CE3GIC-Green Innovation in Construction

Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2013/4

Module Convenor: Dr Shu-Ling Lu

Email: s.lu@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module equips students with leading-edge knowledge and practices on the innovation strategies being deployed by construction companies to respond to the critically important low-carbon agenda. The module demonstrates how environmental policies, company strategies and new sustainable technologies are all closely interconnected and how construction companies are strategically managing the profound innovation challenges these complex interactions create. Throughout the module detailed cases studies are used to bring to life key issues. The cases are drawn from research projects being undertaken by members of the module delivery team in the low-carbon area in collaboration with leading construction companies.

In the UK buildings are responsible for 45% of total carbon emissions; 32% of all landfill waste comes from their construction and demolition; and, households alone account for 58% of all public water consumption. In response to this immense environmental burden caused by our built environment, there is a growing raft of legislation, regulation and user demand requiring that buildings and settlements become far more environmentally sustainable.

The focus on this module is to understand how construction companies and the users of buildings are responding to the sustainability agenda. Construction and property companies and global supply chains are developing new, digitally-enabled service delivery capabilities to deliver sustainable buildings, as well as embedding sustainability in their own businesses through corporate social responsibility. Users are being asked to play a part in adopting technologies and practices which reduce their environmental impact.

The module will develop students’ understanding and knowledge of:

1. the wider, systemic environmental impact of construction activity and the built environment;
2. the need for successful green innovation. This is defined as the development and implementation of new ideas, behaviours, practices, technologies, products or processes which enhance environmental performance of buildings and construction companies. In addition, successful green innovation is that which is competitive in the market place and is profitable for the innovating firm; and,
3. the need for a multiple level, socio-technical systems perspective to understand the interaction between the social and the technical (for example, how new renewable energy technologies shape the behaviour of building users in intended and unintended ways) and, similarly, between environmental regulations and policies, construction companies’ strategies and practices; and, clients / users attitudes and behaviours.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, it is expected that the student will be able to critically evaluate:
• the principal sources of environmental impact from construction activity and the built environment;
• the key environmental regulations and policies affecting construction companies;
• the role of green innovation for construction companies to effectively respond to environmental regulations and policies and, in so doing, minimise environmental impacts; and,
• to understand the successful delivery of green innovation as a multi-level, socio-technical phenomenon.

Additional outcomes:
On completion of this module students will have had the opportunity to:
• demonstrate competence in written and verbal communication through the preparation of assignments and group work activities; and,
• develop and awareness of the current research projects being undertaken (particularly within the School) in the low-carbon innovation field

Outline content:
The module is designed to develop understanding and knowledge through a structured series of topics.
- Introduction and module overview
- Environment impact of construction
- Green innovation
- Environmental regulation
- Construction firm level: corporate environmental innovation strategies
- Construction firm level: environmental corporate social responsibility
- New product development of environmental technologies
- Uptake and diffusion of environmental technologies across the construction sector
- End-users’ interaction with new environmental technologies

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures, seminars and self-directed learning.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 18
Seminars 2
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 80
Written assignment including essay 20

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
On-line quiz. There are 9 self-tests in total (one for each lecture, apart from the revision lecture). Each self-test contains 5 multi-choice questions, designed to test students’ understanding on key aspects of each lecture. The tests are UNGRADED, and are for students’ information and self-assessment only.

Penalties for late submission:

There will be a deduction of 10% for any work submitted up to one week after the original deadline for submission. Thereafter a mark of zero will be recorded.

Length of examination:
2 hours

Requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:
one coursework (in the region of 2000 words) (20%) submitted by 31st August and one exam (80%) in August/September.

Last updated: 22 August 2013

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