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The need for sustainable approaches to building design is universally acknowledged. As the effects of climate change are felt, the drive towards more energy-efficient buildings is intensifying. Sustainable buildings need not be technologically complex, but a high level of sophistication in design procedures and performance analysis is required.

The course has been accredited by both the Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers (CIBSE) and the Energy Institute for completing the educational requirements for chartered engineer registration. CIBSE is an international body which represents and provides services to the building services profession, with a membership of 17,000, one-fifth of which is outside the UK. The Energy Institute is the leading professional body for the energy industries, supporting almost 12,000 professionals.

Course modules

The MSc has been designed to offer flexibility, with attended or distance learning study available and a range of possible awards from a full MSc to a single module. Modules studied:

Sustainable Development – covers the key concepts of sustainable development and sustainability. This module discusses social, ecological and economic sustainability concepts and encourages you to develop a critical appreciation of the sustainable development debate

Sustainable Buildings – introduces you to the main aspects of sustainability in regards to the built environment, exploring the environmental, economic and social/cultural issues that need to be considered for achieving successful building design and operation

Sustainable Energy – provides a systematic understanding of the global energy system and energy sources. The module examines the physical principles and application of current technologies and their environmental impacts, and how these interact in energy systems

Building Physics – provides you with a thorough understanding of the physical processes that govern how buildings respond to the external environment. This module examines the thermal properties of buildings, how daylight and natural ventilation interact with buildings and how this affects the quality of the indoor environment

Building Performance Modelling – enables you to understand why and how building simulation can be used to analyse building thermal, daylight and ventilation performance. This module will enable you to make appropriate selections of simulation methods, analyse results and give coherent recommendations

Energy Analysis Techniques – enables you to analyse data from buildings and industry to identify energy- and greenhouse gas–saving opportunities. You will learn how to carry out the analysis techniques of an energy audit, energy survey and energy balance and establish an ongoing energy monitoring and target-setting regime for a building or industry

Study Skills and Research Methods – provides the skills necessary to successfully complete a research project of a high standard, introducing you to a range of research methodologies and practices relevant to the successful completion of the MSc

Dissertation – you will complete the MSc by undertaking a building-related dissertation on a topic of your choice, supervised by an experienced member of the research staff

Optional modules

Choose one from two (three distance learning) optional modules

Leading Change for Sustainability - examines the social and human dimensions of climate change at the individual and societal scale, in relation to three key issues: human causes of climate change, human consequences of climate change and an exploration of behaviour change strategies to both adapt to, and help mitigate the effects of, climate change

Low-Impact Manufacturing – introduces the concept of an industrial system, linking different types of industry, including raw material processing, manufacturing and waste processing, that combine to satisfy consumer demand. It explains the ways in which energy and resource use can be identified at each stage of a product life-cycle

Engineering Business Environment – enables you to understand and reflect upon the role of business in a rapidly changing, globalised world. As well as considering the changing environment in which businesses operate, time is spent exploring the steps a business can take to respond to the environmental challenges ahead. (This module is available in distance learning mode only)

Teaching 

Full-time students attend for two days each week and receive formal lectures from experienced researchers and teaching staff, complemented by informal seminars and group discussions. Part-time students attend one day per week. You will also be expected to undertake self-directed study. All teaching material is fully documented and available on the web-based virtual learning environment (VLE) before timetabled events take place.

Distance learning students follow a structured study plan provided on the VLE, supported by discussion forums with other students, and email and telephone conversations with the module leader. Our course has been commended in an academic quality review for its “innovative and sophisticated forms of e-based learning and teaching”.

All assessment is by coursework. Each taught module has two items of coursework. The first is a smaller assignment for which feedback is given while the module is being studied. A second, major assignment is due at a later date after the material has been assimilated.

Graduate Careers

This course is aimed at both recent graduates and professionals working in relevant fields. The knowledge and advanced modelling skills you gain will enable you to work effectively as a building design professional or analyst. These skills are increasingly in demand in architectural and engineering consultancies, utilities and regulatory organisations, and local and national government.

Our graduates go on to work in a wide range of energy, buildings and sustainability roles – for example, energy and environmental consultants, in non-governmental environmental organisations, central and local government (including the European Commission), and multi-national organisations. Some of our graduates stay on at DMU to continue their academic training with PhD studies.

Recent graduate destinations include:

  • The Carbon Trust
  • BMW
  • Turley Associates
  • National Energy Foundation
  • European Commission
  • Knightstone Housing Association
  • National Grid
  • Leicester City Council
  • Mott MacDonald
  • WSP Group
  • Arup
  • WYG
  • David Chipperfield Architects

Visit the Energy and Sustainable Building Design MSc/PG Dip/PG Cert page on the De Montfort University website for more details!

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