Taught course

Design and Construction of Zero Carbon and Ultra Low Energy Buildings

University of Dundee · School of Social Sciences

Entry requirements

An honours degree at 2.1 or above in architecture, engineering, planning, building services, geography, science or related disciplines or an ability to demonstrate considerable experience in a relevant field. Please note if you are coming from design based disciplines, before offer we will request you to submit a portfolio of relevant academic and practice work.

Months of entry


Course content

The MSc Design and Construction of Zero Carbon and Ultra Low Energy Buildings is a multi-disciplinary programme of postgraduate study aiming to equip learners with essential new perspectives, capabilities and skills.

This design-based, research-led programme spans broad fields of enquiry from creating sustainable communities and built environments at a macro-level regional perspective to the micro-level technological challenges in the design and construction of ultra-low energy and zero-carbon buildings. The programme aims to develop advanced integrative skills, knowledge and understanding across these fields, drawing from the broad interdisciplinary expertise across the disciplines of Architecture, Town and Regional Planning, Engineering, Physics and Geography.

With buildings contributing to approximately 47% of CO2 emissions, the design of ultra-low energy buildings and future sustainable low-carbon communities is of international importance. This course develops cross-disciplinary know-how and expertise in developing new regional approaches to these global issues.

It will focus, as an example, on Scottish construction sector requirements, by addressing the knowledge and skills gap in the industry in being able to meet future Scottish regulatory requirements set out in the Sullivan Report (2007). However, it will also address the broader UK legislation changes embodied in Code For Sustainable Homes that will become mandatory in the 2016 building regulations in England and Wales. It will go beyond this, delivering theoretical approaches and examples of best practice in this field from across Europe, in particular Scandinavia, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The aims of the course are:

  • To introduce the challenges in addressing the future of ultra-low energy and zero carbon building design and construction as set out in EU Legislation and UK Governments 2016 Action Policy for Zero-Carbon Building.
  • To develop understanding of design, construction and delivery of high performance buildings from a holistic point of view by working simultaneously from Macro to Micro scales and in tandem with industry on live R+D prototypes.
  • To develop qualitative design and quantitative analytical skills pertaining to high performance building design, evaluation and construction

Who should study this course

This course is relevant for individuals who plan, design, build, commission, maintain or manage buildings and the built environment.

These include:

  • Architects;
  • Engineers;
  • Planners;
  • Developers;
  • Regulators/surveyors;
  • Clients;
  • Facilities Managers;
  • Construction Managers;
  • Research Students;
  • Research and Development Organisations;
  • Specialist Consultants;
  • Contractors;
  • and Manufacturers.

However, due to the broad interdisciplinary requirements of this sector it is envisaged that the course will impact on Energy and Forestry Sectors and the broader built environment areas as these are seen as being intrinsic to building a regional low-carbon construction industry of the future. Design and construction professionals who wish to broaden their knowledge in the delivery of ultra-low energy and zero-carbon buildings will gain cutting edge know-how and expertise across a broad range of fields form macro to micro issues.

The course will also have relevance to the non-professional specialist skills base and will widen access for specialist trades intrinsic to the delivery and construction of ultra-low energy buildings by investigating in detail best practice in construction methods and principles.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months

Course contact details

Dr Neil Burford
+44 (0)1382 385368