DESST 2517 - Environment II

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

This course focuses on the relationship between humans, the environment and sustainable design at a building and site level. Topics covered include the National Construction Code, 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
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    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 the National Construction Code, 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: Miss Larissa Arakawa Martins

    Dr Larissa Arakawa Martins
    Room BSS 3030, Barr Smith South
    Office hours: Tuesdays 4-5pm

    Dr Larissa Arakawa Martins 
    Dr Dalia Osman 
    Dr Marina Aburas
    Ricardo Lionar
    Shadi Jamialahmadi
    Chiara Ha Thanh Le
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1. explain climate responsive design principles for a specific location, perform solar shading analysis and design shading devices suitable for the location.
    2. perform environmental assessments of a small scale building design using a computer simulation program.
    3. evaluate an existing design and develop a self-sufficient, minimum or zero carbon design proposal for a small scale building, supported by environmental and life cycle analyses.
    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

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

    • Weekly Activities
    • Lecture notes
    • Assignment sheets
    • Solar Control Design Aids
    • Embodied energy spreadsheet
    • Rain water collector spreadsheet
    • Solar panel calculator
    • Life Cycle Costing calculator
    • Building Performance Simulation models
    Recommended Resources
    Benyus, J. M. (2002) Biomimicry: Innovation inspired by nature. 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.
    Hodge, B. (2006). Building your straw bale home. Land Links Press, Collingwood, Vic.
    Hyde, R. (Ed.) (2008). Bioclimatic Housing: Innovative Designs for Warmer Climates. Earthscan, London.
    Hyde, R. (2000). Climate responsive design. E&FN Spon, London.
    Kwok, A. and Grondzik, W. (2011). The Green Studio Handbook. Architectural Press, 2nd ed. New York.
    Lawson, B. (1996). Building Materials Energy and The Environment. ACT, RAIA Publisher.
    Mobbs, M. (1998). Sustainable House: Living for Our Future. Choice Books, Marrickville, NSW. See also:
    McMullan, R. (2012). Environmental Science in Building. 7th ed. MacMillan, UK.
    Pearson, D. (1998). The New Natural House Book. HarperCollinsPublishers, Australia.
    Szokolay, S. V. (2008). Introduction to Architectural Science: The Basis of Sustainable Design (2nd Ed.) Architectural Press, Oxford, UK. Available online at: Vale, B. and R. Vale. Green architecture: Design for sustainable future. Thames and Hudson, London, 1991.
    Zunde, J. and Bougdah, H. (2006). Integrated Strategies in Architecture. Taylor & Francis, New York.
    Online Learning

    MyUni-Canvas (or Canvas) is an essential online tool which will be used to communicate information regarding the course including details of assignments and interim grades. There are many other learning resources and assessment pieces that rely on the Canvas system for delivery. Therefore it is recommended that you familiarise yourself with the various functions of Canvas and employ it to its fullest extent.

    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.

    Discussion Board:
    The Discussion Board can be used to interact with other students and tutors and is an essential tool to discuss information and increase your understanding of issues.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Course materials are to be explored during the lecture and tutorials. Classes will be held weekly, commencing on Tuesday 28th of February 2023. Computer Workshops will be held in weeks 4 to 8, during which no tutorials will be held. Note that participation in all scheduled teaching (lectures, tutorials and workshops) are essential to your learning and success in this course.

    Lectures: All lectures will be delivered face-to-face and will also be available as a recordings on the same day. Students are expected to go through the lecture presentations prior to the scheduled lecture time (Tuesdays 9-10am). The lecture time will be used to further explore the lecture materials, Q & A, and discussions.

    MyUni: It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to always check the course on myUni as all important course-related 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: Note that the only ways of staff communicating announcements to students are via email and myUni. It is assumed that students will always check/read their emails and course announcements.

    MyUni Discussions Board: Students with any course-related questions must post the questions on the Course Discussions Board. The teaching staff will attempt to respond within 2-working days. For personal matters (i.e., not course-related issues) always contact the Course Coordinator by email.

    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
    See the Course Profile Handout.
    Specific Course Requirements

    Membership of studio/tutorial sessions is to be finalised by the end of the 2nd week of semester. 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.

    If you are unable to attend lectures, tutorials and workshops due to medical, compassionate or extenuating circumstances please notify the Course Coordinator as soon as possible. If you foresee a problem that will affect the submission of your work, contact the Course Coordinator BEFORE the problem occurs and submit the appropriate application for supplementary consideration. Please use the “Application for Assessment Extension” form, that can be found at

  • 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
    Assessment Task Weighting Task Type Due Learning Outcome
    Assignment 1 20% Individual assessment Physical Shading Model
    14/03/2023 (model testing/oral presentation)
    17/03/2023 (online submission)
    Assignment 2 35% Individual assessment Climate Analysis, Shading & Building Envelope
    (online submission)
    Assignment 3 30% Group of 4 Toward a Zero Carbon Design
    (poster/oral presentation)
    (online submission)
    Quizzes 10% Individual assessment Throughout semester 1-3
    Rhino and Grasshopper Archistar Academy Essentials 5% Individual assessment 20/03/2023 (online submission of certificates) 2

    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.

    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.
    • 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:
    • 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%.
    • Refer to the Student Handbook for the deadline for all re-submissions.
    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 at and need to be submitted to the Course Coordinator 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.
    Medical Reasons: 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 ( ).
    • 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 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 Counselling Service 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 8313 5962 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.