the public, employers and all stakeholders regarding the risks of unsustainable activities and the realistic potential of technological solutions.
In my professional work I will design for transition, carry out operations, and manage activities in ways that reduce fossil fuel energy consumption in line with the IPCC margin of safety.

GATE Actions

One important aspect of the foundation of the field will include establishment of multidisciplinary Transition Engineering approach for all disciplines, developed by engineers, based on scientific research, knowledge and experience.

The Work of Transition Engineers: Carry out energy and productivity audits on all operations and processes that consume fossil fuels. Carry out a strategic analysis. Develop an action plan to achieve 10% fossil fuel consumption reduction in the near-term (12 months), and at least 80% fossil fuel transition at the earliest point but to be completed within the next 15 years.

When the mission of the GATE has been accomplished, sustainability will be considered in all design and development work in all engineering disciplines, the public will expect sustainability standards to be followed, government regulation will require a long-term sustainability assessment, and a new profession of specialist Transition Engineers will provide strategic analysis of transition options using a whole-system perspective of up-stream solutions. The GATE will be successful when 15,000 specialist practitioners and trainers are assisting all types of companies and organizations to transition at least 80% fossil fuel demand reduction by 2050. On the 25th anniversary of the founding of the GATE, Transition Engineering will be a recognized field, taught as a fundamental requisite in professional engineering degrees, in high demand by business and government, and will be responsible for a 50% reduction in fossil fuel production with vast improvements in public health, environmental quality and business prosperity.

GATE Becomes an Organization  2015

The decision was made that the GATE should open officially by becoming a legal entity. The founding documents were drawn up by the first trustees and lodged with the Charities Commission of the UK. The principle objects of the GATE are:

To work for all members of society, future generations and the natural environment

To carry out engineering change projects using our professional judgement and knowledge

To bring about the changes in operation and behavior of existing engineered systems and technologies

To achieve the requirements which scientific evidence and consensus deems essential in order

To not exceed limits of carrying capacity, pollution and biodiversity and

To avoid catastrophic climate change

A meeting was held in March 2015 in London of the GATE Trustees to write the constitution and decide on details of the organizational charter and operation. The process to become a registered charitable organization takes some time, but the official ability to accept memberships and donations, and to carry out operations in advance of the objects is expected to be granted by the end of 2015.

First GATE Trustees write the constitution March 2015

 The GATE Achieves Official Registration and Opens for Membership 2016

The trustees worked hard to develop the documents for incorporation as a registered charity in the UK with international membership and activities. The Global Association for Transition Engineering, CIO, became a legal entity on 14 March 2016, Registered Charity 116048. Anyone can become a supporter of the work of The GATE and anyone can make tax-deductible contributions, donations or endowments to support communications, professional development or educational scholarships. A special working group is now developing the membership categories and peer review processes for registration and certification as a chartered professional engineer with a specialization in Transition Engineering Projects. 

Education and Training

Text:  Principles of Sustainable Energy Systems, 2nd Edition, Eds. Frank Kreith & Susan Krumdieck, CRC Press (2013)

This new text and web resources cover the engineering of renewable energy systems, but also new ideas about transition:

  • Integrates the theme of sustainable energy throughout all chapters
  • Addresses energy return on energy invested (EROI)
  • Includes a color plates section of photographs
  • Covers each of the major energy forms in detail
  • Contains new coverage of energy storage and transportation
  • Explores the idea of un-sustainability as a risk
  • Introduces a new concept-transition engineering-for changing existing fossil systems to a sustainable future

Text: Energy Solutions to Combat Global Warming, Zhang, XinRong, Dincer, Ibrahim (Eds.), Springer (2016).  This book is a collection of papers including a chapter on the current methodologies used in Transition Engineering. The chapter can be used as the resource for a workshop or a class. 

Papers and Articles: The open search engine ( is currently the source for the body of work in Transition Engineering. Use the search term Transition Engineering to find a range of journal papers, conference papers, reports and white papers. 

ASME   A day-long short course on quantifying climate change and fossil fuel reduction as engineering requirements, characterizing the impact and time frame for alternative energy technologies and introducing the methods of Transition Engineering.  The first course was offered at the International Conference in Denver in 2011. Check ASME for future course offerings.

IMechE  Several CPD credit courses are offered in the UK. Sustainability and Transition for Engineers

University Courses

University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand: ENME405 Energy Systems Engineering includes methods and projects in Transition Engineering. Course Offered each year

Grenoble INP, Grenoble, France:  A 5 week course on Transition Engineering taught in 2015.

University of Duisberg-Essen, Germany: a block course offered in October 2015.

Workshops - Ahead of COP21 Paris

University of Canterbury, New Zealand: 2 October 2015

Bristol University, UK: 28 October 2015

Grenoble INP, France: 4 November 2015

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