MECH ENG 7050 - Sustainability & the Environment

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

Good engineering solutions require consideration of ethical, environmental and sustainable issues. In this course students are introduced to the various topics including: engineering ethics, pollution, including air, noise and water; sustainability, including design, manufacture, building systems and life cycle assessments; environmental impact statements; and legislative and policy requirements.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MECH ENG 7050
    Course Sustainability & the Environment
    Coordinating Unit School of Mechanical Engineering
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Incompatible MECH ENG 3017
    Assumed Knowledge 6 units of Level II Maths courses
    Restrictions Available to Graduate Diploma in Sustainability students only - not available for Engineering students
    Assessment Assignments, project, final exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Cristian Birzer

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 understand the issues concerning ethical behaviour for engineers
    2 understand the fundamentals of acoustics,
    3 understand basic noise control systems,
    4 be able to assess occupational and environmental noise problems,
    5 be able to assess air pollution problems,
    6 be able to assess water pollution problems,
    7 understand how to ameliorate air pollution problems.
    8 understand how to ameliorate water pollution problems.
    9 be able to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.
    10 understand issues associated with sustainable development and sustainability.
    11 understand sustainable design and manufacturing.
    12 understand the principles underlying the design of sustainable buildings.
    13 understand the science and politics of climate change and appreciate various engineering options to mitigate its effects on our society and environment.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-13
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1-13
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3,4,7,8,11,12
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 9,13
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 3,7,8,11
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1,2,3,7,8,10,11,12,13
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1,10,13
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1,9,10,11,12,13
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Course notes – will be made available via MyUni.
    Recommended Resources
    • Mihelcic, J.R. and Zimmerman, J.B., “Environmental Engineering – Fundamentals, Sustainability, Design”, Wiley, USA (2010)
    • Wells, G. Sustainability in Australian Business, Wiley, Australia (2011)
    • Bies, D.A. and Hansen, C.H., Engineering Noise Control, 4th edition, Spon Press, London, (2009)
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures supported by problem-solving tutorials developing material covered in lectures

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The required time commitment from the beginning of semester to the end of the final exam is 41 hours attendance at lectures, 41 hours of self directed learning, 40 hours completing assignments and 43 hours of revising course material and preparing for the exam.

    Learning Activities Summary

    Engineering for sustainability

    Engineering ethics

    Sustainable buildings

    Water pollution and control

    (a) Types of industry and water pollutants
    (b) Environmental impacts of contaminants
    (c) Typical treatment approaches

    Air Pollution

    (a) Legislative requirements
    (b) Effects on health and property
    (c) Principles of measurement of industrial pollution
    (d) Basic control equipment
    (e) Cleaner production/pollution prevention
    (f) Gaseous and particulate pollution and control

    Noise and Noise pollution

    (a) Fundamentals of sound
    (b) Noise and the law


    Specific Course Requirements
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    All assessment tasks are summative. There are five assignments, each worth 10% of the assessment and an open book exam worth 50%. All assignments are due by 5pm on the due date (typically Mondays). Details of each task are tabulated below.

    Due dates are provided as a guide only and may be subject to change.

    Assessment task Weighting % Description Due date Learning objectives
    (See 2.1 above)
    Assignment 1 10 Assignment on policy Week 12 3,4,5,6,7,8,10,11,12,13
    Assignment 2 10 Assignment on air pollution Week 4 5,7
    Assignment 3 10 Assignment on water pollution Week 6 6,8
    Assignment 4 10 Assignment on sustainability and ethics Week 12 9,10,11,12
    Assignment 5 10 Assignment on acoustics and noise pollution Week 12 2,3,4
    Final Exam 50 Exam on all parts of the course Exam period 1-13
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail

    Assignment 1.

    This is a group report requiring a critical analysis of worldwide environmental, sustainable and ethical policies, laws and regulations. In groups of five or fewer, students will critically analyse at least one journal paper per student. The theme of the analysis is up to the students, but suggestions will be provided for assistance. Assessment of the report will include quality of analysis, selection of journal papers, and writing quality. Additional information will be provided to students.

    Assignment 2.

    This is an individual assignment on the air pollution component of the course and will involve either a design or a problem solving exercise.

    Assignment 3.

    This is an individual assignment on the water pollution component of the course and will involve either a design or a problem solving exercise.

    Assignments 4.

    This is an individual assignment on the sustainability and ethics pollution component of the course and will involve either a design or a problem solving exercise.

    Assignments 5.

    This is an individual assignment on the noise and noise pollution component of the course and will involve either a design or a problem solving exercise.


    Assignments 1 and 5 must be submitted using the electronic assignment capability in MyUni. A hard copy of assignment 1 will also have to be submitted in the appropriate submission box on Level 2 of Engineering South. Additional information regarding assignments 2-5 will be provided in class.

    Late assignments will be penalised 10% per day. Extensions for other assignments will only be given in exceptional circumstances and a case for this with supporting documentation can be made in writing after a lecture or via email to the lecturer who set the assignment. Hard copy assignments will be assessed and returned in 2 weeks of the due date. There will be no opportunities for re-submission of work of unacceptable standard. Due to the large size of the class, feedback on assignments will be limited to in-class discussion resulting from questions from students.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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