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Unit information: Sustainable Construction 3 in 2015/16

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Unit name Sustainable Construction 3
Unit code CENG36500
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Norman
Open unit status Not open

CENG25100 Structures and Materials 2 (or equivalent)



School/department Department of Civil Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Description including Unit Aims

Aims: To improve students understanding of what makes a design sustainable and how to assess this. To expand the range of construction materials that students are familiar with to include the design and construction methods associated with more sustainable construction materials.

As the awareness of a need for sustainable forms of construction grows so the ability to design buildings out of low carbon and sustainable materials becomes more and more important. This unit will explore the use of different materials and look at how we can consider if they are sustainable. It will look at buildings holistically to consider the impact of material choices on the construction, operation, demolition and reuse of the building. It will also teach how to design buildings out of different sustainable materials including timber, rammed earth, straw bale, limecrete and reclaimed materials. The unit will cover a variety of different structural forms and materials and apply the same structural principles to demonstrate the skills required for sustainable design.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the students will:

  • have a better understanding of sustainability in engineering context, know what the key drivers are for producing sustainable solutions and understand basic assessment criteria;
  • have an understanding of how the materials, structural form and architecture chosen for the building affect the whole life energy usage of the building, including construction, use, demolition and reuse;
  • have a good understanding of the use and performance of timber, limecrete, masonry (including unfired bricks and blocks), straw bale and rammed earth construction;
  • know how to design and detail with these materials;
  • know how to assess the sustainability of the materials e.g. calculations of embodied energy;
  • be able to review the suitability and accessibility of each of the technologies.

Teaching Information

Lectures, examples sheets, example classes and guided reading.

Assessment Information

Mini design project 50% Open book test 50%

Reading and References

  • Timber – Timber Designers Manual, 3rd Edition, Ozelton C, and Baird J., Wiley Blackwell, 2006
  • Timber – Manual for the Design of Timber Building Structures to Eurocode 5, Harris R. et al, IStructE, 2007
  • Masonry – Earth Masonry, Morton T., BRE Press, 2008
  • Straw Bale – California Codes, Straw Bale, Health and Safety Code Section 18944.30-.34
  • Rammed Earth – Rammed Earth Design and Construction Guidelines, Walker P., Keable R., Martin J. and Maniatidis V., BRE Press, 2005