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Design for Sustainability (ES4A8)


Ecological and ‘green’ constraints weigh significantly on engineering designers already and these pressures are likely to increase very significantly during the careers of today’s students. This module examines the need for significant change in the design philosophy employed in industrialised manufacture and civil construction in terms of energy and resource use. It then examines responses to those pressures including legislation and standards, alternative processes and materials and design for resource economy at small and large scale.

  • Individual Exam
  • Group Work
    • Case Study Presentation
    • Case Study Report
    • Peer Assessment
Illustrative syllabus

The module will consist of 5 days sessions for students. The module leader(s) will attend all of each session, to integrate and stimulate the interdisciplinary learning

Teaching will be shared with other postgraduate master’s courses from the Engineering Department to aid interdisciplinarity, networking opportunities and the ability to hear the viewpoints from other student groups.

Subjects covered;

  • Energy and the environment: global warming and pollutions, present energy use patterns, trends over period of industrial development.
  • Resources and the environment: embodied energy, reserves and resources, trade off between energy and material resources, environmental damage from materials extraction, materials substitution. Water wars. Industrial, commercial and domestic water economy.
  • Responses – energy: alternative fuels and fuel burning technologies, renewable energies.
  • Responses – law/ standards, life cycle analysis: ISO 14001, EU Directives – packaging, buy-back, electrical and electronic goods, automotive products.
  • Materials – embodied energy and alternatives: small product materials recycling/ re-use, waste disposal – materials hierarchy. Building and civil scale materials alternatives.
  • Holistic approach to design and construction. Sustainable development policies.
  • Design for the environment – small scale: corporate v consumer product lives, design for recycling, design for disassembly (fishbones/ recyclability maps), design for re-use, design for repair.
  • Design for the environment – large scale: building energy use (space heating and air-conditioning and refrigeration), passive and active solar heating, vernacular buildings. Building design for re-use/ conversion.
  • Design for occupancy – occupational energy, comfort, insulation and infiltration, facades as climate moderators, cooling and air conditioning, ventilation and passive design.
  • Contaminated land use and issues.

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Waste - overflow bin with rubbish

Whats the big problem? Why do we need to design for sustainability?