Taught course

Design and Optimization of Zero Energy Consumption Buildings

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens · National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Entry requirements

The aim of the whole module is the Vocational Training and Education mainly for architects and other related specializations such as Civil Engineers and/or other engineering scientists dealing with issues of planning, evaluation and optimization for buildings of zero energy by the positive energy balance.

Months of entry

September, February

Course content

It is well known that by the end of this decade all new buildings in Europe and in other parts of the developed world should have almost zero energy consumption. Since the achievement of such planning is associated with highly significant technical and economic issues which must be addressed during the design and construction of buildings, there is an increased need for automatically rapid and efficient training of all involved engineers and scientists in the related fields.

The Professional Development Programme, Training and Education will focus on the following:

  • Technologies of shell building;
  • technology of auxiliary heating and air conditioning;
  • advanced technologies of technical and natural lighting;
  • technologies to improve indoor air quality;
  • technical and natural ventilation systems;
  • techniques and technologies to improve the building microclimate;
  • renewable energy systems for buildings and settlements;
  • advanced automatic control systems for buildings;
  • economic optimization methods;
  • calculation programs and energy consumption and environmental quality of buildings;
  • legislation and best management practices;
  • presentation of relevant practices and existing buildings.

The training module will be taught famous architects, scientists and engineers from around the world with advanced experience in the relevant issues and will be indicated both by the UIA, and from EKPA. All of the training module will be in the English language.

Due to the programme’s level of quality, financial aid is offered to students from developing countries. The discount amount will be set by the committee that will evaluate the applications. For more information please visit: http://zero.elearninguoa.org/content/pricingdiscount-policy

Programme Description


Lesson 1 Actual Situation on the Energy and Environmental Quality of the Building’s Sector

Description of the existing data on the energy consumption of buildings and the environmental quality of the built environment. Identification of the existing problems, proposed solutions and presentation of the fture challenges. Specific problems in the built environment as a function of the geographic area, climate and income.

Lesson 2 Components of the Energy Consumption of Buildings

Description of the principal energy consumption components in buildings. Heating, cooling lighting, equipment and hot water. Characteristics of each component. Magnitude of the absolute energy consumption for diiferent types of buildings, climates, geographical zones and social status. Temporal variation of the specific energy components through the years

Lesson 3 Urban Climate and climate change

Description of the physics of urban climate. Main phenomena in the urban environment. Energy balance of cities. Local climate change phenomena. Urban heat island and canyon effect. Global climate change and its characteristics. Magnitude and characteristics of the local climate change for different parts of the world. Impact of local and global climate change.

Lesson 4 How to improve the microclimate around buildings

Description of the physics of microclimate. Factors affecting the microclimate characteristics and quality. Main microclimatic problems. Thermal balance around the buildings. Techniques to improve the local microclimates. Examples and description of the results. How to calculate the possible impact of the microclimatic improvement techniques

Lesson 5 Heat and mass transfer in buildings

Basics of applied heat and mass transfer in buildings and open spaces. Sensible and latent heat phenomena. Conduction, convection and radiation. Evaporation and condensation. Specific heat and mass transfer phenomena on buildings. Opaque , semi opaque and transparent components.

Lesson 6 Systems and materials for the building envelope heat transfer phenomena.

Lesson 7 Natural Ventilation techniques.

What is natural ventilation. Physics of natural ventilation phenomena. Stack effect and wind effects in natural ventilation. Techniques to design for natural ventilation. Single and cross natural ventilation configurations. Calculation and computer evaluation methodologies for natural ventilation phenomena. Simple empirical, network and CFD modelling. Good examples and evaluation.

Lesson 8 Design of Renewable Energy Systems in the Built Environment

Design and Integration of Renewable Energy Systems in the Built environment. Interconnection to the electricity grid, energy storage. Sustainable assessment by using environmental, energy and socioeconomic criteria. Life Cycle Assessment and Ecological footprint. Regional-local energy planning. Integration in the built and urban environment. Sustainability analysis.

Lesson 9 Indoor air quality in buildings.

Indoor air quality problems in buildings. Main pollutants. Impact of indorr pollution on health, comfort and productivity. Ventilation for indoor air quality. Thresholds for concentration of indoor pollutants. Techniques to improve indoor air quality. Existing problems, solutions and good examples. Methods to evaluate indoor pollution problems.

Lesson 10 Natural lighting in buildings

Physics of natural light. Main characteristics and definitions. How to design for efficient natural lighting systems and components. Methodologis to evaluate the levels of natural light in buildings. Glare and contrast. Good examples of architectural design for natural light and evaluation of the main characteristics.

Lesson 11 Artificial lighting systems for buildings

Systems of artcifical lighting. Lamps and other components. Control of artificial lighting systems and daylight compensation. Evaluation methodologies for artificial lighting systems. Speciifc lighting techniques for individual buildings. Good examples of artificial lighting in buildings. Discussion and evaluation. Modern lighting systems and controls.

Lesson 12 Passive Cooling techniques for buildings

What is passive cooling. Needs for passive cooling techniques. Main systems and techniques. Characteristics of the main techniques and potential energy contribution. Methodologies to design for passive cooling in different climates and geographical zones. Evaluation of the performance of the main passive cooling techniques. Presentation and analysis of good design examples.

Lesson 13 Passive Heating techniques for buildings

What is passive heating. Needs and characteriscs of the passive heating techniques. Main systems and components. Characteristics of the main techniques and potential energy contribution. Methodologies to design for passive heating in different climates and geographical zones. Evaluation of the performance of the main passive heating techniques and link with artificial heating systems. Presentation and analysis of good design examples.

Lesson 14 Urban Energy Autonomy: design, development and optimization of fully renewable energy based communities

Lesson 15 Advanced Control systems for buildings

Basics of intelligent control for buildings. Types and technologies of intelligent building control. Methodologies to design optical control in buildings. Smart metering and intelligent energy and environmental applications in tertiary and residential buildings. Good expamples of intelligent control and analysis.

Lesson 16 Thermal Comfort in Buildings

Basics of thermal comfort theory. Parameters that influence thermal comfort. International theories for thermal comfort and relative standards. Adaptive comfort. Methods to estimate and measure thermal comfort in buildings. Techniques to improve thermal comfort. International data bases of thermal comfort studies

Lesson 17 Energy and Environmental Simulation Tools for Buildings

Thermal and energy balance of buildings. What is a thermal energy simulation tool. Existing energy simulation programs. Advantages and disadvantages. How to simulate a building. Problems to avoid. Examples of energy simulation works and exercises with free simulation tools for simple and complex buildings.

Lesson 18 Solar and Renewable Systems and Techniques for Buildings

Description of the main renewable energy systems used in buildings. Performance of the existing systems. Methods to calculate the efficiency of the renewable enrgy systems in buildings. Existing succesfull applications of renewable energy systems in buildings. Exercises on the integration and optimization of renewable systems in buildings

Lesson 19 Acoustics in Buildings

Basic theory of acoustics in buildings. Design of optimium acoustic environments in buildings. Basic calculation methods. Examples of optimum acoustic performance in tertiary and residential buildings. Synergy of the acoustic and energy design

Lesson 20 Design of Zero Energy Buildings

Description of the main features of near zero energy buildings. Energy balance of buildings. Optimisation techniques for the design of optimum near zero energy buildings. Optimum integration of renewable energies and energy conservation techniques in buildings to minimize the energy consumption. Design variations as a function of the climate.

Lesson 21 Existing Zero Energy Buildings, Analysis

Presentation and analysis of existing near zero energy buildings in different climates. Energy analysis and balance between energy conservation and renewables for each project. Efficiency and performance of the presented examples. Avatages and disantvantages of the proposed systems and building integrations. Lessons learned.

Lesson 22 Energy Optimisation Techniques for Buildings

Optimisation methodologies and theory. Basics of the energy otimisation techniques. Examples on the way to optimize the energy systems in buildings. Calculation methodologies. Case studies and presentation of existing optimization studies for buildings

Lesson 23 International Standards and Legislation for Buildings

Why we need standards and codes in buildings. Presentation of the main standardization bodies. Presentation of the main standards and codes in buildings related to energy and indoor environmental quality. How standards are applied and how control is performed. Compliance with standards and codes.

Lesson 24 Monitoring Techniques for Buildings

Presentation of the main measurement techniques for buildings. Presentation of the main equaipped used and methods to check the accuracy of the monitoring. Different types of Sensors and actuaros for the monitoring of buildings. Examples of monitoring systems and exercises with real equipment.

Lesson 25 Mitigation and Adaptation Techniques to fight Climate Change

Description of the local and global climate change in the urban environment. Description of the main mitigation and adaptation techniques for the urban environment. Calculation methodologies and design considerations. Presentation of good examples where mitigation and adaptation techniques are appled in the urban environment. Advantages and disandvantages.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
6 months

Course contact details

Admissions Office