PhD course: Circular economy and the built environment

Governments and organizations around the world are encouraging the transition to the circular economy with measures to cut resource use and reduce waste to make the economy more sustainable and stimulate green growth. The transition is one of the most pertinent, yet difficult, societal grand challenges we face, as it involves major changes in existing patterns of supply, demand, and allocation of resources. This challenge is particularly difficult to meet in the construction industry, as its highly fragmented nature poses a barrier to the common, long-term pursuit of green targets and the diffusion of new approaches that focus on the sustainable supply, demand, and allocation of finite resources. Construction and the built environment are responsible for large share of carbon emissions in the world and is moreover a major contributor to environmental degradation due to its consumption of non-renewable resources, generating nearly 40% of all waste produced, 40% of all resource consumption and being responsible for 40% of global GHG emissions. Approaches to embed circular principles throughout the industry by reducing, reusing, recycling and rethinking waste and resources therefore play a key role in the sustainable transformation of the industry. This process is partly driven by European legislation and initiatives. In the Circular Economy Action Plan, the EU has drawn up guidelines for how to achieve the transition, and the European Green Deal specifically addresses the role of the construction industry, highlighting the need for stimulating the development of markets for circular products and developing cross-sector structures that bring together private and public sectors. Yet, numerous obstacles discourage or inhibit the fulfilment of these ambitions of ‘greening’ the built environment.

Aim and learning objectives

This course introduces and familiarizes participants to a set of analytical perspectives, which can be used to understand the circular economy in context of the built environment. The core idea of the course is to give the participants a systemic and socio-technical perspective on the circular economy and provide an opportunity to engage in cross- and interdisciplinary discussions of contemporary research and concepts within this field. After the course the participants are expected to be able to:

  • Define and apply primary principles of circular economy in a building context
  • Account for sociotechnical perspectives on circularity and sustainable production and consumption
  • Critically analyze and assess aspects of contemporary rationalities, practices, policies, and market mechanisms for circular construction
  • Apply theoretical tools to own projects
  • Discuss and critically assess suggestions for the transition to the circular economy and their viability
  • Apply life cycle thinking to own projects and understand the value of applying material flow analysis (MFA), and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to projects.

Description:
Due to climate change, more stringent building energy standards are enforced to reduce building primary energy use. This causes a shift towards the use of more advanced and complex heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in buildings, which often include renewable energy sources.

Building energy simulation programs are powerful tools that have been increasingly used by engineers and researchers for the design, analysis and optimization of HVAC systems in buildings. However, today’s programs have difficulties to handle the challenges posed by the complexity of future HVAC systems.

This course aims to present latest developments in modeling and simulation of HVAC systems based on Modelica modeling language. Modelica is a promising open-source language that features ease of use, visual design of models with combination of Lego-like predefined blocks, ability to define model libraries with reusable components, and support for modeling and simulation of complex applications involving parts from different engineering domains.

The course is organized in three days. In the first day, the course gives a basic introduction of Modelica fundamentals by introducing object-oriented and equation-based modeling. In the second day, the concepts previously learnt are used to develop a model of a simple house with a radiator heating system. In the third day, a more advanced Modelica model consisting of an air-conditioning system for office buildings is developed.

Day 1: Introduction to Modelica and Dymola

• What is Modelica?

• Dymola software tool

• Basics of the Modelica modeling language

• Object-oriented and equation-based formulation

• Modelica libraries

Day 2: Hands-on training 1: Simple house with radiator heating system

• Solving 1D transient heat conduction

• Creating a single-room model

• Building envelope modeling

• Radiator heating system and controller

Day 3: Hands-on training 2: Air-conditioning system for office buildings

• Creating an office building model

• Developing a constant air volume ventilation system

• Heating and cooling generation and distribution (incl. renewable energies)

• Discussion of simulation results

Organizer: Alireza Afshari, Professor (Aalborg University)

Lecturers:
Alessandro Maccarini, Assistant Professor (Aalborg University)

ECTS: 3.0

Time: 2, 3 and 4 November 2022

Place: Aalborg University (Copenhagen campus). Online participation will be available.

Number of seats: 18

Deadline: 11 October 2022

Important information concerning PhD courses:
We have over some time experienced problems with no-show for both project and general courses. It has now reached a point where we are forced to take action. Therefore, the Doctoral School has decided to introduce a no-show fee of DKK 3.000 for each course where the student does not show up. Cancellations are accepted no later than 2 weeks before start of the course. Registered illness is of course an acceptable reason for not showing up on those days. Furthermore, all courses open for registration approximately four months before start. This can hopefully also provide new students a chance to register for courses during the year.
We look forward to your registrations.

Description:
The main objective of this course is to train each participant to the numerical and experimental modelling and control of Wave Energy Converters (WECs). The following topics will be taught:

• The State of the Art of wave energy conversion techniques

• The State of the Art of numerical modelling of WECs, the limitations and the alternative numerical approaches

• The State of the Art of experimental model-ling of WECs, the limitations

• The State of the Art of control of WECs

By the end of the course, the participants will have carried out the following tasks:

• Wave measurement and generation in wave tank

• Numerical investigation of the performance of a WEC

• Experimental investigation of the performance of a WEC with and without control

Organizer: Francesco Ferri

Lecturers: Francesco Ferri, Morten Kramer

ECTS: 6.0

Time: September 2022, 2 consecutive weeks

Place: Aalborg, Department of the Built Environment

Number of seats: 24

Deadline: 15 August 2022

Important information concerning PhD courses:
We have over some time experienced problems with no-show for both project and general courses. It has now reached a point where we are forced to take action. Therefore, the Doctoral School has decided to introduce a no-show fee of DKK 3.000 for each course where the student does not show up. Cancellations are accepted no later than 2 weeks before start of the course. Registered illness is of course an acceptable reason for not showing up on those days. Furthermore, all courses open for registration approximately four months before start. This can hopefully also provide new students a chance to register for courses during the year.
We look forward to your registrations.


Description:
This PhD course addresses the theory of sampling, sample preparation and state-of-the-art analytical techniques to analyze microplastics in environmental matrices. Furthermore, you will be provided expert insights into various aspects of interdisciplinary microplastic research.

The course will start with the principles of techniques for sampling of microplastics and with the principles of clean-up of such samples. We will discuss the steps needed in cleaning up samples for natural organic and inorganic matter, as well as getting samples ready for subsequent identification. We will cover approaches and issues for QA/QC of your analysis, here amongst field blanks, laboratory blanks, recovery studies, and what are appropriate sample sizes to obtain statistically robust data.

From here, the focus shifts towards some theory on suitable techniques for microplastics quantification. We will cover the most commonly applied techniques, namely ATR-FTIR and µFTIR imaging – the combination of light microscopy with spectral images generated by Focal Plane Array (FPA) or linear array-based instruments to a particle assembly. The second commonly used spectroscopic method, Raman, is also covered. We address Raman spectroscopy and its application for automated particle selection for faster mapping. The last family of covered techniques are thermal degradation techniques, where we focus on pyrolysis GC-MS as the most commonly used technique. The last step in microplastics research is the interpretation of the obtained data. We provide our solution for it in the software siMPle, which is used for (semi-)automated µFTIR imaging and Raman imaging data interpretation. You will be taught how it works and will get first-hand experience during our practice session. Furthermore, international experts in the field will provide information on, e.g., transport and processes, ecotoxicity, and governance framework for microplastics.

Organizer: Claudia Lorenz, Fan Liu, Alvise Vianello, Jes Vollertsen

Lecturers: TBA

ECTS: 3.0

Time: Several lectures in October-November 2022

Place: Online

Number of seats: 50

Deadline: TBA

Important information concerning PhD courses:
We have over some time experienced problems with no-show for both project and general courses. It has now reached a point where we are forced to take action. Therefore, the Doctoral School has decided to introduce a no-show fee of DKK 3.000 for each course where the student does not show up. Cancellations are accepted no later than 2 weeks before start of the course. Registered illness is of course an acceptable reason for not showing up on those days. Furthermore, all courses open for registration approximately four months before start. This can hopefully also provide new students a chance to register for courses during the year.
We look forward to your registrations.


Description:
Buildings are built for a particular purpose, such as living, working or teaching. Regardless of the type of building, the primary objective is always to ensure an indoor environment of the quality required for the users. Despite the straightforward motivation for creating an indoor environment, the processes of designing, constructing, operating, commissioning, and maintaining indoor environments for people are complex, with numerous factors affecting user well-being. This course introduces the field of indoor environmental quality from a holistic and multidisciplinary perspective that includes thermal, visual, acoustic, and atmospheric (IAQ) indoor environment.

Indoor environment in buildings is a well-established multidisciplinary research field involving engineering, anthropology, sociology, psychology, biology, microbiology, medicine, chemistry, physics, philosophy (/aesthetics) and more. As such, no single scientific field or organisation can successfully address and integrate all aspects for providing a satisfactory indoor environmental quality. Some of this expertise has been incorporated into building codes, and the regulating bodies have come a long way in ensuring quality in indoor environments (in new constructions).

Meanwhile, there is still much to learn about newly identified parameters and potential interactions between established parameters. Even though many indoor environmental challenges are interrelated, current practice considers these challenges individually and separately. This course is built on the understanding that the future of indoor environmental quality as a scientific field could benefit significantly from an increased appreciation for its complexity and multidisciplinary nature.

Course format:
The course consists of five modules exploring a particular aspect of indoor environmental quality. Each module has several lectures given by presenters who are experts in their respective fields. The broad perspective of the lectures will serve as examples to attest to the complex and multidisciplinary nature of the field. Each module will also introduce dilemmas, common misconceptions (‘myths’) and questions from the participants, which will be treated through guided group discussions. Finally, the course will introduce exercises and tools to help participants apply multidisciplinary considerations in their everyday work designing, constructing and maintaining indoor environments.

 

Day 1 – Topics: [Multidisciplinary] [Wellbeing] [Comfort] [Perception] [Behavior]

09:00                   Introduction

09:30                   Module 1 (Holistic IEQ, Wellbeing and positive IEQ)

12:00                   Lunch

12:30                   Brief participant presentations

13:00                   Module 2 (Occupant Perception, Comfort, Behavior)

16:00


Day 2 – Topics: [IEQ Health] [Indicators] [Health risks] [Field measurements]

09:00                  Brief participant presentations

09:30                   Module 3 (Health impacts and ‘DALY’)

12:30                   Lunch

13:00                   Module 4 (Expert Insights: IEQ health risks)

16:00

19:00                   Optional: Social dinner

 

Day 3 – Topics: [Holistic Assessment Methods] [Screening Tools] [Decision support]

09:00                   Module 5 (Exercises, Tools, Decision making, Design compromises, Criteria weights)

12:00                   Lunch

13:00                   Closing comments and discussions

14:00  


Organizer: Professor Alireza Afshari – aaf@build.aau.dk 

Lecturers:
Lasse Rohde, Postdoc, Aalborg University
 
Henrik N. Knudsen, Senior researcher, Aalborg University
 
Niss Skov Nielsen, Researcher, Aalborg University
 

ECTS: 3.0

Time: September 28-30, 2022

Place: Aalborg University – Copenhagen campus

Number of seats: 14

Deadline: September 7, 2022

Important information concerning PhD courses:
We have over some time experienced problems with no-show for both project and general courses. It has now reached a point where we are forced to take action. Therefore, the Doctoral School has decided to introduce a no-show fee of DKK 3.000 for each course where the student does not show up. Cancellations are accepted no later than 2 weeks before start of the course. Registered illness is of course an acceptable reason for not showing up on those days. Furthermore, all courses open for registration approximately four months before start. This can hopefully also provide new students a chance to register for courses during the year.
We look forward to your registrations.


Description:
Analyzing microplastics requires thorough knowledge on analytical techniques and approaches, but also a deep understanding of how things are done in practice in the field and the lab. This PhD course focuses on the hands-on part of the work.

The course will start with a short introduction to selected sampling methods, after which we go sampling. The participants will collect a marine or freshwater sample by means of filtering devices or nets, and sample marine or freshwater sediments by grabs or corers. The samples are taken to the lab and analysis begins. As microplastics analysis takes many weeks per sample, we supplement the analysis of the sample you have collected with pre-prepared samples – a cooking show approach. After having prepared the samples, you will get hands-on on FTIR analysis of large and small particles (ATR-FTIR and µFTIR imaging, respectively). The course will be concluded by interpreting the obtained data. We provide our solution for it in the software siMPle, which is used for (semi-)automated µFTIR imaging and Raman imaging data interpretation. You will be taught how it works and will get first-hand experience during our practice session. 

Prerequisites: This course requires that you document the necessary theoretical background. For example by having attained the PhD course “Microplastic Research with focus on Analytical Methods for Microplastic Quantification (2022)” also held at Aalborg University, attained one of the previous year’s courses on microplastics analysis at Aalborg University, or similar activities and backgrounds.

Organizer: Claudia Lorenz, Fan Liu, Alvise Vianello, Jes Vollertsen

Lecturers: TBA

ECTS:

Time: One full week in November 2022

Place: Section of Civil Engineering, BUILD, Aalborg University, Thomas Manns Vej 23, 9220 Aalborg Øst, Denmark

Number of seats: 15

Deadline: 17 October 2022

Important information concerning PhD courses:
We have over some time experienced problems with no-show for both project and general courses. It has now reached a point where we are forced to take action. Therefore, the Doctoral School has decided to introduce a no-show fee of DKK 3.000 for each course where the student does not show up. Cancellations are accepted no later than 2 weeks before start of the course. Registered illness is of course an acceptable reason for not showing up on those days. Furthermore, all courses open for registration approximately four months before start. This can hopefully also provide new students a chance to register for courses during the year.
We look forward to your registrations.

Description:
Despite extensive research and successful implementation of advanced control techniques, like MPC, in other fields, the application of such techniques is still limited in practice in building services engineering. One of the reasons seems to be the lack of knowledge among building service engineers about advanced control methods.
There is a growing need for multidisciplinary education on advanced control methods in the built environment.

Buildings use a large share of total energy use around 35–40% in many countries. In Denmark, buildings account for 40% of the Danish energy use. Building energy-related activities are responsible for the 19% of GHG emissions worldwide. Therefore, it is motivated to investigate the energy saving potential in the building sector. Advanced building control can considerably reduce building energy use. For instance, numerous studies reported that advanced HVAC control can notably reduce energy use and mitigate GHG emissions with average energy savings of 13% to 28%.

The most popular advanced building control solution among the scientific community is Model Predictive Control (MPC) due its proven ability to handle constraints while optimizing the system performance. MPC on the supervisory level can be designed to find energy-efficient or cost-efficient control settings for the local controllers, taking into account the system level characteristics, interactions and comfort constraints. MPC combines building modelling, measurement, disturbance forecasting as well as information from external sources in the optimization formulation in order to find optimal control settings.

Organizer: Alireza Afshari

Lecturers: Samira Rahnama, Hicham Johra

ECTS: 3.0

Time: November 2022

Place: TBA

Number of seats: 20

Deadline: 11 October 2022

Important information concerning PhD courses:
We have over some time experienced problems with no-show for both project and general courses. It has now reached a point where we are forced to take action. Therefore, the Doctoral School has decided to introduce a no-show fee of DKK 3.000 for each course where the student does not show up. Cancellations are accepted no later than 2 weeks before start of the course. Registered illness is of course an acceptable reason for not showing up on those days. Furthermore, all courses open for registration approximately four months before start. This can hopefully also provide new students a chance to register for courses during the year.
We look forward to your registrations.