Course Syllabus

Engineering Sustainable Environments in Scandinavia

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Sustainability Energy Tree - Free image on Pixabay

Semester & Location:

Fall 2021- DIS Stockholm

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Core Course Study Tours:

Sweden, Iceland

Major Disciplines:

Engineering, Environmental Science


Two mathematics courses, four courses in basic science (biology, chemistry, physics), and one engineering course (or equivalent), at the university level.

Faculty Members:

Khaldoon A. Mourad, Ph.D. 

Program Director:

Natalia Landázuri Sáenz, Ph.D. - Interim Program Director

Time & Place:

Mondays 14:50-17:45 (see course description for more details);

DIS building (Room nr. 1E-508)

Course Description

This engineering course explores the development of tools and technologies to protect and restore environmental systems sustainably, using contemporary Scandinavian/Nordic case studies. We assess local environmental impacts of human activities relating to water consumption, waste production, transportation, energy, air quality, heat, and urban ecosystems, applying methods, techniques and modelling to describe, quantify, and solve environmental problems through collaborative engineering solutions. The course is analytical and experiential, with course-integrated travel throughout the Nordic region, and hands-on projects with real-world applications.

This course covers the following modules:

Module 1: Sustainable Development and Sustainable Engineering

  •  Introduction to sustainability and SDGs
  •  Sustainable Engineering: Concepts, Principles, and Frameworks

Module 2: Sustainable Water Management

  • Water resources, demands, distribution and use
  • Water quality & wastewater treatment
  • The Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Module 3: Sustainable solid waste management 

  • Solid-waste sources, characterization, collection and storage
  • Design a future without waste 

Module 4: Air Pollution  

  • Characteristics, sources and concentrations of air pollutants
  • Emissions assessment and control

Module 5: Climate change and global warming

  • Greenhouse Gases and climate change
  • Climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation measures 

Module 6: Renewable Energy and Energy in Buildings

  • The built environment & sustainable buildings
  • Solar heating and cooling systems
  • Solar  systems

 Module 7: Sustainability Assessment and Environmental Economics

  •  Sustainability Assessment
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Environmental economics & Cost-Benefit Analysis

Module 8: Communication and Engagement

  • Communication and stakeholders’ engagement
  • Final project: application of engineering principles to help address a grand challenge

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to: 

  • Understand the role of engineers in sustainability science and in sustainable development
  • Evaluate engineering decisions against the guiding principles for sustainability and measure their sustainability  level
  • Identify and assess challenges and opportunities of different water resources, utility and treatment of water to meet sustainability
  • Understand and assess specific health, economic, and environmental impacts of air pollutants on the ambient and indoor environments
  • Understand issues associated with the design and operation of sustainable solid-waste systems with a focus on recycling, composting, and circular economy
  • Estimate and explain the impact of climate change and greenhouse emissions on global warming
  • Explore the basic linkages between economy and environment, and perform a Cost-Benefit Analysis for an engineering solution
  • Explain the principles of efficient, healthy, and resilient cities taking into account issues associated with renewable energy and smart buildings



Khaldoon A. Mourad.png  Khaldoon A. Mourad, PhD

Ph.D. (Water Engineering, Lund University, Sweden 2012), M.Sc. (IWRM, Cologne University of Applied Science, 2009), M.Sc. (Water Resources and Environment, Jordan University of Science & Technology, 2004), B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Damascus University 1997. Senior researcher at Lund University (2015-2019). External lecturer & supervisor at the Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (PAUWES), Algeria. Has developed courses in Policy Influencing & Conflict Management, Water Economics, Law & Policy of Water Quality & Sanitation, Law & Policy of Water for Agriculture. Consultant at the Centre for Sustainable Visions, Sweden. Has worked in multiple countries, including Sweden, Germany, Jordan, Algeria, Somalia and Syria. Has published more than 35 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals covering the following thematic areas: 1) Water Resources & Climate Change; 2) Community Engagement; 3) Land Use; 4) Post-Conflict Development; 5)  The Sustainability of WASH Services; 6) Sustainable Agriculture and 7) Flood Management.


Textbook 1:

 Introduction to Sustainability for Engineers. (2020).  By Ramjeawon, T. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Florida (2020). DOI: 

Textbook 2:

Environmental Engineering for the 21st Century: Addressing Grand Challenges, by National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine, National Academy of Engineering, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Division on Earth and Life Studies, Water Science and Technology Board, Ocean Studies Board, NAE Office of Programs, Board on Life Sciences, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

Textbook 4:

  • Chapter 8, pp: 141-164

Field Studies

You will participate in two course-integrated field studies in Stockholm, to learn about Swedish approaches within environmental engineering. Field studies may include (these are examples):

  • A visit to a research laboratory within Kungliga Tekniska Hösgkolan (KTH), Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering (SEED)
  • A visit to Biomedicum, a Stockholm-based research building that incorporates plant-covered walls and green spaces as an integral part of its architecture.
  • Stockholm Royal Seaport, with over 12,000 new homes and 35,000 new workplaces, is one of the largest projects in Northern Europe and one of the city's prime examples of sustainable urban development, guided by environmental considerations.

Guest Lecturer

  Asterios Papageorgiou.png     Asterios Papageorgiou

Licentiate of Engineering (Industrial Ecology, KTH, Sweden 2021), M.Sc. (SustainableTechnology, KTH, 2018), M.Sc. (Sustainable Waste Management, Leeds University, UK, 2006). Research engineer at KTH (2018-2021). Has taught the following courses: Cleaner Production and Industrial Environmental Technology, Introduction to Industrial Ecology, Life Cycle Assessment and Waste Management. Has published 7 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and one book chapter covering the following thematic areas: 1) Waste management & climate change; 2) Urban metabolism; 3) Climate change impact of solar microgrids; 4) Biochar-based systems.

Approach to Teaching

Classes contain a mixture of lecture-based teaching, discussions, critical analysis of readings and research, group exercises, and group projects. You are expected to engage actively in classroom discussions, oral presentations, and group work. In addition, you will participate in local field studies and extended course-integrated study tours in northern Sweden (core course week), Iceland (long study tour). These visits give the opportunity to learn first-hand from academic and industry leaders, to visit labs, to speak with researchers about their cutting-edge work, and to better understand specific approaches of environmental engineering research necessary to create sustainable environments.

Core Course Week and Study Tours

Core course week and study tours are integral parts of the core course. The classroom is “on the road” and the theory presented in the classroom is applied in the field. Students will travel with classmates and DIS faculty/staff on two study tours: a short study tour to Lund (sorthern Sweden) during the core course week (from 13 to 17 September 2021) and a long study tour to relevant destinations in Iceland (from the 31st of October to the 5th  of November 2021). Students are expected to:

  • participate in all activities
  • engage in discussions, ask questions, and contribute to achieving the learning objectives
  • be respectful to the destination/location, the speakers, DIS staff, and fellow classmates
  • represent self, home university and DIS in a positive light

While on a program study tour, DIS will provide hostel/hotel accommodation, transportation to/from the destination(s), approx. 2 meals per day and entrances, guides, and visits relevant to your area of study or the destination. You will receive a more detailed itinerary prior to departure.

Travel policies: You are required to travel with your group to the destination. If you have to deviate from the group travel plans, you need approval from the program director and the study tours office.  

Expectations of the Students

  • Laptops may be used for note‐taking, fact‐checking, or assignments in the classroom, but only when indicated by the instructor. At all other times, laptops and electronic devices should be put away during class meetings.
  • Readings must be done prior to the class session. A considerable part of the course depends on class discussion and you are expected to have completed careful reading in advance.
  • You need to be present and participating to receive full credit. Your final grade will be affected by unexcused absences and a lack of active participation. The participation grade will be reduced by 10 points (over 100) for each unexcused absence. Remember to be in class on time!
  • You are expected to participate actively in class and during group work, and ask relevant questions in regards to the material covered.
  • Classroom etiquette includes being respectful of other opinions, listening to others and entering a dialogue in a constructive manner.



  • Class attendance
  • Level of preparation (reading/viewing material in advance) and ability to answer questions asked in class
  • Involvement in class and group discussions
  • Level of individual research and contribution to fruitful discussions


In class, closed-book tests are used to evaluate your knowledge and understanding of the material covered in class.

  1. Midterm exam (Monday, 18 October 2021)-TBC
  2. Final exam (Monday, 6 December 2021)-TBC


  • Study Tour Assignment:
    • Generate questions to be asked during academic visits of the Study Tour
    • Preparation and presentation of group work based on academic visits
  • Graded surveys in preparation for class
  • Quizzes

Case Studies:

  • A written report and oral presentation of case study analysis

Final Project:

  • A written report of the proposal where you utilize engineering principles to propose innovative tools, technologies or strategies to help address a grand challenge in environmental engineering (refer to reading material) and support the development of sustainable environments.
  • Presentation of the proposal for an open public during the final academic showcase held at the end of the term, on Monday, 13 December 2021.


Participation 10%
Midterm Exam 20%
Final Exam 20%
Assignments  10%
Case studies 10%
Final Project report 20%
Final Presentation/poster 10%

Course Sessions

Session 1:

Date: 30.08.2021 (14:50-16.10)

Subject: Introduction to sustainability (and to the course)


  • Textbook 1, Chapter 1
  • Optional: Textbook 3, Chapter 1

Learning outcome: To introduce the course and to be familiar with the role of engineers in sustainable development.

Session 2:

Date:  30.08.2021 (16.25-17.45)

Subject: Sustainable Engineering: Concepts, Principles, and Frameworks


  • Textbook 1, Chapter 2.

Learning outcome: To be able to set choices and engineering decisions against the guiding principles for sustainability.

Session 3:

Date: 09.09.2021 (14:50-16.10)

Subject: Water resources, demands, distribution, and use.


Learning outcome: To be able to identify and assess challenges and opportunities of different water resources and uses to meet sustainability.

Session 4:

Date:  09.09.2021 (16.25-17.45)

Subject: Water quality & wastewater treatment


  • Textbook 3: Chapter 9 (9.1-9.14)

Learning outcome: To identify the different characteristics of untreated water and to understand wastewater treatment processes.

Session 5:

Date: 17.09.2021 (14:10-15.20)

Subject: The Water-Energy-Food Nexus


  • Textbook 2: Chapter 1; PP 8-25

Learning outcome: To be able to link water scarcity, energy use, and food security for a sustainable future.

Session 6:

Date: 20.09.2021 (14:50-16.10)

Subject: Solid-waste sources, characterization, collection, and storage


Learning outcome: To learn about solid-waste characterization and understand issues associated with the design and operation of solid waste systems.

Session 7:

Date: 20.09.2021 (16.25-17.45)

Subject: Design a future without  waste


Learning outcome: To be able to suggest and describe suitable solutions (e.g. recycling, composting) for sustainable waste management and to understand the concept of the circular economy.


Session 8:

Date: 30.09.2021 (16.35-17.45)

Subject: Characteristics, sources and concentrations of air pollutants


Learning outcome: To understand the associated specific health, economic, and environmental impacts of air pollutants in the ambient and indoor environments and to be able to identify the Six Criteria Air Pollutants.

Session 9:

Date:  4.10.2021 (14:50-16.10)

Subject: Emissions assessment and control


Learning outcome: To be able to estimate air emissions and to apply different pollution control technologies.

Session 10:

Date:  21.10.2021 (16.25-17.45)

Subject: Greenhouse Gases and climate change


Learning outcome: To be able to identify the impacts of greenhouse gases on the atmosphere and their relation to global warming.

Session 11:

Date: 21.10.2021  (14:50-16.10)

Subject: Climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation measures.


  • Textbook 2, Chapter 2; PP 26-43.

Learning outcome: to understand climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation measures

Session 12:

Date:   8.11.2021 (14:50-16.10)

Subject: Solar heating and cooling systems


  • Textbook 4, Chapter 5

Learning outcome: To understand and identify possible uses of solar energy in heating and cooling systems.

Session 13:

Date:  11.11.2021 (16.25-17.45)

Subject: Clean energy transition in Scandinavia, the experience of Sweden


Learning outcome: To understand the design of wind energy systems and clean district heating systems.


Session 14:

Date:  15.11.2021 (14:50-16.10)

Subject: The built environment & sustainable buildings


  • Textbook 2; Chapter 4; PP 54-65

Learning outcome: To understand the principles of efficient, healthy, and resilient cities. 

Session 15:

Date:  15.11.2021 (16.25-17.45)

Subject:  Sustainability Assessment


Learning outcome: To be able to measure the level of sustainability of an engineering decision.

Session 16:

Date:  22.11.2021 (14:50-16.10)

Subject:  Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)


  • LCA
  • Optional: Textbook 1, Chapter 4 

Learning outcome: to be able to perform the LCA for selected engineering solutions.

Session 17:

Date:  22.11.2021 (16.25-17.45)

Subject: Environmental economics & Cost-Benefit Analysis


Learning outcome: To be able to explore the basic linkages between the economy and the environment, and to perform a Cost-Benefit Analysis for an engineering decision.

Session 18:

Date:   06.12.2021 (14:50-16.10)

Subject: Communication and stakeholders’ engagement


  • Textbook 2; Chapter 5; PP 66-77

Learning outcome: To understand the fundamentals of stakeholders’ engagement in creating sustainable solutions.

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 



DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Course Summary:

Date Details Due