Course Title: Sustainable Energy Systems and Design

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Sustainable Energy Systems and Design

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


115H Aerospace, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 2 2022,
Sem 2 2023,
Sem 2 2024

Course Coordinator: Prof. John Andrews

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6085

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Building 251, Bundoora East campus

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course covers the principles and practice of sustainable energy design. This will prepare you for the in-depth study of sustainable energy technologies covered in subsequent courses in the program as well as the major design project to be undertaken. The principles of sustainable energy design will be presented and discussed, along with the opportunities for innovation these principles create. A review of design processes that integrate the analysis of social, environmental and economic impacts, and communication with affected social groups, into all stages from initial concept, to implementation, operation, recycle and reuse, will be presented (including life cycle assessment). The course will also provide an introduction to the legal implications of sustainable energy.

A central feature of the approach to sustainable energy design presented will be the advantages of integrating evaluative processes covering economic, environmental and social criteria into the heart of the design process, rather than leaving such evaluation until after a technology has been developed and an actual deployment has been planned. A number of case studies of sustainable energy systems will be analysed to see how this integrative approach to design has been or could be implemented. You will be given the opportunity to apply the principles learnt in a simple design task and present the findings to the class for feedback and discussion.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

 This course contributes to the development of the following program learning outcomes:

1. Needs, Context and Systems 

  • Exposit legal, social, economic, ethical and environmental interests, values, requirements and expectations of key stakeholders
  • Identify and evaluate economic, social and environmental impacts of engineering activities

2. Problem Solving and Design

  • Develop creative and innovative solutions to engineering problems

4. Professional Practice

  • Understand the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of contemporary engineering practice in the specific discipline
  • Apply systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects
  • Communicate in a variety of different ways to collaborate with other people, including accurate listening, reading and comprehension taking into account the knowledge, expectations, requirements, interests, terminology and language of the intended audience
  • Display a personal sense of responsibility for your work

5. Research

  • Be aware of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.

Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Apply principles and values of sustainable energy design to a range of settings,
  2. Analyse and evaluate social, environmental and economic impacts and constraints relating to sustainable energy design solutions,
  3. Develop designs for a range of innovative sustainable energy solutions (consistent with these principles) to meet a given end-use energy demand.  

Overview of Learning Activities

The educational philosophy of this course is based on the principles of adult learning. You will be studying in internal mode, which entails taking part in a series of lectures, seminars, and workshops. The principal learning activities will be:

  • Attending the lectures and seminars
  • Giving seminars to the class
  • Participation in class and online discussions on relative merits of the various sustainable energy sources and technologies, in comparison with fossil fuel sources currently used
  • Attending the site visits to and demonstrations of working sustainable energy systems and installations
  • Solving a set of problems relating to sustainable energy resources and technologies covered
  • Presenting projects to class
  • Providing constructive feedback on others’ designs


Overview of Learning Resources

A list of key references and sources will be provided in the orientation session, and via MyRMIT Blackboard. Some material listed on Blackboard will be made available via the e-publication resources of the RMIT library. Presenters will suggest further works and sources for following up on the topics they cover. Where possible, Powerpoint presentations will be made available via the MyRMIT Blackboard prior to lectures. 

Overview of Assessment

X This course has no hurdle requirements.

☐ All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching).

Assessment tasks 

Assessment Task 1:  Class exercises
Weighting 40%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3

Assessment Task 2: Class presentation
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLO  2 

Assessment Task 3: Individual design/evaluative report
Weighting 40%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3