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Unit information: Sustainable Construction 3 in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

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


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 masonry, rammed earth, straw bale 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:

1. have a better understanding of sustainability in engineering context, know what the key drivers are for producing sustainable solutions and understand basic assessment criteria,

2. have an appreciation 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,

3. have an appreciation of the use and performance of masonry (including unfired bricks and blocks), straw bale and rammed earth construction,

4. know how to design and detail with these materials,

5. know how to assess the sustainability of the materials e.g. calculations of embodied energy,

6. be able to review the suitability and accessibility of each of the technologies.

Teaching details

16 hours of lectures, examples sheets, 6 hours of example classes and guided reading.

Assessment Details

Open book in-class test 100%

Reading and References

Masonry – Earth Masonry, Morton T., BRE Press, 2008

Rammed Earth – Rammed Earth Design and Construction Guidelines, Walker P., Keable R., Martin J. and Maniatidis V., BRE Press, 2005

Buildings of Earth and Straw: Structural Design for Rammed Earth and Straw Bale Architecture, King B., Green Building Press, 2015