Topic: Environmental Principles and Systems
Groups: This is an assignment for groups of 4 students (some groups will have 3
students). Groups have been pre- selected randomly in Moodle.
Submission : Via Turnitin on Moodle under section Assignment 2 (Assignment 2 – Turnitin
submissio n > Submit Paper). One student per group to upload one single
document. See note on plagiarism below.
Maximum length: 12 pages (excluding summary, ToC and appendices)
Front cover declaration: Use the front cover provided and list names, student numbers and relative
contributions of all group members on the front page (see Assessment note
A. Calculate the full Carbon Footprint (C F) for each of your households (one household for each
student) under its current mode of operation (using the Excel workbook
‘ DEFRA_G HG_conversion_factors_2012.xlsx’). Express the result in tonnes of CO2
e per person
e/cap) (6 marks).
B. Comment on your CF s in comparison:
– with each other,
– with the average CF of the subur b your household is located in,
– with the Australian average CF,
– with the global average CF
– with the global average CF that is needed to keep global warming below 2º C.
Are your current consumption patterns sustainable (provide reasons)? What target footprint
should you set for your household (justify your target CF)? (5 marks).
C. Hypothetically alter your consumption patterns to minimise your C F to the maximum extent
possible. One ty pical household is sufficient here. Provide an explanation in point form of how the
reductions are made. Distinguish between technical changes and behavioural changes.
Recalculate the lower C F of the household. (6 marks).
D. Consult with other members of each of your households and describe their attitude to moving to
this changed consumption pattern (i.e. if there are 4 separate households in the group, then each
of the 4 students needs to interview their respective household). List the changes that you could
make, and describe why others may not have been acceptable to the households. (4 marks)
E. Describe means by which the Government may be able to change householder’s attitudes and
behaviour if they are resistant to altering their CF. (4 marks).
Assessment n ote:
Your report will be marked out of 25. Groups must nominate the relative amount of work contributed by
each member (m ust add up to 100%), e.g. Smith – 20%, Wang- 30%, Ali – 25%, Nghiem- 25%. Your final
mark out of 25: (Group mark) x (your fractional contrib ution) x 4 = y our mark. E. g. Smith: 22 x 0.20 x 4 =
17.6 (out of 25) . Each mark capped at 25/25. Contribution scores must be by unanimous agreement. If
this is not possible, please contact Tommy Wiedmann via email.
Groups of 3 students only require 19/25 to reach the maximum mark (the formula then being 19 x 0.33 x
4 = 25). This assumes that the (missing) fourth person would have contributed to further improving the
assignment and that a somewhat lower quality assignment will receive more marks for each stu dent
when it is a group of three. Feedback welcome.
Detailed instructions for Excel workbook ‘ DEFRA_GHG_conversion_factors_2012.xlsx’ :
Front page: Read information.
Introduction: Useful background information.
Annex 1: Enter the amount of fuels used by your household in one year (choose the most
appropriate unit, e.g. Table 1b) . Note that this table is only used for fuels used for heating
and cooking, but not for transport. Transport fuel emissions (e.g. from petrol for cars) are
calculated in Annex 6.
Annex 2: Not applicable to households. No need to fill in.
Annex 3: Read the information provided. However, do not enter data as these are the conversion
factors for UK electricity. Factors for electricity in Australia can be found in Annex 10.
Annex 4 : Not applicable to households. No need to fill in.
Annex 5 : Not applicable to households. No need to fill in.
Annex 6 : Enter the amount of fuels used by your household for transport in one year (choose the
most appropriate unit, e.g. Table 1b). Use eith er Table 6a or Tables 6b- 6j, depending on
the data from your household.
Annex 7 : Not applicable to households. No need to fill in.
Annex 8: This sheet is optional for this assignment . If you have the information for your domestic
refrigerator then fill i t in (otherwise leave blank).
Annex 9: Enter the amount of water used by your household in one year (under both water supply
and water treatment). For the purpose of this assignment do not enter any (bio)fuel data.
Annex 10: Enter the amount of electrici ty consumed by your household in one year. Make sure you
use the correct table!
Annex 11/ 12: Use for unit conversions if necessary.
Annex 13: Estimate the amount of $ spent by your household in one year on each of these 75
categories . Convert all $ value s into £ values (Great British Pounds) by using market
exchange rates (preferably for the year your data is from). Note: for some categories, e.g.
metal ores, there was probably no spending; enter 0 in these cases. Use the last
conversion table for 2009.
A nnex 14: Enter only data for waste disposal (Table 14b) but not for material consumption (Table
14a). Material consumption has been included already in Annex 13. Estimate all waste data
from your household in one year in tonnes and enter them in Table 14b.
• The average CF of the suburb your household is located in can be found here:
http://www.acfonline.org.au/consumptionatlas > select state and ‘Greenhouse Pollution’ (not ‘Eco -footprint’).
• The A ustralian average CF is 27 tonnes CO2e per person (t CO2e / cap ) ( Tukker et al., 2014)
• The global average CF is 5.7 t CO2e / cap ( Tukker et al., 2014)
• The global average CF that is needed to keep global warming below 2C has been estimated at 2
tonnes CO2e per person (18 to 25 Gt CO2e/year f or ca. 9.6 billion people by 2050 ; UNEP, 2012).
One report per group as one document uploaded on Turnitin. The main text must be at least in font size
11 and limited to 12 pages ( excluding summary, ToC and appendices). Results for each household must
be included in tabular form in the appendix to the report ( not counted in the 12 page limit). Copy and
paste calculation tables from the Excel spreadsheet (screen copies are acceptable as long as they are
clearly legible and labelled with captions).
All tables and graphs in your report must be labelled with captions!
Literature and other sources should be referenced using an appropriate academic referencing style
(Harvard, APA, etc.).
• All assignments and reports to be submitted via UNSW Moodle Turnitin.
• No hard copies . No emailed assignments . Only one document is allowed!
• Assignment due before midnight on due date. After midnight , it’s considered a late submission
• Penalties apply to assignments submitted after the due date. Penalty is set at 10% of the total m ark
for the a ssignment per week.
Reference material and readings on Carbon Footprints to provide additional background for the
assignment are indicated in the lecture notes and posted as reading m aterial on Moodle. Students are
encouraged to undertake their own research into carbon footprinting theory and practice.
This assignment uses the UK 2012 greenhouse gas conversion factors for company reporting from the
UK Government’s “Guidance for businesses on measuring and reporting their gr eenhouse gas
emissions”, see: https://www.gov.uk/measuring – and – reporting- environmental- impacts – guidance- for-businesses. More recent versions of the conversion factors
are available (see
http://www.ukconversionfactorscarbonsmart.co.uk), however, the 2012 Excel workbook was deemed the
most appropriate and easy to use version for this assignment . Currently, no Australian version of this
conversion factors spreadsheet is available.
Technical Report Style
This assignment, as with most assignments required in Engineering, should be written in the form of a
technical report, not an essay. The U NSW Learning Centre has a good online resource on writing a
technical report which is worth checking out: http://www.lc.unsw.edu.au/onlib/tech.html
For this assignment, I expect you to include:
• The Assignment 2 cover sheet provided on Moodle *
• A Title Page (optional)
• Executive Summary* (max . 1 /2 page)
• Table of Contents*
• Introduction (very brief in this case – 1 – 2 short paragraphs will do, e.g. just introduce the topic and
the overall aims of the repo rt)
• Main repor t body (with numbered headings and sub – headings as required) – this is where you
should answer each part of the assignment brief, addressing each part in a logical order.
• Conclusions (very brief in this case – approx. 1/2 page will do)
• References (see below)
• Appendices* (numbered Appendix A, Appendix B, etc.) – this should include all of your
calculation/result tables (e.g. for a 4- person group, 4 from Part A + 1 from Part C), and (at your
discretion) any other detailed information/calculatio ns as appropriate.
* Note: the Cover Sheet, Title Page, Executive Summary, Table of Contents and Appendi ces do not
count towards your 12- page limit.
Please number all pages (starting with the Introduction on page 1). This is usually done in a footer and
is easy to do automatically in MS Word or similar (you may need a ‘ section break’ after the To C).
Technical reports should be succinctly written, in Plain English, in an informative rather than a
verbose/descriptive style. For certain parts o f the report (e.g. the list of C F reductions in Part C, or the
last part of Part D), it may be more effective to use a bullet point list or table format rather than burying
those items in a lengthy paragraph.
The easier your report is for the marker to read and understand, the easier it is for us t o see that you’ve
done what we’ve asked for, and to give you marks for it.
In group work especially, it’s a good idea to nominate someone in the group to read over the whole
report before submission, to check spelling and grammar, and generally make sure that everything is
clearly expressed and ‘flows’ well from section to section. (Of course this means the rest of the group
needs to send that person their contributions in plenty of time for them to do this!)
Referencing and Plagiarism
If you use any external sources of information in your assignment (e.g. what is an average Australian CF
in Part B) I expect you to reference your source(s) using a recognised academic referencing convention.
This includes references to websites. In Engineering we usually use Harvard (or “Author, Date”) style
referencing. See the Learning Centre website for details (http://www.lc.unsw.edu.au/onlib/ref.html – one
especially good feature of that resource is its list of examples on how to refer to different types of
sources (articles, reports, websites etc.)).
Beware! An assignment that includes plagiarised material may receive a 0% Fail, and students who
plagiarise may fa il the course. As a university student you must make yourself aware of what constitutes
academic plagiarism. The scope of its definition may surprise you! Students who plagiarise are also
liable to disciplinary action, including exclusion from enrolment.
Plagiarism is the use of another person’s work or ideas as if they were your own. When it is necessary or
desirable to use other people’s material you should adequately acknowledge whose words or ideas they
are and where you found them (giving the complete reference details, including page number(s), as
This assignment uses Turnitin which automatically checks your submission against all other submissions
of this course or any other document in the University database (e.g. submissions from previous years)
and the internet! Don’t use material from other people, it will be dedected.
The UNSW Learning Centre provides further information on what constitutes plagiarism at:
Assessment Guidelines ( General Marking Criteria)
In general, assignments will be assessed as to whether they demonstrate:
• Ability to apply concepts to real situations, make reasonable assumptions in the face of incomplete
or unavailable data, justify a position (e.g. your target C F) – i.e. how well can you think logically, use
your initiative, etc. … like the engineers- in – training that you are!
• Evidence of understanding concepts. Numerical errors will not be heavily penalised (within reason!)
but errors based on a weak understanding of the analysis method will be marked down.
• Clarity of expression and attention to the focus of the assignment. This includes giving sufficient
context – e.g. in Part A it would be useful to briefly describe each household, to help me understand
your consumption patterns.
• Ability to structure the assignment logically, include everything that was asked, while keeping the
report to length. Check spelling and grammar.
• Presentation style: it is useful to the reader to present results in graphs and tables. However, these
need to be clearly labelled with captions and accompanying text is important to explain the graphs
and tables. Main results should be included in the main body of the text (within the 12 page limit);
detailed results can be moved to the Appendices.
• Explain your reasoning! Describe the reasons why you choose your target value and why you think
your household is sustainable or not. Discuss results, don’t just list them.
• Have all sources of information been cited appropriately?
The mark allocation between sections is indicated on the assignment brief and should be used as a
guideline on how to direct your efforts .
More specific marking criteria are deliberately not provided as the contents of your report should be
guided by your understanding, initiative, intuition , collaboration and creativity, and not by a prescribed
format. There are no simple right or wrong answers to this assignment.
This is supposed to be a learning experi ence, not a stressful one, so please ask questions. Some FAQ
and answers are listed below. I f you’re still not sure what’s required post your question on t he general
CVEN1701 Discussion Forum on Moodle – answers will only be given to all students and not during
weekends. Do not send me emails with questions about this assignment – they will not be
answered individually. (There is also a Private Group Discussion Forum for Assignment 2 but this is for
group internal discussions only – students outside of the group can’t see the posts).
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q. Part A asks us to “calculate the C F for each of your households” – does that mean that I have to
produce a spreadsheet per person in my house?
A. No, it means you prod uce one spreadsheet per household. So if you have 4 group members, each
member of the group does a spreadsheet for their own household (i.e. 4 spreadsheets in total for the
Q. For the spreadsheet, are the data to be completed in the blue fields r elating to per person or per
A . Per household data. You need to put in the total consumption per year for the entire household
(e.g. 20,000 km driven by car by your family per year ). Once you have completed everything divide the
compile the resulting GHG emissions in a summary table and divide the numbers by the number of
people in your household to arrive at a tonnes of CO
2 e per person (t CO2
e/cap) figure as requested.
Q. Do we consider the whole family even when we are calculating trans portation and clothing?
A. Yes, you need to consider the whole family when you calculate transport and clothing (and everything
else) when completing the spreadsheet s .
Q . For part B, does each of the group members do their own separate compariso ns, decide whether they
are sustainable, and set their own targets (and then report them each separately), or should we share
our results between group members and incorporate everyone’s work into one section of the report?
A. The group should work on it together, and it should be reported in a single, cohesive section of the
report. Do not just list each group member’s result/comparisons/targets separately.
Q . How do we know if our current consumption patterns are sustainable or not?
A. Your group needs to decide this for yourselves, based on your understanding of ‘sustainability’ from
the course or elsewhere. This is why you are asked to provide reasons.
Q . Is one target footprint enough for all of us, or should each group member set a target by him/h erself?
A. You may set one target for everyone, or different targets for different households – it’s up to you to
decide which is more appropriate. But you should work together to make sure you are consistent.
Q. My group and I have found conflicting resu lts in the literature for the average Australian/World Carbon
Footprint (CF). How do we choose which one to use?
A . Good on you for researching the literature. Use whichever one is most up to date, best referenced /
most credible source, and/or uses a sim ilar method to what you used. Make sure they are comparable
2 e is different from CO 2 ). It is fine , however, to just go with the data and references provided
earlier in this brief.
Q. In part B, do we only have to set a target value for the overall C F or should we set sub- targets for
each category as well?
A. Only a target for the overall CF is required.
Q. Part B asked us to compare the CF for each household. Should we do this based on absolute or
relative (percentage) results? And by category or just the total?
A. You can compare the consumption differences (i.e. fuels, transport, goods , waste etc) in whatever
way is most meaningful and interesting to you (and the reader). A reasonable level of detail provides
more information and understanding.
Q. If our group want to use bar charts or pie charts to show the comparison, should we put the charts in
the report or in the appendix?
A. In a report like this, we usually put charts in the report itself. Appendices are meant to include
additional detai ls (e.g. the spreadsheets). A good test is “Do I need/want the reader to look at this to
understand/appreciate what I’m saying?” – if so, it should go in the report itself. Don’t forget captions.
Q. Part C asks us to reduce CF to the maximum exte nt possible without placing any social or economic
constraints. But how hypothetical it can be?? Certainly, cutting out all food wouldn’t make sense.
A . Reducing your CF doesn’t mean eliminating everything (you can’t live without food, for example).
Consider making replacements rather than deletions (e.g. diet change) . Explain your thinking !
Q Part C asks us to “Hypothetically alter your consumption pattern to reduce CF” – do you mean that I
have to change the figures of the consumption in the spreadsheet and produce a new one with a new
value of CF?
A. Yes, you produce a new spreadsheet showing your hypothetically reduced consumption and CF. Your
group only needs to do this for one of your households.
Q. Part D asks us to consult other members and describe their attitude to moving to the changed
consumption pattern as described in part C. Are we supposed to merely list the attitude of each person
or write it into paragraph?
A. You may find a list or table format more efficient, and this is fine by me. Just make sure you answer
all parts of the question.
Q . If I am living by myself, do I skip part D?
A. If you live by yourself, you can still ‘consult’ yourself (i.e. which changes would you be happy to make,
and which ones not/why?). So no, you can’t just skip it.
Q . For part E, when describing what methods/policies/incentives/penalties could be introduced to change
attitude/behaviour, do we answer this part in our report individually or as a group collaboration?
A. This part should be done as a group (although you each individually need to consult your households
in the first part of Part D).
Q. The outline asks us to write Conclusions (very brief in this case – approx. 1/2 page will do). W hat are
we recommending on? Are we commenting on how good a tool the CF calculator is or are we
recommending different ways we can reduce our CF’s or are we meant to be recommending ways the
government can persuade individuals who are resistant to change?
A . I would suggest you briefly summarise (recommend) those changes that would make the biggest CF
reduction and elaborate on how acceptable (or not) they are to households and how easy they can be
implemented (or not) by Governments. Given all this, which one or two changes would you recommend
to people concerned about their CF? Okay to keep it brief.
Tukker, A., Bulavskaya, T., Giljum, S., Koning, A. d., Lutter, S., Simas, M., Stadler, K. and Wood, R.
(2014) The Global Resource Footprint of Nations – Carbon, water, land and materials embodied
in trade and final consumption calculated with EXIOBASE 2.1 . Report from the EU FP7 Project
CREE A. Leiden/Delft/Vienna/Trondheim. http://www.creea.eu/index.php/7- project/8 – creea -booklet
UNEP (2012) The emissions gap report 2012. United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya.
2012 Guidelines to Defra / DECC’s GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting
Produced by AEA for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
Key: Data fields:
light blue = Data entry field
purple = Fixed factors used in calculations
yellow = Calculation results
Scope 1 = Emissions fall into Scope 1 as defined by the GHG Protocol
Scope 2 = Emissions fall into Scope 2 as defined by the GHG Protocol
Scope 3 = Emissions fall into Scope 3 as defined by the GHG Protocol
All Scopes = All emissions from Scope 1 or 2 and Scope 3 as defined by the GHG Protocol
Outside of Scopes = Emissions fall outside of the Scopes 1,2 or 3 as defined by the GHG Protocol (e.g. direct emissions of CO2 from burning
Scope 1 OR Scope 3 = Emissions can fall into either Scope 1 or Scope 3 as defined by the GHG Protocol (e.g. depends on ownership of vehicle
stock for transport)
Scope 2, 3 = Includes emissions resulting from electricity supplied to the consumer that are counted in both Scope 2 (electricity GENERATED
and supplied to the national grid) and Scope 3 (due to LOSSES in transmission and distribution of electricity through the national grid to the consumer), as defined by
the GHG Protocol