As of January 2019 all non-residential buildings in Ireland must be built to the super-low energy 'Nearly Zero Energy Building' standard (nZEB), as transposed in Part-L. This is a huge jump as conservation of energy standards were last revised for non-residential buildings in 2005. A jump of similar magnitude will shortly take place for the new category of dwellings undergoing major renovation and a smaller jump for new dwellings. The design implications for such changes go far beyond simple increases in individual specifications: they require greater knowledge, new skills in using evaluative tools and an earlier and more integrated and collaborative technical design engagement. Ensuring the theoretical performance is delivered in the completed building is increasingly central to the process, while changes to building control in Ireland bring additional weight to certification of compliance.
The nZEB Standard requires industry upskilling on an unprecedented scale across the EU. Based on our experience developing upskilling programmes over the past seven years, it is clear to the building performance team in the Dublin School of Architecture that the extent of the knowledge gap within the disciplines of the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) sector is, as yet, unappreciated. Recognising the scale of this emerging upskilling challenge we have developed new skills and teaching methods to deliver a range of programmes in science-based building performance. This new suite of programmes commenced in September 2017.
The Postgraduate Certificate in Building Performance (Energy Efficiency in Design) programme is a 1-year part-time programme, delivered over two semesters, which has been designed to enable building design professionals to develop skills in energy efficiency design as the basis for new and renovation building projects. Through the use of a range of conceptual analysis tools, centred on energy and thermal performance calculation methodologies, computer modelling and analysis skills culminating in project assignments, the student has the ability to upskill and refocus their approach to building design and specification.
In Semester 1 the modules are: nZEB Policy & Technologies; nZEB Calculation & Cost Optimality; and Energy Modelling Tools #1 (DEAP). In Semester 1 the mdoules are: Energy Modelling Tools #2 (PHPP); Hygrothermal Risk Assessment for Building Performance; and Thermal Bridge Calculation for Building Performance.
The Postgraduate Certificate has been designed to facilitate the upskilling of fully-employed building design professionals. For this reason it is delivered primarily online with periodic on-site workshops. There is a full suite of online learning resources, (including website, videoed lectures, multiple choice exams, live webinars, social media etc.). Each module has four teaching weeks and two project weeks wherein a small project is completed. At the end of Week 5 an onsite, half-day workshop provides an opportunity for feedback and tutorial to support the project. It is wise to allow a time commitment of ~20 hours per week (for an average student) during the teaching weeks and ~10 hours per week for the project weeks.
There are a range of ways in which we take account of the busy lives of the students. The only fixed dates are webinars on the first four Tuesdays at 8pm, an online exam at 8pm on the second and fourth Thursday and the workshop. Flexibility is provided via (a) the online resources; (b) videoed lectures that can be repeatedly watched (slowed down or sped up); (c) the recording of webinars to allow later watching; (d) the provison of repeat online exams for those who couldn't attend the first (within the same semester); and the Autumn supplemenmtal exams and project submissions.
What graduates tell us:
Dympna (architect): "It is a great course and I do love the way the course is structured, delivered online and tailored towards working professionals".
John (structural engineer): "The quality of the lecturers is superb. Andrew Lundberg the best I know at his game. Patrick equally as good technically and immense patience and attention to detail with all the additional resources and examples. If i dont understand i can simply replay. Overall fantastic".
Aofe (artchitectural technologist): "I have thoroughly enjoyed my years study in DT9771 and believe it has made me a more mindful, knowledgeable technologist, using energy efficiency measures to the best of my capability. The workload is heavy and certainly not something to be underestimated, however upon completion it all seems quite necessary".
Ultan (services engineer): "To date, I have used the knowledge I have acquired (even whilst in the middle of a module). I did a simple LCCA for a client 'Gas Boiler V Heat Pump' whilst in the middle of the LCCA module. I have pointed out to an architect that the U-Values issued to me for a tapered insulation flat roof must come from a method outlined in a 'Standard' rather than just a standard U-Value calculation using the mean thickness of the tapered insulation. I have asked an architect to check his Psi-Values for accuracy, as they did not make sense. He reflected and came back with more expected values. In all of the above cases, I would not have been aware of what to look for or even 'look out for' were it not for the learning gleaned from the course".
The Dublin School of Architecture is delighted to announce that DT9771 'Postgraduate Certificate in Building Performance (Energy Efficiency in Design)' has been approved for Springboard+ funding in 2019-20. This provides a 90% discount on the normal €2,500 programme fee for eligible applicants. Please visit the course page on the Springboard+ website to find out more about the Postgraduate Certificate and to make your application.
There are only 40 places available so interested parties should apply before the first round closes at 5pm on 30th June. Where there are more than 40 eligible applicants, the Programme Team will use a ranking system to support fair selection. Points will be awarded for qualifications from ordinary degree (Level 7) to masters (Level 9) and for years of relevant professional experience. Where acceptances drop below 40 a second round will commence: this will be announced in the news section of this website and through Twitter: @
The Postgraduate Certificate programme prepares students for the role of ‘Energy Efficiency Designer’ as provided for in the EU Energy Performance in Buildings Directive and as such is a the leading edge of low energy design education.
Graduates of the Postgraduate Diploma in Building Performance (Energy Efficiency in Design) will be equipped with a full range of design tools which are necessary to achieve compliance with the NZEB performance standard.
The blended online Postgraduate Certificate is the first part of a three-part programmes and sits within a larger MSc and Postgraduate Diploma in Building Performance (Energy Efficiency in Design). Graduates can progress to each stage of the programme on a modular basis.
Graduates may also enrol on the NSAI-recognised DT775B CPD Diploma in Thermal Bridge Assessment programme to become Register Thermal Modellers.
The Postgraduate Certificate programme was developed in response to Forfás research predicting economic growth and employment opportunities in the Green Economy.
It responds to various government policy and legislation and is supported by agencies such as OPW, SEAI, IGBC and RIAI. It is expected that this award will be recognised in public procurement processes.
These are some of the people who lecture on DT9771 PGCertBP(EED) programme:
Joseph Little (programme chair)