- NRE 513 – Competitive Environmental Strategy
- NRE 527 – Social Institutions for Energy Production
- NRE 550 – Systems Thinking for Sustainable Enterprise
- NRE 557 – Industrial Ecology
- NRE 565 – Institutions for Sustainabiltiy: Practice and Theory
- NRE 571 – Environmental Economics
- NRE 574 – Sustainable Energy Systems
- NRE 576 – Ecological Design Approaches to Brownfield Redevelopment
- NRE 583 – Intermediate Natural Resource Economics
- NRE 686 – Politics of Environmental Regulation
NRE 513 – Competitive Environmental Strategy
In the past 20 years, companies have been forced to comply with increasingly stringent environmental regulations. Over the next 20 years, they will be challenged to create entirely new strategies rooted in the concept of environmental sustainability. This course examines how competitive advantage can be secured through environmental management strategies such as environmental partnerships, pollution prevention, industrial ecology, life-cycle design, and product stewardship.
Instructor: Andy Hoffman
NRE 527 Social Institutions for Energy Production
Cross-listed with BE 527
Energy is the lifeblood of industrial economies, but also a key factor in environmental and national security problems. Because of the extensive externalities associated with energy use, balancing the benefits and costs of energy use is one of the major challenges facing humanity. This balancing act involves a range of social institutions that are supposed to align the incentives of businesses and individuals with the greater good of people and the planet. But do they really accomplish this goal? And can they cope with the massive increase in energy use expected in developing countries over the next two decades?
In most developed countries, the marketplace plays the predominant role in determining what energy sources are used, and how. But government policy plays an extremely important role, as well—governments at the local, state, regional, national, and international levels all mold aspects of energy policy. In addition, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of all sorts affect our energy choices, either by influencing government policy or influencing corporate behavior directly. In developing countries, government often controls most supplies of non-renewable energy resources, as well as the development of the infrastructure needed to exploit energy resources.
The goal of this course is to give you a solid grasp of the environmental and social impacts of, and the institutions that govern, energy use, so that you can play a more effective role in shaping future policy or business decisions. We will begin with basic scientific and technological facts regarding the major uses for and sources of energy. We will then study energy markets (including spot and futures markets), and what they are capable of accomplishing; we will also study the ways energy markets may fail. This will lead into an overview of the role of government in influencing energy decisions. We will begin with a high-level perspective, then work with a series of case studies that examine in depth what government has accomplished in the area of energy policy, and the types of issues facing business managers in the energy industries.
Prerequisites: Economic reasoning will be used throughout the course, and many readings will take an economic perspective. We will not be doing any complicated economic analysis, but it will be helpful if you have at least been exposed to intermediate economics, have some recollection of what “market failure” means, and are willing and able to read articles that present econometric analysis of data.
Instructor: Prof. Tom Lyon
Ross School of Business/ SNRE/ Erb Institute Director
E3613 Business Administration
NRE 550 – Systems Thinking for Sustainable Enterprise
Develops critical skills of systems thinking and systems dynamics modeling, applies them to challenges of global environmental and social change, and deduces implications for organizations operating globally.
NRE 557 – Industrial Ecology
Analysis of material and energy flows in industrial and ecological systems to enhance eco-efficiency and sustainability in meeting human needs. Methods: life cycle assessment quantifies energy, wastes and emissions for materials production, manufacturing, product use, and recovery/disposition; life cycle design integrates environmental, performance, economic, and policy/regulatory objectives. This interdisciplinary course also includes a series of industrial/municipal site assessments (one-credit optional).
NRE 565 – Institutions for Sustainability: Pratice and Theory
What would an economy, indeed a society, look like if the material security of its citizens and the ecological integrity of its resource base was a top priority? How would it organize itself, structure its industry, shape its consumption? How would a local-global culture operate if no party could solve its environmental problems by displacing costs onto others? What are the conditions in which humans tend not to increase their use of material and energy?
To answer questions like these, many people use terms like "sustainability" and "sustainable development." These terms are much debated, much used, and much abused. Some would even say they have lost all meaning.
This course addresses these questions and attempts to give meaning to sustainability, both in its implications for reversing trends in environmental degradation and for promoting policies that address long-term, ecological and social goals. It does this by developing a framework of analysis focusing on:
i. institutions, formal and informal rules and norms ranging from the local and regional to the international and global; and
ii. sustainability, issues of durable resource use, production and consumption, property, development, local-global interaction, trade, international cooperation, ethics and equity.
A major goal is to build analytic tools a policymaker, analyst, citizen activist or businessperson can use in a variety of environmental situations from the local to the global. The course encourages active student engagement with cases, discussions and simulations. Although the only prerequisite is graduate standing, students are expected to be familiar with the biophysical conditions driving global environmental trends.
NRE 571 – Environmental Economics
Cross-listed with ECON 571
Introduction to the economics of environmental policy. The first part of the course compares the four main policy measures used to regulate polluters, namely (1) imposing taxes on pollution, (2) setting standards on allowable emissions, (3) issuing tradeable pollution permits, and (4) holding polluters legally liable for environmental damages. Also, a new policy measure is discussed that has recently become popular, namely (5) simply making information about the pollution available to the public. These measures are compared in terms of their overall efficiency, the incentives for technological innovation that they provide, and their ease of enforcement. The second part of the course discusses why it is difficult to put a dollar figure on the benefits of environmental regulation, and how economic theory can be used to get around this problem. Finally, the third part of the course covers miscellaneous topics such as the economics of biodiversity, the environmental effects of trade and development, and the economics of global warming.
NRE 574 – Sustainable Energy Systems
Cross-listed with SNRE 574
This course examines the production and consumption of energy from a systems perspective. Sustainability challenges and opportunities are explored by addressing global and regional environmental impacts, energy economics, technology options, consumption patterns and energy policy. First, the physics of energy and energy accounting methods are introduced including basic thermodynamic efficiencies and life cycle efficiencies. Next, the current energy system that encompasses resource extraction, conversion processes and end-uses is covered. Topics on the supply side include fossil energy resources and electricity generation from fossil and nuclear fuels. The demand side covers residential and commercial buildings, industrial sector and transportation sectors including conservation and energy efficiency measures.
Responses to current challenges such as declining fossil fuels and climate change are then presented in the core section of the course. The emphasis here is on evaluating the resource potential, energy performance, environmental impacts and energy economics of renewable energy technologies: biofuels, biomass electricity, wind power, photovoltaics, geothermal, and marine energy. Other developments such as unconventional fossil fuels, carbon sequestration, and fuel cell technologies are also critically examined.
The final section of the course reviews the key environmental challenges related to the energy system including climate change and regional and local pollution. Energy and climate policy options needed to transform the current system are then discussed from international and national perspectives. This course combines readings, problem sets, in class discussion, and a term project to develop your skills and expertise in analyzing sustainable energy problems and solutions.
Instructor: Prof. Gregory Keoleian
School of Natural Resources and Environment/Co-Director Center for Sustainable Systems
3504 Dana Bldg.
NRE 576 – Ecological Design Approaches to Brownfield Redevelopment
Cross-listed with UP 576
Brownfield redevelopment is a rapidly evolving field in which a project’s success is dependent upon innovation and communication across many disciplines and professions – all linked by an aim to improve the environmental health and economic viability of contaminated sites. This course will draw on practicing experts to introduce students in these disciplines to the wide-ranging issues that must be integrated for sustainable brownfield redevelopment: law and public policy, public health, public perception,
environmental justice, environmental health, risk assessment, remediation, land planning, real estate finance and construction. Readings, lectures, a field trip, a charette, and a workshop critique of student work by visiting experts will allow students to gain a breadth of knowledge of factors that interact to affect the success of brownfield redevelopment. The course is structured to:
- Provide a comprehensive overview of issues and topics that affect brownfield redevelopment
- Enable students to contribute their own critical, interdisciplinary thinking to further evolution of
- Challenge students to invent mechanisms to promote and adapt ecological design approaches to the
particular challenges of remediation, redevelopment, and sustainable occupancy of formerly
Students in interdisciplinary teams will visit and make proposals for brownfield redevelopment of a case study site that is familiar to the practicing experts. They will also visit precedent brownfield redevelopments nearby. Using the case study site, students will define and develop their own interdisciplinary approaches to brownfield ecological design and implementation. The course emphasis will challenge students to think about what ecological design means in the context of real estate development, and how it can be most effective when it is applied to redeveloping disturbed and contaminated landscapes
in the context of urban neighborhoods.
The student interdisciplinary case study project will allow students to focus their team case study on some aspect of ecological design of brownfield redevelopment that is of particular interest to their team. Students will work with and receive critique from practitioners in several professions and disciplines who are familiar with the case study site.
Instructor: Joan Nassauer
NRE 583 – Intermediate Natural Resource Economics
The course will use economics to study contemporary issues in natural resources and environment. Topics covered include: land use and urban sprawl; water allocation and pricing in the American West; endangered species conservation; nonrenewable resource depletion; energy futures; management of stock pollutants; and global warming
Instructor: Prof. Michael Moore
Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
1576 Dana Building
NRE 686 – Politics of Environmental Regulation
Cross-listed with PUBPOL 563 and HMP 686
This course will consider the capacity of North American political institutions to shape effective environmental protection policies, devoting primary emphasis to the United States but also examining Canada and Mexico. It will consider all governmental levels but be particularly attentive to the evolving role of American state governments, including questions of cross-border governance and relations between the federal government and non-US authorities. Major topics will include the ongoing evolution of climate change policy, related issues such as renewable energy policy and the development of market-based policies, and regulatory integration integration across environmental media of air, land, and water.
Instructor: Barry Rabe