DESST 2517 - Environment II

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

This course focuses on the relationship between humans, the environment and sustainable design at a building and site level. Topics covered include human comfort, bioclimatic architecture, low energy design, water sensitive design, lighting, waste, materials, on-site power generation, user issues, as well as environmental performance assessments and life-cycle analysis. It provides the necessary skills to evaluate and knowledge to design a self-sufficient minimum or zero carbon small scale building. AccuRate / Ecotect software will be introduced in this course.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code DESST 2517
    Course Environment II
    Coordinating Unit School of Architecture and Built Environment
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Assumed Knowledge BESST 1508 or DESST 1028
    Restrictions Available to B.ArchDes & B.E(Arch) students only
    Quota A quota will apply
    Course Description This course focuses on the relationship between humans, the environment and sustainable design at a building and site level. Topics covered include human comfort, bioclimatic architecture, low energy design, water sensitive design, lighting, waste, materials, on-site power generation, user issues, as well as environmental performance assessments and life-cycle analysis. It provides the necessary skills to evaluate and knowledge to design a self-sufficient minimum or zero carbon small scale building. AccuRate / Ecotect software will be introduced in this course.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Veronica Soebarto

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    No information currently available.

    University Graduate Attributes

    No information currently available.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    All students must access and download the course material from MyUni site of this course ( including:

    • Weekly Activities
    • Embodied energy spreadsheet
    • Lecture notes/materials
    • Rain water collector spreadsheet
    • Assignment sheets
    • Solar panel calculator
    • Solar Control Design Aids
    Recommended Resources

    Benyus, J. M. (2002) Biomimicry. Harper Perennial, New York.

    Dresner, S. (2002). The principles of sustainability. Earthscan, London.

    Edwards, A. (2005). The sustainability revolution. Portrait of a paradigm shift. New Society Publishers, Canada.

    Elizabeth, L. and Adams, C. (2000). Alternative construction. Contemporary natural building methods. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

    Hodge, B. (2006). Building your straw bale home. Land Links Press, Collingwood, Vic.

    Holmgren, D. (2004). Permaculture: Principles and pathways beyond sustainability. Holmgren Design Services.

    Hyde, R. (Ed.) Bioclimatic Housing: Innovative Designs for Warmer Climates. Earthscan, London, 2007.

    Hyde, R. (2000). Climate responsive design. E&FN Spon, London.

    Kwok, A. and Grondzik, W. (2007). The Green Studio Handbook. Architectural Press, New York.

    Lawson, B. Building Materials Energy and The Environment. ACT, RAIA Publisher, 1996.

    Mobbs, M. Sustainable House: Living for Our Future. Choice Books, Marrickville, NSW., 1998. See also: 

    McMullan, R. Environmental Science in Building. 4th ed. MacMillan,1998.

    Papanek, V. (1995). The green imperative. Thames and Hudson, Singapore.

    Pearson, D. The New Natural House Book. HarperCollinsPublishers, Australia, 1998.

    Szokolay, S. V. Introduction to Architectural Science: The Basis of Sustainable Design (2nd Ed.) Architectural Press, Oxford, UK, 2008.

    Vale, B. and R. Vale. Green architecture: Design for sustainable future. Thames and Hudson, London, 1991.

    Williamson, T.J., S. Coldicutt, P. Riordan, and H. Bennetts. (unpub.) Windows and Energy, Department of Architecture, University of Adelaide, Adelaide.

    Zunde, J. and Bougdah, H. (2006). Integrated Strategies in Architecture. Taylor & Francis, New York.

    Internet-based Resources:
    Your Home. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available at: 

    Your Development. CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems and CSIRO and the Australian Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage, and the Arts. Available at: 

    Speaker Series:
    The School has a fortnightly lecture series where respected practitioners and academics from the field deliver a public lecture on contemporary architectural practice. In order to expand your knowledge of contemporary directions in design it is recommended that you attend these sessions. The exact detail of dates and speakers is available from the School website and the Front Office in due course.

    Online Learning

    All course notes are available on MyUni of this course. Students are required to obtain these course materials. Students are also required to check Discussion Board on MyUni and recommended to participate in the discussions. A number of assignments are submitted to MyUni and students are encouraged to view their peer’s submissions when they are made public, and learn from them.

    University Email:
    The school uses the University email system to get in touch with the students. So it is imperative that you check your email regularly and keep up to date with any new announcements.

    Noticeboard / Handbook:
    General information about the activities at the School is available online from the Student Noticeboard which can be accessed at current-student. Students can also access a copy of the Student Handbook at the following link: 

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Course materials are to be explored during the lecture and tutorials. Classes will be held weekly commencing the week beginning Monday 4 March. Workshops (computer) will be held in weeks 5 to 9, during which no tutorials will be held. Note that all scheduled teaching (lectures, tutorials and workshops) and participations in these activities are essential to your learning and success in this course.

    MyUni: It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to always check the course on MyUni regularly as all important Courserelated announcements will be communicated via this means. Course notes and assignments must be downloaded from MyUni. Please download relevant course notes in advance (before the lectures/tutorials for the related subject). No other handouts will be given during the lectures or tutorials, except for some materials that cannot be uploaded to/downloaded from MyUni.

    Email: Check your student email REGULARLY (daily) as course-related announcements are also communicated via email. Note that the only ways of communicating announcements in this course are via email and MyUni. It is assumed that students will always read their email and course announcements, and no such excuse as: “I haven’t read my email” will be accepted. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to always check your email and course announcements.

    Discussion Board: Individual e-mail communication about course issues WILL NOT BE responded to by teaching staff. Students with any questions regarding the course must post these on the Course Discussion Board. This will be monitored by teaching staff and queries responded to within 2-working days (not over weekends). Only personal matters, not course-related issues, can be communicated by email to the Course Coordinator.

    Recorded Lectures: Although most lectures will be recorded, students are expected to attend the lectures they will better engage with the materials when involved in the class discussions, which often occur during lectures. Note also that Pop Quiz (i.e. unannounced quiz) happens during lectures.


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

    The University expects full-time students (ie. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote at least 48 hours per week to their studies. Accordingly, students undertaking this 3 unit course are expected to devote 12 hours per week to contact activities and self-guided studies. Based on this framework here are some figures that might assist workload management:

    Total workload hours: 12 Hrs per week x 13 weeks = 156 Hrs
    Total contact hours: 3 Hrs per week x 12 weeks = 36 Hrs
    Total self-guided study: 156 Hrs – 36 Hrs = 120 Hrs

    These 120 hours should be used towards preparation of weekly tasks and for completion of the various assignments associated with the course, including development of various skills required to complete the same. Please organise your time wisely.

    Learning Activities Summary
    9 – 10 am
    Horace Lamb
    See your time table
    CAD Lab
    See your time table
    Week 1
    5 March
    From high to zero energy building Discussion of Assignment 1 -
    Week 2
    12 March
    Climate, comfort, solar paths and shading Preliminary presentation of Assignment 1. BRING YOUR WORK TO TUTORIAL. -
    Week 3
    19 March
    Passive Design principles Testing your shading devices. BRING YOUR PHYSICAL MODEL TO TUTORIAL. -
    Week 4
    26 March
    Envelope materials U Value/Heat loss
    Presentation of Assignment 1
    - Assignment 1 – 20%
    Tuesday 26/3/13, start of tutorial
    Week 5
    2 April
    Introduction to Ecotect - Ecotect - solar shading
    Week 6
    9 April
    Shading and other analysis with Ecotect - Ecotect – improving your design
    MID SEMESTER BREAK 15 – 26 April Assignment 2 – 20%
    Friday 19/4/13, 12PM, On-line submission
    Week 7
    30 April
    Environmental assessment, airconditioned and free-running buildings. - Introduction to AccuRate
    Week 8
    7 May
    Thermal mass vs lightweight, glazing. - AccuRate I
    Week 9
    14 May
    Materials and Embodied energy - AccuRate 2
    Embodied energy.
    Assignment 3 – 20%
    Friday 17/5/13, 12PM, School Office
    Week 10
    21 May
    Water and Waste Rain water calculation, waste management, design consultation. -
    Week 11
    28 May
    Renewable energies; life cycle costing. Life cycle costing, design consultation. -
    Week 12
    4 June
    Life-cycle costing, Conclusion Presentation of Final Project. - Assignment 4 – 30%
    Friday 7/6/13, 12 PM, School Office
    Specific Course Requirements

    Membership of studio/tutorial sessions is to be finalised by the end of the 2nd week of semester (March 15). Students wishing to swap between studio/tutorial sessions after this time are required to present their case to the Course Coordinator, but should be aware that such a request may not be approved. 

    Failure to attend teaching due to medical, compassionate or extenuating circumstances is dealt with the School Policy, administered by the School Office. Submit the appropriate application for supplementary consideration together with the original signed medical or other relevant officer, to the School Office. If you foresee a problem contact the Course Coordinator BEFORE the problem actually occurs. Otherwise, contact the Course Coordinator as soon as possible and submit the appropriate application for supplementary consideration to the School Office. 

    Students who miss more than 25% of the scheduled teaching (lectures, tutorials and workshops) and whose overall mark is below 45 will not automatically be granted extensions and/or replacement examinations, even if the application is submitted.

  • 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
    Assignment 1 20% Group of 2 Shading design 1 (physical model)
    Due Tuesday 26 March 2013, at the start of tutorial
    Learning Outcomes:
    2, 4, 5
    Assignment 2 20% Individual Shading design (computer model)
    Due: Friday 19 April 2013, by 12 PM, School Office
    Learning Outcomes:
    2, 4, 5
    Assignment 3 20% Individual Improving Life-cycle energy of a building
    Due: Friday 17 May 2013, by 12 PM, School Office
    Learning Outcomes:
    3, 5, 6
    Assignment 4 30% Group Final Project Presentation: Tuesday 4 June 2013, at the start of tutorial
    Due: Friday 7 June 2013, by 12 PM, School Office
    Learning Outcomes:
    1, 3, 7
    POP QUIZZES 10% Individual Covering the course material up to that point.
    Unannounced. Percentage varies. Will occur in lectures.
    Learning Outcomes:
    1, 2, 3
    Assessment Related Requirements

    See Individual Assignment Sheets.

    When the assignments are to be presented during a tutorial, students must arrive and submit their work at the beginning of the tutorial. Students who arrive later than 10 minutes after the tutorial commences will not be allowed to present and will receive 0 mark.

    Assessment Detail

    Marking & Feedback (General)

    • Final results for the course will only be available through Access Adelaide and students should not contact the course coordinator or the tutors for the same.
    • Feedback for in-class submissions will only be available during the tutorial as oral critique in the style of studio wall-crits. Students should arrange with peers to make notes for reference

    All assignments must be submitted at the time and place as indicated above. Note that NO LATE submissions will be accepted unless it is due to illness and other accepted circumstances as explained in the School's Student Handbook.

    Selected submissions of the Final Assignment will be included in the All-In Exhibition at the end of the semester.

    Submissions (General):

    • All submissions must include Student Name and Student ID Number. Submissions without Student Name or ID Number will not be considered for marking, and will receive zero marks in accordance with the guidelines.

    • In addition, all assigments need to have an Assignment Cover Sheet which must be signed and dated by the student before submission. Please attach the cover sheet in front of the document, to the top left hand corner.

    • Please adhere to submission deadlines and follow instructions provided.

    • Students must not submit work for an assignment that has previously been submitted for this course or any other course without prior approval from the Course Coordinator.

    • On occasion, the lecturer/tutor may wish to retain students’ work for future reference and the relevant student will be informed at such a time.

    Early Submission:

    • There is an early submission box located on Level 4 which is cleared out daily at 10am. Please mark your submission clearly before placing in box.

    • Models for in-class presentation cannot be handed in early.

    Late Submission:

    • The school will NOT accept late submissions and any such assignment will receive zero marks. This also applies to electronic submissions.

    • Printing delays & hard disk crashes will not be entertained as legitimate causes for delay, so please ensure that the work is finished in advance.


    • The school has a resubmission policy whereby students can redeem failed work by submitting additional work for a maximum of 50%.

    • The deadline for all re-submissions is 12pm on Friday 14th June 2013.

    Good practice:

    • Students should ensure that they regularly backup their work on multiple locations as hard-disk crashes are an unfortunate reality.

    • When relying on community printing facilities, students should attempt to finish their work in advance to avoid unnecessary delays.

    • Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted (digital or hardcopy), as originals may be lost during the submission process.

    For modified arrangements of submission and assessment due to special circumstances see the following Assessment Task Extension(s) & Additional Assessment guidelines.

    Modified Arrangements (General) 

    • Students can apply for extensions or modified arrangements based on Medical conditions or other Extenuating circumstances. However, students need to submit their application along with supporting documents within 5 business days of the condition becoming applicable.
    • The application forms are available from the Front Office and at and need to be submitted at the Front Office along with any supporting documentation.
    • Please note that submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance and the Course Coordinator will inform the applicant if the application is accepted. Please DO NOT contact the Course Coordinator directly.

    Medical Reasons:

    • In case of an extended medical condition which makes it impossible for the student to submit the work on time, an Application for Assessment Task Extension due to Medical Circumstances may be lodged with the Front Office along with a doctor’s certificate within 5 business days.

    Extenuating Circumstances:

    • If the student is unable to submit the work on time due to extenuating circumstances an Application for Assessment Task Extension due to Extenuating Circumstances may be lodged with the Front Office.
    • Please note that this is only available for certain military, religious, or legal obligations and does not extend to minor personal problems. (Refer to Student Handbook at for further details or contact Student Advisor).

    Compassionate Grounds:

    • In case of certain extraordinary personal problems students can apply for extensions based on compassionate grounds. However, these must first be discussed with the Course Coordinator in person through appointment during the assigned office hours.
    • To maintain privacy relating to personal issues students can contact the University Transition and Advisory Service at 8313 0100 or, or approach the Counselling Service on 83035663 for an individual appointment.

    Additional Assessment:

    • If a student receives a Fail grade for the course with an overall mark between 45 and 49, they may be eligible for an Additional Assessment which would allow them to get a maximum of 50 Pass for the Course.
    • Additional Assessment offers are made by the School and the student will be informed directly once these are made available.


    • Students who have a disability and wish to seek modified submission or assessment arrangements need to contact the University Disability Services at 83135962 or for supporting documentation and then communicate these to the Course Coordinator in person through appointment during the assigned office hours.

    Elite Athlete:

    • Students who have national/international sporting commitments and wish to seek modified submission or assessment arrangements need to register with the University Elite Athlete Support Scheme at and then communicate this to the Course Coordinator in person through appointment during the assigned office hours.
    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

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.