Sustainability and Energy Simulations
About this course
Page last updated 17 October 2018
This module aims to teach computer based skills that help in the application of sustainable strategies to real world designs. A range of sustainable issues will be discussed and where in these it would be appropriate to use software based analytical tools to help improve the design. 3D modelling software will be used to quantify the geometry of a physical space and environmental energy simulation software (IES) will be used to compare the difference between alternative design options. Students will also discuss the limits of computer based analysis and when such analysis would be less helpful.
Upon completion students will have acquired the skills to undertake complex analysis of the environmental performance of building fabric allowing them to develop strategies at the conceptual design stage for the delivery of high performing buildings.
This computer analysis can be used to provide comparative performance estimates to justify investment in the materials and services required to deliver low impact buildings. Developing the financial feasibility and considering risks in post occupancy performance are examined further in the module Energy Management and Performance Evaluation.
Students beginning this module are expected to have a working knowledge of building physics and services and an understanding of concepts such as heat balance, U-value, thermal mass, ventilation, condensation, solar gains, heating and cooling technologies and building structures. (Those who passed UBLMSB-30-1 Building Physics and Services are deemed adequate.) Students will also need to be numerically competent and have a basic level of computer literacy to allow them explore new software programmes.
Careers / Further study
Students who complete the module should have acquired the competencies to become an accredited Low Carbon Energy Assessor (non-Domestic EPC)through CIBSE.
This module may be counted as NFQ Level 5 accredited learning towards related engineering degrees and counts as academic credit towards the following UWE degree programmes:
This module is designed to give students an opportunity to develop critical analysis skills in the design of high performing building services. The principles of low carbon building services are well understood, the driving factor for their importance and adoption being the environmental consequences of climate change and the commitment governments have made to reducing carbon emissions in the coming years. Although the principles of energy efficient sustainable design are well understood many barriers remain to putting them into practice and it is appropriate that these are studied at level 3 where students can use critical thinking to identify issues and develop appropriate problem solving frameworks.
Setting energy efficiency and low carbon performance as important design constraints for buildings and has a number of consequences for the role of building services engineer.
Firstly, building services engineers get involved more intensively, early in the design process as issues such as building orientation, choices of building fabric and use of glazing become important decisions that affect the low carbon capabilities of the services that are selected. In this module students will learn how to use dynamic simulation software to optimise the performance of building fabric. This would typically be done with the architect at the conceptual stage of the design when the building's form is in development.
Secondly, often low carbon services involve new technologies and new services strategies, which can be perceived as being a higher risk to budgets, to space requirement, to performance, to constructability, to maintainability and to usability. For this reason critical thinking is required when establishing the energy strategy for the services design, to ensure that the approach is appropriate to the building and that these risks are managed and clearly communicated to the building owner. In this module, students will learn how to critically compare different low carbon services strategies and to use qualitative and quantitative analysis to develop appropriate decision making frameworks.
On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
- Assess the thermal response of buildings under dynamic conditions and estimate the impact on thermal comfort of potential design alternatives. (Assessment A,B)
- Perform simulations of building services performance and fluid flows. (Assessment B)
- Assess a buildings energy and carbon footprint using methods approved for regulation compliance. (Assessment B)
- Identify the risks and opportunities associated with using rating systems designed to quantify sustainability. (Assessment A)
- Define the computational tasks associated with quantifying sustainable use of energy, water, materials, light and sound. (Assessment A)
Learning and Teaching
Expected level of initial understanding- Students will be expected to already have a technical understanding of the physics and services associated with the environmental engineering of buildings. Week 1 of the module will include an outline of the expected understanding, allowing students to prepare a revision plan to bring them up to speed for the rest of the module. Skills learnt concurrently in other modules on sizing building services will also be used in the module.
Case Studies - At the beginning of the module, students will be assigned a case study site/building, which will be the focus of their study and coursework assessment.
Lectures Weekly one-hour lectures will be used as the main method to present, discuss and critically evaluate the topics associated with the module syllabus. At every opportunity the students will be asked to reflect on how the theory relates to their case studies, preparing a study plan for their activities between classes. At the end of every lecture a student should have a clear sense of purpose of the study that is ahead of them.
Computer based tutorials Weekly two-hour tutorials with software experts, developing skills in energy simulations and sustainability assessment, which will be needed to complete the assessment.
For most students to get an average mark the following hours are recommended: approximately 10 hours of study for each of the taught sessions relating to this module, a total of 120 hours. This excludes time undertaking assessment, which is an estimated additional 30 hours. On a weekly basis this means Preparation (1h), contact time (3h), Directed study (3h), Self-directed (3h).
Students will be required to complete the following assessment as part of the module and on successful completion will achieve 15 undergraduate credits in Strategic Design and Energy Simulations.
The assesment is made up of the following:
- Analysis and Modelling Portfolio (50%)
- Two hour exam (50%)
Students who complete the module should have acquired the competencies to become an accredited Low Carbon Energy Assessor (non-Domestic EPC) through CIBSE.
The University has excellent facilities, accessible to all students, as required; however, it is expected that much of the work will be carried within the work environment.
Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.
Supplementary fee information
Please see the table below for current fees. All prices are VAT exempt.
|Cohort||Fees - UK/EU students||Fees - overseas students|
|21 Janaury 2019 - 15 April 2019||Mondays||9am-1pm|
Includes assessment but no carparking or refreshments.