A Masters in Energy & Sustainability
Annelide Sherratt, Green Building Certification Manager at Solid Green, is currently completing the second year of her Master of Science (MSc) degree in Energy and Sustainable Building Design at De Montfort University, Leicester, in the UK. Here, she talks about her particular areas of focus in this 3-year long, distance learning programme.7
When I considered completing my Masters, my intention was always to concentrate on Sustainability. With the increased effects of climate change being felt globally, as well as local challenges such as load shedding, I have been motivated to develop my knowledge and understanding of energy and sustainability issues – including the latest knowledge on building physics and performance, energy analysis techniques, and computer modelling techniques. I believe that, in order to realise truly energy efficient buildings, sophisticated design procedures and performance analyses are needed.
This course specifically appealed to me as performance computer modelling is covered in detail and, being well versed in various sustainability tools, I wanted to gain the skill of using modelling to scientifically show how building performance can be optimised and even influence design decisions at a conceptual stage.
So far, the course has broadened my understanding of sustainability at a global scale particularly around fuel sources, energy generation systems and the operations of companies. Accredited by both the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Energy Institute of the UK, this Masters satisfies the educational aspects of becoming a chartered engineer in the UK. The course covers topics ranging from sustainable development, sustainable energy, and building services through to energy analysis techniques and building performance modelling.
A comprehensive understanding of the latest renewable energy generation technologies is also given as well as the skills of how to design and scale these technologies within any context. Importantly, business operations and policies are analysed to recommend measures to move from business-as-usual towards disruptive, innovative operations that align with the global agenda to combat climate change.
The course comprises eight modules – four per year, with the completion of a dissertation required for the third and final year. The modules include Sustainable Development; Sustainable Buildings; Sustainable Energy; Building Physics; Building Performance Modelling; and Energy Analysis Techniques.
Currently I am in the last part of my second year completing the modules Energy Analysis Techniques relating to Building Services; and Building Performance Modelling: applying IES (Integrated Environmental Solutions) modelling software to analyse a building in terms of thermal comfort, energy performance, daylight optimisation and building fabric performance.
In addition, one of three optional modules is required – Leading Change for Sustainability, Low-Impact Manufacturing, or Engineering Business Environment. I chose the latter, which looks at businesses and how they can achieve sustainability from an operational perspective and through company policies.
I am aiming to complete my Masters in May 2022. The building performance modelling and energy analysis techniques that I have studied have given me a comprehensive, in-depth understanding of various building services and, equipped with this knowledge in future, I look forward to working with multi-disciplinary teams to optimise designs and explore potential innovations on their projects.