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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Circular Economy in the Built Environment (fusion on-site) (EFIE11153)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe engineering and construction industries are the world's largest consumers of raw materials as well as biggest contributor to landfill. This course focuses on the economic, social and environmental advantages of employing circular economy principles in the construction industry. It will give you the opportunity to explore the complex nature of the built environment and the necessity for the sector to adapt to advancing circular economy principles. You will look at the challenges of applying a circular economy to designing new or reusing buildings and large infrastructures so these long-lasting structures create a sustainable, efficient, and resilient future.
Course description During this course you will learn about key data related to built environment waste and current circular economy approaches. Analysing current policies and approaches adopted by different governments and industry, you will learn of key drivers, enablers and barriers within the sector. By applying this knowledge, students will have the capabilities to understand how circular economy could be adapted and progressed into the future. The context and scale of the built environment is from local to global, and thus the knowledge developed through the course can be applied to any and all sub-sectors of the built environment.

Course Content Covers:

- Key policies and guidance in the construction industry, learning from previous policy interventions and industry key data and exploring their impact.
- Exploration of pre-emptive actions and interventions that can be taken in the design stage, including the life cycle of a building post-construction and end-of-asset-life opportunities.
- Exploring industry product innovations which encompass CE approaches, and future opportunities for utilizing CE based products. Students will have the opportunity to appraise and investigate future CE pathways and needs.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - On-Site Fusion Course Delivery Information:

The Edinburgh Futures Institute will teach this course in a way that enables online and on-campus students to study together. This approach (our 'fusion' teaching model) offers students flexible and inclusive ways to study, and the ability to choose whether to be on-campus or online at the level of the individual course. It also opens up ways for diverse groups of students to study together regardless of geographical location. To enable this, the course will use technologies to record and live-stream student and staff participation during their teaching and learning activities.

Students should be aware that:
- Classrooms used in this course will have additional technology in place: students might not be able to sit in areas away from microphones or outside the field of view of all cameras.
- Unless the lecturer or tutor indicates otherwise you should assume the session is being recorded.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 6, Other Study Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Other Study: Scheduled Group-work Hours (hybrid online/on-campus) - 4
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Summative Assessment:

The course will be assessed by means of the following assessment components:

1) 2000 Word Individual Project Report (100%)

A project technical report template structure will be provided.

The project report will include foresighting, analysis, policy, sustainable development, data analysis. Each student will investigate a specific building / infrastructure (of their choice) to investigate and report on the applications of regeneration principles to maximize circular economy outcomes, embodied carbon savings and support societal needs. The coursework will be online submitted 4 weeks after the two-day intensive, using a course template technical report.
Feedback The course will have one opportunity for formative assessment:

1) Students will be able to submit for formative feedback (no later than Week 4) their chosen building and up to 5 bullet points summarising their ideas for each section of the Report: circular economy outcomes, embodied carbon savings and supporting societal needs. This would be max two pages and following review would be returned with comments within 72hrs of submission.

2) In addition, students will receive summative Feedback by academic staff on the final assessment submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the main areas of circular economy and the built environment from pre-design interventions (Design for Deconstruction) to end-of-asset-life (Regeneration / maximizing existing assets).
  2. Explain the significance of key construction waste data and how critical analysis of such data is important in developing future policies and interventions supporting emissions reductions.
  3. Develop original and creative responses to key issues for the construction sector and circular economy.
Reading List
Required Reading:

Arup (2018). From Principles to Practices: First Steps Towards a Circular Built Environment.

Selected chapters from: Cheshire, David (2016). Building Revolutions: Applying the Circular Economy to the Built Environment. RIBA Publishing.

Mohebbi, Golnaz, Ali Bahadori-Jahromi, Marco Ferri, and Anastasia Mylona. (2021). The Role of Embodied Carbon Databases in the Accuracy of Life Cycle Assessment Calculations for the Embodied Carbon of Buildings. Sustainability 13, no. 14: 7988.

Smith, R.S. (2018) World Economic Forum. The world needs to build more than 2 billion new homes over the next 80 years.

UK Green Building Council. (2020) Circular Economy How-to Guide: Reusing products and materials in built assets.

UK Parliament (2021) Reducing the whole life carbon impact of buildings. PostBrief No.44.

UK Green Building Council. (2019) Circular economy guidance for construction clients.

Additional (optional) Materials - to supplement readings and assist with assessment:

Gillott, C., Davison, B. & Tingley D.D. (2022) Drivers, barriers and enablers: construction sector
views on vertical extensions: construction sector views on vertical extensions, Building Research &
Information, DOI:

Rahla, K.M., Mateus, R., Bragan├ža, L. (2021) 'Selection Criteria for Building Materials and Components in Line with the Circular Economy Principles in the Built Environment: A Review of Current Trends'. Infrastructures, 6(4), 49.

Selected chapters from Regeneration of the Built Environment from a Circular Economy Perspective (2020). Springer Open. Eds. Della Torre, S., et al.

Watch/Listening List:

VIDEO: Circular Economy in the Built Environment: Innovation and Implementation (2018) Disruptive Innovation Festival, Ellen McArthur Foundation.

VIDEO: Circular Building, a Learning Journey. (2017) Buildings at Arup.

PODCAST: Sarah Wigglesworth on Building with Straw. (2021) Material Matters, with Grant Gibson.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1) Students will develop a critical awareness of current issues in the construction sector and circular economy (SCQF characteristic 1)

2) Students will apply knowledge skills and understanding using a range of specialised skills, techniques, practices and/or research sourced materials informed by forefront developments to support the planning and executing a significant project of research and answer scholarly research questions (SCQF characteristic 2).

3) Students will gain cognitive skills by conducting original research using text-driven analysis and making their own interpretations of the results in the context of world knowledge (SCQF characteristic 3).

4) Students will develop communication, ICT and numeracy skills by interacting with academic staff and their peers in different settings (physical and online), (SCQF characteristic 4).

5) Students will gain autonomy, accountability and learn to work with others by collaborating in small groups on the practical elements of the course and during the preparation stage of their project, developing their communication skills, and gaining valuable skills in working with others (SCQF characteristics 4 and 5).
KeywordsEFI,Level 11,PG,Circular Economy,Future Infrastructure,Resilience,Embodied Carbon,Built Environment
Course organiserProf Sean Smith
Course secretaryMiss Veronica Silvestre
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