This course will explore the complex issues associated with water, global trends, and sustainability. Topics will range from sources to meet current water needs for human consumption, industry, agriculture, recreation and ecosystem services, and the state of these sources under future scenarios of status quo, global warming, population growth, and the industrialization of developing nations. The course will also cover the fundamentals of water chemistry, the current design of water and wastewater treatment and distribution systems, an analysis of these designs through Green Engineering, and innovations for future designs including providing services without significant infrastructure. There will also be elements of the course focused on water policy, environmental justice, and the economic valuation of water globally. This course will also have a one-credit elective laboratory for the students to conduct experiments related to water treatment processes in the developed and developing world, particularly point of use water treatment systems.
ENVE 360/ENAS 360/ENAS 660
Green Engineering and Sustainable Design
This course will focus on a green engineering design framework, The 12 Principles of Green Engineering, highlighting the key approaches to advancing sustainability through engineering design. This class will begin with discussions on sustainability, metrics, general design processes, and challenges to sustainability. The current approach to design, manufacturing, and disposal will be discussed in the context of examples and case studies from various sectors. This will provide a basis for what and how to consider when designing products, processes, and systems to contribute to furthering sustainability. The fundamental engineering design topics that will be addressed include toxicity and benign alternatives, pollution prevention and source reduction, separations and disassembly, material and energy efficiencies and flows, systems analysis, biomimicry, and life cycle design, management, and analysis.
Science to Solutions: How Should We Manage Water
While there are many different approaches to understanding and managing environmental problems, most involve three major steps: (i) describing/understanding the nature of the problem and its causes; (ii) using technical, policy, social and other management tools/processes to help address it; while (iii) recognizing/making the value judgments embedded in each (what problems/data are "important"? what solutions are "best"?). The purpose of this introductory course is to illustrate how an MEM student might integrate scientific understanding with management choices as part of an effort to address any particular environmental issue. Ideally, it should help students choose areas of specialization, as well as improve their ability to engage in integrative problem solving – both in their final semester and after they graduate. The class is focused on water issues, but the integrative structure of the class could be used on other problems as well. The class is built around a case study approach, in which the faculty bring their different perspectives to bear on understanding and addressing the issues raised in a diverse set of cases, including: the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico; the New York City drinking water supply; Australia's response to water scarcity; the Cochabamba "water wars"; and invasive species in the Great Lakes. Three hours lecture, one hour discussion.
F&ES 886a/FES 380
Greening Business Operations
The course examines various industries from engineering, environmental, financial perspectives, and emphasizes increasingly detailed analyses of corporate environmental performance. Methods are drawn from operations management, industrial ecology, and accounting and finance to investigate industrial processes, the potential to pollute, and the environmental and business implications of various sustainability approaches. Life cycle assessment and environmental cost accounting are typical tools that are taught; the class also involves several field trips to companies.