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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Building Physics and Systems
Module Code MM419
School School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Reihaneh Aghamolaei
Semester 2: Reihaneh Aghamolaei
Autumn: Reihaneh Aghamolaei
Module TeachersReihaneh Aghamolaei
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 7.5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination

The building sector is responsible for approximately 40% of total energy consumption in European countries, offering significant opportunities for improved energy and sustainability performance. Therefore, building renovation measures have been widely used as a cost-effective approach to reducing building energy consumption and greenhouse emissions. It is important however that the potential impact of energy efficiency be studied holistically, taking into account other metrics of life quality such as indoor environmental quality, thermal comfort, health and the general well-being of occupants. Therefore, sustainable buildings should be energy efficient, thermally comfortable, healthy, and suit the purpose for which they were designed. This module focuses on the principles and applications of building physics and energy systems that support designing and modelling these sustainable buildings. The main objectives are to provide students with the knowledge, methods and tools to understand the need for suitable indoor environmental conditions, while mitigating the impact of the built environment on the natural environment.

Learning Outcomes

1. Critically contextualize the role of the most recent developments and trends in the built environment which are aimed at driving sustainability.
2. Understand and apply advanced physical principles that underpin building physics and complex energy systems.
3. Examine and critically assess green building methodologies (e.g., LEED, BREEAM), novel building performance models and smart building management systems.
4. Investigate and quantify the scale and energy requirements and of complex energy systems in buildings.
5. Develop a critical awareness and understanding of key differences between conventional and new renewable energy systems in the context of building requirements and critically review the literature with regard to the state of the art in energy systems.
6. Analyse the role of other disciplines (architect, structural engineer, HVAC engineer, electrical engineer etc.) involved in design, construction and operation of buildings.
7. Select appropriate methods to simulate advanced indoor environmental quality measures including thermal comfort and air quality to optimise buildings’ performance

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture242 hours lecture per week
Laboratory12Tutorial/computer lab sessions 1 hour per week
Fieldwork45Assignment completion
Independent Study106No Description
Total Workload: 187

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Building requirements
End-user (residential, manufacturing, educational, specialised e.g. cleanrooms, healthcare or data-centres) and standards/regulations (health and comfort, productiveness, air-tightness, energy rating)

Sustainability and energy efficiency in buildings: principles, standards, rating schemes
Energy in Buildings Directive, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)

Physical aspects, processes and services
Electrical power; Heat and mass transfer in buildings; Materials; Indoor air quality; Lighting; Heating, Ventilation, and Air conditioning (HVAC); Renewable systems; Smart management systems

Holistic building performance modelling
Computational building modelling and performance simulation including Energy simulation (consumption and generation), Indoor environmental quality assessment, Building energy management systems

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment20% Examination Weight80%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentReview the current literature, and present the state of the art for sustainable buildings and energy systems.20%n/a
AssignmentDevelop a building performance model including energy consumption and generation, indoor environmental quality and management systems and report on the building performance for various energy systems and indoor condition scenarios.30%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Hugo Hens: 2017, Building Physics - Heat, Air and Moisture: Fundamentals and Engineering Methods with Examples and Exercises, 3rd, Ernst & Sohn: a Wiley Brand,
  • Edited By Dejan Mumovic, Mat Santamouris,: 2019, A Handbook of Sustainable Building Design and Engineering: An Integrated Approach to Energy, Health and Operational Performance,
  • L. D. Danny Harvey: 2015, A Handbook on Low-Energy Buildings and District-Energy Systems, 1st, Routledge, 9781138965508
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
SSEBEng in Mechanical & Sustainability Eng
SSETBSc in Mechanical & Sustainability Tech

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