SUS - Sustainability in the Urban Environment Course Descriptions

SUS 7100A Environmental Planning

This course provides an overview of the physical environment of the New York City metropolitan region including geology, soils, surface water, dominant weather systems, the changing climate, plant communities, wildlife habitat, and regional design style trends. The region serves as a case study site for multi-layered analysis. Each student prepares a colloquium presentation (short paper and slides) on a particular aspect of New York City regional ecology, design, local material, or historical feature. Presentations are compiled into a web format for future reference. The examination of the underlying environmental systems of New York City and the evolution of infrastructure in the city provides a case study for exploring the interplay of society, culture, and environment in sustainable design practice.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Undergraduate degree.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7100B Sustainable Transportation

The course will review the role transportation plays in US society using a demand-supply economic perspective. Both freight and passenger movements will be considered. The first half of the course will establish transportation use and its impact on land use, energy consumption, air quality and related environmental issues. Development of basic economic models used to evaluate the impacts of transportation will be established. There will be a review of legislation and regulations as well as system funding that define how transport investment choices are made. The second half of the course will address current and evolving models addressing sustainability. These will include technical solutions to reduce carbon emissions, land use/transport shifts, including transit-oriented design, and information technology substitutions for transportation.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

MATH 19000 or equivalent, or consent of instructor.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7100C Cities and Sustainability

This course will set out several frameworks for approaching sustainability, explore its foundational principles, and examine tools and metrics for measuring social, economic and environmental progress. The course will explore positive roles cities can play in safeguarding the sustainability of natural systems. It will look at policies and practices played out through both traditional and alternative forms of governance - processes based on greater inclusion and participation across the various urban sectors. Through case studies, individual and team assignments, students will become familiar with the dimensions of more ecologically sound design decision-making. The course will combine seminar lectures, participant presentation of assignment exercises, and presentations of final papers.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Undergraduate degree.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7200A Urbanism

This course provides students with a comprehensive overview of the history, theories, methods and values of urbanism, its positive and negative social/environmental attributes, addressing cities, suburbs and peripheral settlements in the United States and across the globe. Newly emergent models for sustainable urban design and planning are considered in the context of current imperatives to design and retrofit urbanized areas for social and physical resiliency.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Undergraduate degree.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7200B Energy Systems Engineering for Global Sustainability

This course is intended to provide students with the background and tools to analyze energy choices for the future. World energy supplies, demand, and trends. The politics of energy. The scientific basis for anthropogenic global warming and its impact on climate and planetary ecosystems. Characterization and analysis of conventional sources of energy and fuels production including refineries, fossil fuel fired power plants, and gas turbine combined-cycle systems from both thermodynamic and environmental points of view. Alternate sources of power including nuclear, wind farms, solar (both photovoltaic and thermal), and biomass. Energy consumption by the transportation, manufacturing, and space heating and cooling segments of the economy. The hydrogen economy. Social barriers such as denial, lock-in, and NIMBY. After completing this course, students should: (1) Have a working knowledge of the supply and demand components of energy usage on both a national and global scale and the impact of the near-term end of cheap oil. (2) Have an understanding of the scientific basis of global warming and climate change, the predicted global impact, and the prospects based on various mitigation scenarios. (3) Have an understanding of the technological, environmental and economic aspects of producing and distributing energy from the entire range of inputs such as fossil fuels, nuclear fuels, solar insolation, wind, hydro, and biomass. (4) Be able to analyze, based on thermodynamic, safety, and economic considerations, the prospects for new energy technologies. (5) Be able to perform a systems engineering, life-cycle analysis of proposed technologies to reduce energy consumption. (6) Understand the societal and political factors that can inhibit the introduction of new approaches to dealing with our energy crisis, factors such as technological and economic lock in, perceived risk versus actual risk, and changes in lifestyle.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

CHE 22900 or ENGR 23000 or CHEM 33200.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7200C Sustainable Aquatic, Terrestrial and Atmospheric Systems

This course provides students with a reasonably comprehensive understanding of the biosphere and the threats and challenges of global human activity to its sustainability. This course is structured into five modules pertaining to particular systems and culminating in a section that addresses systems interactions: Aquatic systems, terrestrial systems, atmospheric systems, human impact and the future and systems interactions. Each class will contain a one hour overview, one hour addressing case-studies, and one hour of discussion or group project. After completing the course, students should (1) Be familiar with the global environmental picture, (2) Understand ecosystems, their structure, how they function, and challenges to their sustainability, (3) Know the causes, dynamics and consequences of human population growth, (4) Have knowledge of renewable resources such as water and its stewardship, soil and its degradation, and the production and distribution of food, (5) Appreciate the value of ecosystems and biodiversity in terms of services provided and aesthetics, (6) Understand energy usage and production including renewable resources, (7) Know about the various sources of global pollution and its hazards, pest control, solid waste and hazardous chemicals, (8) Understand atmospheric processes and involvement in ecosystem interactions, and (9) Comprehend the dimensions of the sustainability challenge in terms of economics, resources, the public and public policy and urban sprawl.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

MATH 19500, PHYS 21900 or equivalent, or consent of instructor.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7200S Selected Topics in Environmental Psychology, Education, and Communication

Offers selected topics that explore the myriad ways that human thinking influences sustainability issues: communicating and promoting environ-mental stewardship, systems thinking and organizational change, environ-mental conflict management and dispute resolution, and environmental risk assessment and response. Will help students deploy the insights of established social sciences to more effectively articulate and communicate sustainability issues and solutions to individuals and organizations.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Undergraduate degree.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7300A Low-Energy Buildings

The aim of the course is to introduce state-of-the-art methodologies and tools for integrated design and optimization of energy efficient buildings with a good indoor environment. Focus is on the first part of the design process. The methodology for integrated design is based on listing of the functional requirements of buildings, preparation of space of solutions, generating of design proposals, and optimization analyses and decision processes. The participants will, on individual basis, work on development of the integrated design processes in relation to their own research projects.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

MATH 19000; MATH 195000; ARCH 61100 or ARCH 61001 or LAAR 61100; ARCH 35201 or LAAR 62600; and ARCH 35301. Any of these prerequisites may be waived upon consent of instructor.

Cross Listed Courses

ARCH 63102

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7300B Climate and Climate Change

We are in an era of rapid global warming and climate change. There is a large body of evidence that this is due to humankind's excessive use of energy, mainly derived from fossil fuels. So much misinformation has been disseminated that it is not clear to most what should be done. The purpose of this course is to separate the wheat of truth from this chaff of misinformation and to provide our students with a thorough understanding of the scientific basis for global warming and an appreciation of the potential outcomes of pursuing various scenarios for adaption and mitigation. That we have an informed citizenry is extremely important because the time left for effective action may be much shorter than we have been led to believe and the consequences of inadequate action are potentially much more catastrophic than previously anticipated.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

MATH 19000, MATH 17300, MATH 19500, PHYS 21900, SUS 7200C, equivalent or consent of instructor.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7300C Industrial Ecology and Life Cycle Analysis

Students will be introduced to the purpose, philosophy, and applications of Industrial Ecology, as well as the status of environmental and urban resources. The basis and use of tools to assess Industrial Ecology will be reviewed, focusing on Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Carbon Footprinting. Several case studies that use the philosophy of Industrial Ecology to manage resources in the built environment will be presented and discussed: energy, agriculture, commerce, transportation systems, manufacturing, and waste management. Next steps will be discussed.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

MATH 190 or equivalent, or consent of instructor

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7300S Sustainable Business Practices

Examines how sustainability intersects with the contemporary business environment. Explores how businesses can lessen the negative environmental impacts of their operations, supply chains, and products. Covers CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), and notions of "shared value." Aims to help students distinguish "greenwashing" from sound practice with an objectively-grounded understanding of how sustainability and business practices come together.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Undergraduate degree.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7400A Case Studies in Sustainability

This course will be structured to enable students to more broadly appreciate the complex dynamics of, and processes involved in, implementing successful sustainable development initiatives. Students will study and critique completed (or in some cases 'in-progress') projects. These may vary in terms of scale and in typology from individual buildings, to urban or neighborhood developments, or more complex civil infrastructural systems. The organization of the course will reveal a critical point of view and thematic approach to sustainability that unifies the projects being explored in detail. Lectures and readings will emphasize the crucial role of stakeholder involvement and cross-disciplinary partnership that are the basis of holistic, integrated designs. The course will combine seminar lectures, participant presentation of assignment exercises, and presentations of final projects.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Undergraduate degree.

Cross Listed Courses

ARCH 61388

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7400B Water Resources and Sustainability

Water and water resources are critical issues for the sustenance of nearly every society. This course examines the occurrence, use, management, and conservation of water and water resources in the U.S. and around the world. It further discusses the environmental, economic, and social implications of floods, droughts, dams, and water usage as well as current issues in water quality, water pollution, and water resource regulation. Students will gain an understanding of the environmental, societal, and political impacts of water, water resources, and changes in water supply and availability, and they will be introduced to current and emerging trends in water resource issues, development, and technology.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

SUS 7200C or consent of instructor.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7400C Economics of Sustainability

Learn basic economic principles in the context of investigations of how consumer and producer choices affect the sustainability of economic development both regionally and globally. Theory of optimal allocation of resources and when markets fail to provide it. Inquiry into social institutions and government policies that correct market failures.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Undergraduate degree.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7500B Green Chemistry

Principles of green chemistry/engineering. Focuses on the processes affecting anthropogenic organic compounds in the environment. Uses molecular structure-reactivity relationships to estimate chemical, photochemical, and biochemical transformation rates. Biomimetic process in materials chemistry. Awareness of current energy sources and energy management. Alternate and future sources (feedstock) for energy, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and materials from Biomass. Biorefinery concept.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

CHEM 26100.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7501C Capstone Interdisciplinary Team Project - I

This course is designed to teach skills that are required in addressing interdisciplinary problems in sustainability. Students learn to work in teams on projects in disciplines unfamiliar to them. They develop confidence in tackling and solving problems where technology, economics and environmental issues intersect. Teams are assembled from more than one concentration. Lectures on project management and team work are given early in the semester. Project topics are either selected from a list or proposed by students. Seminars by invited speakers on topics of interest to team assignments are given during class hours. Depending on the nature of a project, outside experts may be engaged as mentors. A formal report is prepared and submitted by the team at the end of the term.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Permission by project committee.

Materials Fee

$25

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7502C Capstone Interdisciplinary Team Project - II

This course is designed to teach skills that are required in addressing interdisciplinary problems in sustainability. Students learn to work in teams on projects in disciplines unfamiliar to them. They develop confidence in tackling and solving problems where technology, economics and environmental issues intersect. Teams are assembled from more than one concentration. Lectures on project management and team work are given early in the semester. Project topics are either selected from a list or proposed by students. Seminars by invited speakers on topics of interest to team assignments are given during class hours. Depending on the nature of a project, outside experts may be engaged as mentors. A formal report is prepared and submitted by the team at the end of the term.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Or Corequisite(s): SUS 7501C.

Materials Fee

$25

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7600A Perspectives on Sustainable Materials

This course provides students with a critical understanding of practicing responsible architecture and engineering from a materials and products perspective. It will cover the full range of complex issues involved in material selection and specification: critical health and environmental issues and life-cycle analysis. Using current evaluation tools (Athena, Pharos Lens, CSI Green Spec, and others) students will research materials and products according to cost, availability, and environmental performance criteria to include embodied energy, life-cycle LEED criteria such as salvaged, renewable, and environmentally benign materials or products with recycled-content. "Smart materials" will also be considered. The seminar will produce a first draft of green specifications for a generic project.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Undergraduate degree.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7600B Design of Mechanical Systems for Sustainable Buildings

Fundamentals of HVAC Equipment. Principles of psychrometrics and comfort requirements. Analysis of thermal performance of building envelopes by transient and steady methods. Design of HVAC systems. Energy efficient HVAC systems. Renewable energy in buildings. On-site energy-generation systems. District cooling and heating systems. Principles of building-management systems.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Undergraduate course in heat transfer or transport phenomenon.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7600C Environmental Policymaking

Broadly examines environmental policymaking-the process of managing human activities in order to prevent or reduce harmful impacts on the natural world and humans. Examines how sound environmental policymaking must be fully attuned to the evolving international policy and legal environment. Gives special attention to the policymaking point of view, i.e., the active creation and shaping of environmental policy.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Undergraduate degree.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7700A Sustainable Soil and Water

Via lectures and field work, explores topics related to the conservation of soil, surface water and groundwater in urban settings; understanding floodplains; treating polluted brownfields; the relation of soil and groundwater in natural and urban/designed settings; "sustainable details" such as porous infrastructure and pavements; and field methods for understanding soil and groundwater.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Undergraduate degree.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7700B Solid Waste Reuse and Recycling

Characterization of solid waste streams. Solid waste generation in municipal, commercial and industrial sectors. Waste minimization by waste reuse and recycling. Analysis of state-of-the-art reuse and recycling technologies. Economics of waste and its impact on reuse/recycling. Implementation of reuse and recycling technologies in major commercial and industrial sectors such as paper, glass, plastics, metals, wood, tire, electronics and construction/demolition wastes. Local, state and national legislative trends and regulatory requirements. Impact of reuse and recycling of wastes on CO2 emissions, urban sustainability and global warming. Examples of public and private reuse and recycling programs in New York City. Field trips. Invited speakers. The goals of the course are to familiarize the students with: (1) Generation, characterization and disposal methods for domestic, commercial and industrial solid wastes. (2) Environmental, societal and economic considerations in handling of solid wastes. (3) Current state of the art technologies for processing of solid wastes for recycling, including their implementation in selected industries. (4) Laws and local ordinances regulating recycling and reuse of solid wastes. (5) The impact of materials reuse on CO2 emissions, urban sustainability, and energy consumption with specific examples from local and national reuse industries. (6) Factors affecting the success or failure of reuse and recycling in urban systems.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

CE 37200 equivalent or graduate standing.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7800A Natural Resources: Types, Sources, Supplies, Reuse, and Sustainability

Examines the types, sources, supplies, and reuse/repurposing of natural resources and their products to achieve sustainability goals. Covers minerals, metals, fossil fuels, forestry, and other natural resources involved in land use and design of built spaces. Examines resource limits; substitutive options; and how conservation, recycling, and repurposing can extend resources. Focuses on the triple bottom line framework of Environment, Economy, and Community.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Undergraduate degree.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7800B Sustainability in Infrastructure

Develop conceptual and mathematical tools for considering the sustainability and environmental impact of infrastructure projects. Topics studied include mass and energy balance, thermo-dynamic analysis (energy and exergy efficiency), life cycle analysis (ecological footprint, carbon footprint), global warming, and standards and certification programs (LEED, EnergyStar, Global Reporting Initiative), with applications and case studies in water, food, energy, and building systems. Lectures, assignments, student presentations and discussions, and a term project.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

CHEM 10401, MATH 20200, PHYS 20800, or permission of instructor.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 7900B Sustainable Energy Conversion Systems

Examines energy resources, contemporary energy conversion systems, and factors affecting the rate of global energy consumption. Compares conventional and renewable energy conversion systems with respect to limitations and efficiencies of each, and their comparative impacts on the environment. Covers applications including steam, gas, wind, hydro turbine systems, internal combustion engines, fuel cells, solar energy converters, and tidal and wave energy converters.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

ENGR 23000 Thermodynamics (or equivalent); ME 35600 Fluid Mechanics (or equivalent).

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.

SUS 8100-8199 Selected Topics in Sustainability

Offers selected topics that provide critical review, analysis, and evaluation of emerging issues in sustainability. Particular course contents may include topics related to energy, architecture, urbanism, environmental science, law, policy, management, economics, urban infrastructure, industrial ecology, etc.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

Undergraduate degree.

Contact Hours

3 hr./wk.