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Sustainability in the Building Sector

Course code
Course type
BSc Course
Weekly Hours
FS 2022
Juniorprof. Dr. Nicole Gottschalck
Please note that exchange students obtain a higher number of credits in the BSc-program at WHU than listed here. For further information please contact directly the International Relations Office.

What do we actually mean when we talk about "sustainability"? What kind of understanding of the relationship between society, economy, and the environment is the concept of sustainability based on? What is the idea of a circular economy all about?

These and other questions will be discussed in your course on Sustainability in the Building Sector. We will look at sustainability issues in the building industry from a holistic perspective, covering economic, social, and ecological aspects. A particular focus will be set on negative externalities in the value chain of the building industry and how they can be recognized and avoided.

The course comprises skills, methods, and concepts to consider different approaches towards sustainability, to understand them, and to align them for reaching sustainable solutions. Such competencies are indispensable in every building, construction, and real estate project that takes energy efficiency and other sustainability criteria as balancing economic, social, ecological, and cultural aspects in responsibility for future generations into account.

These competencies are not limited to the building sector though, as the things we will discuss about in class and the concepts, frameworks and skills that you will acquire are applicable to other industrial contexts, too. Therefore, this course will help you to prepare for today’s careers in green building and sustainability industries.

This taught in a lab format. Students are expected to interact, ask questions and comment on the research findings presented.

In the first lecture of the course, I will give an introduction to sustainability issues and a glance at the building sector. I will cover the questions: (1) Why are we bothered with sustainability (in the building sector)? (2) What are the industries special circumstances? (3) What are the Hidden Costs of this industry?

I will approach these questions from a philosophical and applied (case based) perspective.

Students will then choose a topic for their video project (65% of the grade), in which they are required to spotlight hidden costs in the building sector.

In an applied case study (35% of the grade), students will dive deeper into sustainability issues in the circular economy.

Date Time
Wednesday, 19.01.2022 15:30 - 18:45
Thursday, 20.01.2022 08:00 - 11:15
Thursday, 03.02.2022 15:30 - 18:45
Friday, 04.02.2022 08:00 - 11:15
Tuesday, 15.02.2022 15:30 - 18:45
Wednesday, 16.02.2022 08:00 - 11:15
All relevant literature (scientific or practitioner articles) will be provided as mandatory or voluntary readings during the course via Moodle to help you deepen your knowledge on the topics discussed in class.
  • Lecturing
  • Case work
  • Group and individual work
  • Guest lectures
Your grade will be compiled of a case study (35%) and a video project (65%). You will work on both assignments in groups.
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