Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Katherine Hyde

Email: k.hyde@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

The Sustainability Module challenges students studying Construction Management and Engineering to develop their understanding of the meaning of sustainability in the context of interdependent built and natural environments. The Module prepares students for the day-to-day challenges of implementing innovative and sustainable infrastructure, buildings, technologies and mitigation, and exploring solutions towards improving urban resource efficiency. Case studies are included in the Module that are developed during individual and/or group work.


  1. To explain the role, practice and application of sustainability within construction and the built environment, applying problem-based learning to better evaluate technical options; 

  2. To demonstrate the role of natural systems & processes in cities and how they affect the sustainability of urban areas;

  3. To provide the background and tools to enable students to evaluate aspects of environmental management and competitiveness; and to apply economic appraisal tools in environmental decision-making;

  4. To enable students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of sustainability through the planning of design, construction and operation;

  5. To enable students to apply critical thinking and problem solving to their knowledge and understanding of sustainability; including application to real-life design and building projects, and the mitigation of pre-, during- and post-construction impacts.

Assessable learning outcomes:

  1. Articulate and explain the broad environmental, energy and sustainability requirements for construction, buildings and development, including impacts arising from climate change, and the avoidance of penalties and fines by complying with environmental legislation;

  2. Evaluate and apply construction and development Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) methodologies; mitigation, avoidance and resolution of contentious development issues;

  3. Evaluate the s ustainability of resource consumption in the built environment; describe the resource cycles and material flows and evaluate an urban metabolism case study;

  4. Analyse and quantify the energy requirements for buildings; explain the role of energy efficiency in domestic and non-domestic buildings; compare and contrast carbon footprints of different cities; demonstrate the limitations imposed on urban areas through thermodynamic principles.

  5. Explain the Environment-Econ omy relationship and trade-offs between environmental management and competitiveness;

  6. Analyse economic appraisal tools in environmental decision-making;

  7. Explain the fundamental concepts of water conservation; evaluate design and technologies for water efficiency in buildings;

  8. Rationalise the options for controlling surface water and drainage and for assessing Sustainable Drainage System (SUDS) designs before, during and after construction;

  9. Examine and analyse, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the environmental benefits of other sustainability measures and mitigation including ecological infrastructure;

  10. Explain the rationale behind urbanisation and its associated environmental impacts, and how these can be mitigated.

Additional outcomes:

  1. An assignment in which students examine social, economic, and environmental impacts of advancements in urban systems

  2. Development of group teamworking skills.

Outline content:

  1. Introduction to the Sustainability Module; aims, objectives, learning outcomes;

  2. Assignment, tutorial work and revision;

  3. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) methodologies and planning; mitigation and avoidance;

  4. Water conservation, efficiency and technologies for water systems in buildings;

  5. Environment and sustainability regulations, and low carbon design;

  6. Energy requirements and the role of resource efficiency in buildings, including domestic buildings;

  7. Guiding Concepts: Understanding the Environment-Economy relationship;

  8. Trade-offs between environmental management and competitiveness;

  9. Economic appraisal tools in environmental decision-making;

  10. Control of surface water, Sustainable Drainage Systems and SUDS designs;

  11. Ecological benefits of constructed measures and mitigation.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures, Seminars, Group Work, Tutorials, Site Work and associated Problem-Based Learning (where relevant), and Private Study.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 1
Seminars 10
Guided independent study: 79
Total hours by term 99 1 0
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

2 hour examination in May/June.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

1 group presentation

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Assessment requirements for a pass:
40% Overall

Reassessment arrangements:

2 hour examination in August/September


Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Reading list :

Allaby, M 2010. Concise Oxford Dictionary of Ecology. 3rd edn, Oxford University Press. July 2010. ISBN-10: 9780199567669
ISBN-13: 978-0199567669

Highways Agency, revised February 2013. Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB),; http://www.dft.gov.uk/ha/standards/dmrb/vol11/index.htm In particular, see Volume 10 Environmental Design, and Volume 11 Environmental Assessment.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Climate Change 2014. Synthesis Report. Fifth Assessment Report.


Morris P. and Therivel R,(Eds) 2009. Methods of Environmental Impact Assessment, 3rd Edition. London, Routledge, 2009. ISBN 9780415441742 or 0415441749. Shelf mark 301.3 MET in Reading University Library.

www.endsreport.com/ Available in Whiteknights Library on-line.

Last updated: 25 September 2020


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