Industrial Ecology & Life Cycle Thinking

University of Queensland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Industrial Ecology & Life Cycle Thinking

  • Host University

    University of Queensland

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Ecology, Environmental Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Recommended Prerequisite


  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description
    The production and consumption of goods and services is central to many of the sustainability related problems currently faced by human society. This course introduces students to the theories and applications of industrial ecology and environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) in natural sciences, engineering, business economic and government policy decision situations. Students will do problem sets, learn how to use LCA software models & tools, review cases and conduct an LCA project such as environmental life cycle assessment of industrial products and systems (e.g. food systems, mining and minerals, renewable energy technologies).
    Course Introduction
    In conjunction with transitioning towards a resource efficient and circular economy, Industrial Ecology (IE), the newly formed ?Science of Sustainability?, has a primary mission to improve the resource efficiency and environmental sustainability of current industrial and urban systems. If certain waste materials cannot be recycled but have to be released into the environment, we may be able to redesign industrial and urban processes and systems in such a way to assure that wastes are compatible with the absorption capacity of the receiving ecosystem and therefore cause only minimal environmental disturbance. This course discusses how IE serves as an environmentally related framework for technology, policy, and resource management in goverment and society.
    Most of the lectures will focus on developing mastery of Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Thinking with respect to ISO 14001 standards. Students will gain skills in applying LCA and other methods in industrial ecology. LCA is an important assessment tool used for sustainable consumption and production. Students will gain in-depth understanding life cycle thinking methods for analysing and evaluating environmental impacts of products and services throughout their life cycles.
    Learning Objectives
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    • Describe and apply the basic concepts and principles of life cycle thinking and industrial ecology;
    • Conduct environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) of any product systems;
    • Analyse and evaluate critical resource consumptions and environmental emissions (hotspots) over product supply chains;
    • Apply statistical and quantitative methods (when necessary) for industrial ecology and life cycle thinking results;
    • Use databases (e.g. EcoInvent) and software packages (e.g. Excel, CMLCA, Simapro) for analysis, evaluation and interpretation of results from LCA, MFA and other industrial ecology methods;
    • Prepare LCA reports to communicate effectively to both technical and general audiences;
    • Prepare and deliver effective oral presentations related to LCA reports.
    Class Contact
    2 Lecture hours, 1 Practical or Laboratory hour
    Assessment Summary
    LCA Project Proposal: 5%
    Goal and Scope Definition: 5%
    Life Cycle Inventory Report: 10%
    Life Cycle Impact Assessment Report: 10%
    Final Report & Oral Presentation: 20%
    Participation: 10%
    Mid Semester Exam: 40%

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.