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Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
Queen's University
CMAS 801 Topics in Applied Sustainability
(Winter 2011)


--Dr. Pearce


  • Dr. Mabee
  • Dr. Bruce Anderson
  • Dr. Pakalnis

CMAS 801 Topics in Applied Sustainability


Applied sustainability is the application of science and innovation to meet human needs while indefinitely preserving the life support systems of the planet. This course provides an overview of the field with particular focus on implementation of engineering solutions. The course will be divided into three sections in which the technical and policy-related issues will be explored: 1) Sustainable Energy Technologies, 2) Sustainability and Fresh Water Systems and 3) Sustainable Resource Management.

In the first section, the engineering necessary to transition from a nuclear and fossil fuel-based energy system to one utilizing a portfolio of sustainable energy technologies will be detailed. The use of thermodynamics, energy, and dynamic life cycle analyses will be used to provide the basis for comparison between technologies.

In the second section, society's unsustainable use of water will be examined and changes utilizing ecological principles and biomimicry necessary to meet the goal of long-term strategic and sustainable fresh water systems will be analyzed.

In the third section, the historically challenging problem of resource management will be studied to provide safe, environmentally friendly and socially benign methods of resource extraction and waste disposal.

In each section, emphasis will be given to the policy relevance of topics covered, including our ability to measure sustainability, develop lower-risk strategic plans and integrate technical concepts into planning and design.

Course Material

Required Course Materials

  •  ???s

Additional Materials

  • Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (Paperback)by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, 2002.
  • Assorted Journal Papers will be referenced in class and made available here

Course Organization

The course will be broken up into four main components taught by an expert in the sub-field of Applied Sustainability (energy, policy, water, and resources). Lectures will concentrate on the presentation of theory with some simple examples. There will be a project for each of the sub-fields.

Course website:

Course Marking:

Projects Percent
CMAS801 Sustainable Energy Project 25
CMAS801 Energy Policy Project 25
CMAS801 Sustainable Water Project 25
CMAS801 Sustainable Resource Project 25
Total 100

Late Penalty:

  • Deduct 10% per day, up to 5 working days, then 0 mark. Only exception is for documented illness – Reg. 5d) – missed projects are penalized by the negative square of the percent total.

Policy on Academic Dishonesty – Plagiarism:


Schedule (by week)

  1. Energy 1
    1. Introduction to course, What is applied sustainability?, Open Source Energy Development by the DOE, Sustainable Energy Project Assigned
    2. The Sustainable Energy Challenge
  2. Energy 2
  3. Energy 3
  4. Policy 1
  5. Policy 2
  6. Policy 3
  7. Water 1
  8. Water 2
  9. Water 3
  10. Resources 1
  11. Resources 2
  12. Resources 3

Additional Resources


Energy Related Journals