Taught course

Building Services Engineering with Sustainable Energy

Brunel University, London · Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering

Entry requirements

A UK first or second class Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in an engineering; appropriate science or technology discipline. Other qualifications and relevant experience will be assessed on an individual basis.

Months of entry


Course content

About the course

The world is recognising that buildings need to consume less energy in the future – and this course develops your building services engineering knowledge with a focus on sustainable design.

You will learn about renewable energy technologies, efficient ventilation, air conditioning and energy conversion technologies in the programme, and can choose from a broad range of dissertation topics.

The course is available on either a one-year, full-time or three-to-five-year, distance-learning basis.


The era of zero emission building is within grasping distance of the mass construction industry – creating a huge demand for specialists with the skills to design and project manage effectively.

The aim of this programme is to respond to the worldwide demand for building services engineers and managers who have a sound knowledge of engineering principles and the ability to apply this knowledge to the complex situations prevailing within the building services industry.

Course Content Modes of Study

1-Year Full-Time

The taught element of the course (September to April) includes seven modules; delivery will be by a combination of lectures, tutorials and group/seminar work. A further four months (May to September) is spent undertaking the dissertation.

3-to-5-Years Distance-Learning

The distance learning programme is designed to enable you to conduct most of your studies at home, in your own time and at your own pace.

  • There is no requirement to attend lectures at Brunel University and there is no set timetable of lectures, instead you follow a structured programme of self-study at home or at work. This gives you the freedom to arrange a work programme to suit yourself and you should usually allow about twelve hours each week for study.
  • There are set submission dates for assignments but we have tried to design the programme so that they are well-spaced, giving you the maximum flexibility in your study plans.
  • You can take between three and five years to complete the course. The average is three years, with students taking four modules in the first year, four modules in the second year and the dissertation in the third year. However, depending on your other commitments you can take longer up to a maximum of five years.
  • You are supplied with a study pack in the form of textbooks and CD-ROMs; you have assignments to submit and exams to sit each year.
  • Examinations can be taken either at Brunel University or in the country you are resident in. We have an extensive network of organisations (universities, colleges and British Council offices) throughout the world who will provide invigilation services.
  • The cost of invigilation away from Brunel is your responsibility. Examinations are held in May each year.

Typical Modules

Building Heat Transfer and Air Conditioning

  • Building Heat Transfer: Analyses the various mechanisms of heat transfer appropriate to buildings and the principles of heating and cooling load calculations. Areas covered include solar gains, fabric heat transmission, infiltration, effects of moisture content, methods of heating and cooling load calculations, CIBSE admittance procedure, condensation and finite difference techniques.
  • Air Conditioning: Covers the principles of psychometrics and the design of air conditioning systems. Emphasis is placed on the properties of humid air, thermal comfort, inside and outside design conditions. Air Conditioning design includes air and water, all water systems and unitary equipment.

Electrical Services and Lighting Design

  • Electrical Services: Covers aspects of electrical energy supply, electricity tariffs, switchgear and the design of electrical installations to satisfy lEE wiring regulations. Also covered are the principles of electrical machines and power electronic devices used in building services applications.
  • Lighting Design: Considers the human visual system, the nature and control of light, photometric units, lighting calculations, interior lighting design, daylighting, lamps and luminaires and energy efficiency aspects of lighting systems.

Acoustics, Fire, Lifts and Drainage

  • Acoustics: Covers the basic terms and physical principles, sound power and intensity, the ear and hearing, propagation of noise, legal requirements and noise standards, room acoustics, sound generation in services systems, and vibration isolation.
  • Fire, Drainage and Lifts: Considers fire and smoke control, sanitation and waste disposal, industrial ventilation and exhaust requirements, lift and escalator design, space allowance for building services, commissioning and testing.

Energy Conversion Technologies

  • This element provides a broad introduction to the principles of energy conversion and thermodynamic machines and demonstrates their application to energy conversion and management in buildings. Emphasis is placed on refrigeration plant, energy conversion plant and energy management.
  • Refrigeration: covers the basic principles and components of vapour compression systems, heat pumps and absorption systems.
  • Energy Conversion: considers power cycles, combined heat and power, combustion processes, boiler plant, thermal energy storage and environmental impacts of plant operation.

Building Services Design and Management

This module consists of three elements:

  1. Sustainable Design: Considers the effects of engineering design solutions on the internal and external environments.
  2. Project Management: Considers management of physical assets, maintenance standards, health and safety and risk assessment.
  3. Building Services Design: Provides specialist knowledge of the building services design organisation process.

Renewable Energy Technologies

This element includes: energy sources, economics and environmental impact, energy storage technologies, the role of renewables, solar thermal, solar electricity, wind power generation, hydro, tidal and wave power, biofuels, building integrated renewables.

Energy Efficient Ventilation for Buildings

This module considers current regulations on energy efficiency in buildings in relation to natural, hybrid and mechanical ventilation and explains the principles of energy efficient ventilation services applications. It includes sections on ventilation and impact on energy consumption and environmental impact, requirements of indoor air quality and climate, criteria for ventilation rates, mechanisms and approaches for natural and hybrid ventilation systems, incorporating controls, calculation guidelines, ventilation for urban buildings, energy efficient mechanical ventilation, room air distribution, ventilation efficiency and assessment of building ventilation including measuring ventilation and comfort parameters, commissioning and balancing of ventilation systems, commissioning of controls and sensors and measurement of air tightness.


The dissertation is a stimulating and challenging part of each MSc course. Dissertations may be carried out on any approved topic related to the building services industry and/or sustainable energy technologies and environmental issues. Essentially the dissertation gives the student the opportunity to apply the techniques and disciplines covered in the taught course to a topic of their own interest, of interest to a sponsoring or industrial organisation, or of research interest.


This course is approved by the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) as appropriate additional academic study (further learning) for those seeking to become qualified to register as Chartered Engineers (CEng). Additionally we are seeking reaccreditation with the Energy Institute.

Information for international students

•IELTS: 6 (min 5.5 in all areas) •Pearson: 51 (51 in all subscores) •BrunELT: 60% (min 55% in all areas)

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students.

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
36-60 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Marketing and Recruitment Office
+44 (0)1895 265370