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MSc Energy and Sustainable Building Design

Course Description

This innovative course is for people who wish to understand the ways new and renewable energy can be harnessed in buildings, who wish to gain the ability to undertake the simulation and modelling tasks which are essential for credible building performance analysis, and acquire the ability to work creatively within a multidisciplinary design team.

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 an interdisciplinary approach that gives a broad insight into energy and sustainability issues, and in-depth knowledge of the computer modelling techniques that are used in the design of modern sustainable buildings.

The course has been approved by both the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Energy Institute for completing the educational requirements for chartered engineer registration.

Teaching and assessment

The teaching, learning and assessment strategies place considerable emphasis on student-centred learning.

Full-time students attend lectures on two days per week, with the remainder of the time being spent on seminar work and private study. Part-time students attend on one day per week. The course is delivered by the Institute’s experts plus others from commerce and industry.

Distance learners receive individual support from a member of teaching staff plus learning materials in electronic format. Distance learners can complete all taught modules at their home location anywhere in the world.

Methods of assessment include project work, oral exposition and seminars, essays, case studies, demonstrations, reports, and a design project. Monitoring of students’ progress is continuous and thorough, with regular informal communication between students and teaching staff.

Entry requirements

You should have the equivalent of a British Honours degree (2:2 minimum) in a relevant numerate subject, for example engineering, physical sciences, mathematics. Architects with an interest in computer modelling are also encouraged to apply.

We are happy to consider equivalent qualifications from anywhere in the world.

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent when you start the course is essential. English Language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning|, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

If you do not have the normal entry requirements but can demonstrate substantial experience in an appropriate area, you can be considered for entry to the course.

The modules

Energy in Buildings presents a broad overview of energy use in domestic and non-domestic buildings and how it relates to building construction. Alternative low energy sustainable approaches to building design are presented. Building energy-flows, thermal comfort and daylighting practices are discussed. The role of regulation and assessment of environmental impact is investigated.

Climate and Daylight Analysis imparts understanding of how climate influences building design and operation. Principles of solar control and daylighting are introduced and skills in the application of simulation methods to predict daylight quantities developed.

Ventilation and Airflow Modelling provides a comprehensive understanding of the principles of building airflow and strategies for effective natural and hybrid ventilation. A wide range of airflow modelling techniques, from very simple analytical techniques, to sophisticated computer simulations are used in building design studies.

Energy and Thermal Performance brings insight into building energy simulation methods and how they can be used to analyse building thermal performance and carbon emissions. This module focuses on how building form, fabric, solar control and airflow inter-relate with energy consumption and thermal comfort. Skills in the application of energy simulation methods in the design process are developed.

Sustainable Development introduces the key concepts of sustainable development and sustainability. Students are encouraged to develop a critical appreciation of the sustainable development debate, and to challenge widely held views. Policies at various geographical scales (local, regional, national, international) are examined in the light of the insights gained.

Renewable Energy imparts a broad understanding of the potential for renewable energies within the urban (and rural) environment. The need to integrate renewable energy technologies into the design and refurbishment of buildings is discussed.

Research Methods equips students with the skills necessary to successfully complete a project of a high standard. Research methods, data interpretation, report writing and basic computing skills will be covered, as well as statistical analysis and the design and analysis of questionnaires.

Energy Analysis Techniques focuses on the analysis of the energy performance of buildings, industry and transport. The monitoring and setting of targets in multi-site organisations, energy audit and survey techniques are studied.

Design Project
Students work in teams to develop a building design, working from a realistic architectural proposal and design brief, seeking to produce a design that will satisfy specific environmental design criteria. The project gives opportunities to develop modelling skills and make practical application of computer analysis techniques in a design team context. Communication skills are developed as project outcomes are presented through presentations, group and individual written reports.

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

(Student Profile)

Philip Pointer

Energy and Sustainable Building Design MSc

“The course proved to be everything I was looking for, blending detailed engineering theory over a diverse background, and was well organised and superbly delivered.

It has proved instrumental in securing my current job working within the simulation group of one of the country’s leading building design consultancies, where I now have the opportunity to put my new-found knowledge and skills into practice.”

Full time MSc Student


Entry Requirements

You should have the equivalent of a British Honours degree (2:2 minimum) in a relevant subject. If you have no formal academic qualifications but do have extensive industry experience we will consider your application individually.

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