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Sustainable Building Design and Performance MSc

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year Two days per week To be confirmed
Part time 2 years One day per week To be confirmed

Choose Kingston's Sustainable Building Design and Performance MSc

It is now widely accepted that global carbon emissions have led to climate change and that the built environment is a major contributor. This course takes a holistic approach to the procurement process of genuinely sustainable buildings. It focuses on integrating design intent and actual performance in order to re-evaluate traditional systems for the design, construction and operation of sustainable, lifelong, adaptable low-carbon buildings.

Key features

  • You will develop the knowledge and skills to procure appropriate genuinely long-term sustainable buildings from initial design stages through to occupation and beyond.
  • You will also gain the skills necessary to evaluate the historic performance of a range of buildings; design strategies for new proposals; and predictively model passive and active strategies adopted in low-carbon buildings.
  • You will have access to ArchiLab, our in-house state-of-the-art environmental design laboratory, and the expertise and equipment available.

What will you study?

You will study three main areas: building performance; evaluation tools; and fundamental principles, drivers and solutions.

Building performance examines the evaluation of existing building studies, investigates retrospective strategies for improvements, and then focuses on design strategies for new proposals.

Evaluation tools assesses the measurement tools and systems that are used for building performance evaluation, including social/behavioural surveys, and then focuses on a range of digital and physical simulation tools for the prediction of building performance.

Fundamental principles, drivers and solutions focuses on the principles of building science, climatic context, low-energy design strategies, legislation and innovative low-carbon technologies. It covers the principles of, and solutions for, low-carbon design.

Finally, you will apply critical and analytical skills to produce a substantial piece of written research in any of the areas covered in, and relevant to, the course.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.


  • Globally, construction industries are responsible for about half of worldwide carbon emissions, and global, national and regional legislation is a key driver in improving the energy and carbon efficiency of the built environment.

    This module covers the fundamental principles of and imperatives for sustainable low carbon building design, including the complex, challenging and sometimes contradictory elements of legislation that drive our collective response to climate change. Students will acquire a thorough grounding in the principles and drivers for low carbon design necessary to make informed evaluation and design strategies in other modules.

  • Professional tools are used in sustainable building design and performance both to precisely predict future building performance during the design process, and to accurately measure the performance of an occupied building.

    This module focuses on the practical application of physical and digital design tools and the equipment used to monitor and measure environmental conditions and resource consumption in occupied buildings. Students will acquire appropriate skills using these tools in order to support their work in the design and evaluation strategies modules.

  • There exists a significant gap between predicted design performance and the actual measured energy and carbon performance of buildings. Over the last 30-40 years a considerable body of research has focused on the design and post occupancy evaluation of a wide range of building types, including addressing reasons for this "performance gap".

    This module reviews the work in this field and critically evaluates previous performance evaluation studies and their findings. It will consider the potential for modern procurement methods that have been developed to deal with these recognised shortfalls, and will include qualitative approaches which deal with psychological and behavioural considerations. Students will employ evaluation strategies to consider why buildings have not performed according to their design intentions, including assessments of both the physical fabric and systems, and occupancy behaviour, through a range of qualitative analysis tools.

  • A fundamental methodology for designing sustainable buildings starts with the site and a thorough understanding of the impact of the environmental and physical surroundings of a building. Passive approaches can reduce energy demand, through "fabric first" principles, orientation and massing, balanced with the requirement for building services systems to provide occupants with a comfortable, healthy and functional internal environment.

    In an increasingly decarbonised built environment this module focuses not only on reducing energy demand in buildings through passive design approaches but also examines the need for energy generation through renewable systems and the issues associated with energy collection, storage and distribution to maximise efficiency and minimise dependency on fossil fuels. Students will use the skills learnt in this and other modules in the development of design strategies for sustainable buildings.

  • A theoretically informed body of work integrates both theory and practice.

    This module forms the culmination of the course, allowing in-depth investigation into one or several areas covered by the other modules, and represents the Capstone Project for the course. The module requires students to apply critical and analytical skills to produce a substantial and original piece of research. Students will engage in processes of enquiry and scholarship in an area appropriate to sustainable building design and performance, developed as a coherent, articulate and well-illustrated piece of research.


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This course is taught at Knights Park

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Contact us

Admissions team


This course is taught at Knights Park

View Knights Park on our Google Maps
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