CEMRUS-Sustainable Urban Systems

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

Module Convenor: Dr Phil Coker

Email: p.j.coker@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
Consideration of urban energy systems is used to introduce wider systems thinking approaches that offer new insights and currently have an evolving place in energy and sustainability research.
Emerging technologies, especially alternative vehicles and electricity based heating systems, have potential to bring a rapid change in demand on energy systems. This module will consider the possible impacts of such changes and appropriate mitigation approaches, including the emergence of smarter energy grids.

To develop skills in analysing energy systems at an urban scale; as well as to introduce specific issues from the sustainability agenda that are more problematic in urban areas and closely linked with energy use.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Assessable outcomes
After completing this module, students will be able to:
• Describe the uniquely urban factors that impact on the sustainability of energy supply and the factors that limit sustainable energy generation capacity in urban systems.
• Explain the concept of smarter energy grids and recognise the differing aspects and interpretations of this concept.
• Contrast differing definitions of sustainability and explain supporting concepts.
• Calculate energy efficiency from a whole system perspective.
• Describe an ecosystem approach, together with its advantages and limitations, as well as recognise how this relates to the wider range of systems approaches.
• Apply a system visualisation method to describe alternative approaches for a specific energy supply scenario.
• Analyse a scenario with time varying supply, heat load and electricity demand in order to indicate whole system effectiveness and the relative benefits of alternative approaches.

Additional outcomes:
After completing this module, students will possess:
• Insight into the characteristics of typical renewable energy sources and demand sectors as well as options to improve balancing, such as energy storage.
• Improved team working and presentation skills.
• Knowledge of the diverse possibilities of smart energy grids and the role that smart metering systems can play in supporting these.
• Appreciation of alternative methods for quantifying energy flows.
• Appreciation of, and respect for, the interdisciplinary nature of energy analysis

Outline content:
Outline content:
• Systems properties and systems thinking approaches.
• Systems behaviours.
• Quantification of energy through a system, including introduction to information, exergy and emergy.
• Energy variability and options for supply/ demand alignment including storage.
• Smart grids and smart meters.
• Urban aspects of sustainability, e.g. biodiversity, the urban heat island, transport and air quality
• Ecological footprinting.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures, seminars and group investigations

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Tutorials 10
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Other information on summative assessment:
Group investigation and presentation
One individual assignment

Formative assessment methods:
Whilst contributing to module mark, both the group presentations and the assignment have significant formative roles.

Penalties for late submission:

Deduction of 10% for work up to 7 days late. Work submitted more than 7 days late will not be marked, and will receive a mark of zero.

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
50% or better overall to pass at Level 7.

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-submission of coursework in September

Last updated: 22 August 2013

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