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Diploma in NZEB Design Tools Part time & Blended online



Over the past five years the Dublin School of Architecture has developed a range of upskilling programmes in Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) for building design professionals. NZEB is the energy performance standard required under the European Union Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD). This Directive requires that all new public buildings must meet the NZEB standard from the end of 2018 onwards, and ALL new buildings from the end of 2020 onwards.  The Directive also provides for the deep renovation of existing buildings to the NZEB standard beyond 2020. Achieving the NZEB standard will require a culture change at all levels in the building industry, from procurement, to design, construction, use and maintenance of the building over its life cycle.

This will require industry upskilling on an unprecedented scale across the EU. From our experience in developing upskilling programmes over the past five years it is clear that the extent of the knowledge gap within the disciplines of the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) sector is as yet neither appreciated or acknowledged. Recognising the scale of this emerging upskilling challenge the lecturing team in the DIT School of Architecture has developed new skills and teaching methods over the past five years and has prepared a range of new programmes in science based building performance.

Programme outline

The CPD Diploma in NZEB Design Tools programme is a 1 semester part time programme, delivered over a 15 week semester, which has been designed to enable professionally qualified architects, architectural technologists, engineers and building surveyors to develop core skills in NZEB design. The programme combines online learning assessments with project work and explores a range of NZEB design topics.

The CPD Diploma sits within and leads into a larger blended online Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and MSc in Building Performance (Energy Efficiency in Design)

Entry Requirements:

The CPD Diploma in NZEB Design Tools programme is open to the following categories of applicants:

Registered Architects
Professionally qualified architects who are or have been members of the RIAI, subject to interview.
Registered Architectural Technologists
Professionally qualified Architectural Technologists, subject to the requirements scheduled below.
Registered Building Surveyors
Chartered Engineers
Professionally qualified Engineers, subject to a minimum 2.2 Level 8 qualification plus 2 years minimum relevant accredited professional experience, or equivalent.
Other technical design professionals subject to a minimum 2.2 Level 8 qualification plus 2 years minimum relevant accredited professional experience, or equivalent.

For building design professionals such as architects, architectural technologists, engineers and building surveyors, an understanding of NZEB will be critical to professional survival. The NZEB standard will apply to all new public building from the end of 2018 and to all buildings by 2020. The need for NZEB upskilling is clear.

Graduates of the CPD Diploma in NZEB Design Tools will be qualified to apply core NZEB knowledge to assess the energy performance in new and existing buildings.

Programme Content

The programme is comprises three modules, all delivered in blended online mode supported by workshops every four weeks.

The CPD Diploma in NZEB Design Tools is delivered through a series of three 5 ECTS blended online modules as follows:

  • NZEB Policy & Technologies
  • NZEB Calculation & Cost Optimality
  • Energy Modelling Tools #1 (DEAP)


The programme is delivered in blended online mode and comprises online and college based modules.

Online modules are assessed through a range of computer based assessments while college-based project modules are assessed through a range of techniques including project work, group work, assignments, and presentations.

For Further Information

Programme co-ordinator

Joseph Little
Dublin School of Architecture
College of Engineering & Built Environment
TU Dublin-City Campus, Bolton Street, Dublin 1

Information Leaflet


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the duration of the programme?

The CPD Diploma programme runs on a part-time basis over one semester.

How does the online mode work?

Students are trained in the use of a variety of online learning applications and tools. All lectures are pre-recorded and uploaded on a dedicated module website. Course material is accessible using handheld devices, making it possible for students to engage interactively and dynamically in learning at any time or place 24/7 subject to broadband coverage.

A formative exercise is issued to all students each week to guide learning. Formative exercises are submitted prior to and form the basis of weekly online webinars which are recorded and available for review.

Students then complete fortnightly online summative assessments which consolidate knowledge as the module progresses.

How frequently do workshop run?

There are four college workshops in Semesters 1 and 2. These form a vital part of the blended online learning experience and enable students to meet and build a sense of network and community.

On what days does the programme run?

College based workshops take place every four weeks, generally on Fridays.

Webinars takes place each week, generally each Tuesday evening 20.00-21.00 and are accessible remotely.

Online summative assessments take place on a fortnightly basis, generally on Thursday evenings 20.00-21.00 and are accessible remotely.

What is the time commitment required for the programme?

The programme requires a weekly commitment of 20 hours per week.

Modules can be taken individually and accumulated over time to achieve the PGCert, PGDip and MSc awards. 

How often does the programme run, and when does the next programme begin?

The programme runs twice annually commencing in September and Janaury, subject to numbers.

How many places are available?

The target intake for each MSc cohort is 32 students. Priority will be given to students wishing to enrol on the 30 ECTS PGCert year-long cycle.

If there are fewer than 32 eligible applicants for the 30 ECTS PGCert year-long cycle, applicants wishing to enrol on the 15 ECTS CPD Dip semester-long cycle will be offered places to a total maximum cohort of 32.

Students may be admitted to each module as a standalone CPD Certificate, subject to places being available within the total of 32.

How much does it cost?

For information on part time postgraduate fees please click here.