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Energy Retrofit Technology

As EU and domestic directives and regulations demand higher levels of energy performance, and with the failure of existing building stock to meet even current building regulation standards, the retrofitting of existing building stock will emerge as perhaps the most significant market for the construction industry in the coming years.

With the majority of architects, architectural technologists, engineers and building surveyors having completed their education with limited coverage of the theory and practice of energy performance and sustainability, and with limited training in computer modelling and predictive digital analysis, a need exists for an applied programme of learning which addresses this knowledge and skills deficit.

The DT774b MSc in Energy Retrofit Technology (MSc ERT) programme is a 2.5 year part time programme, delivered over five semesters, and which has been designed to enable professionally qualified architects, architectural technologists, engineers and building surveyors to develop skills centred on digital analysis, energy performance and retrofitting of multi-unit residential buildings using a variety of digital modelling and environmental design software applications.

The MSc ERT programme is set at Level 9 in the National Framework of Qualifications. Content is focused on the development of knowledge and skills in energy + thermal performance assessment and energy use + fabric heat loss. Real life projects are used to explore performance ranges from Part L compliance to nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB). Projects explore environmental design principles and impacts, energy systems and renewable energy, and retrofit technologies. There is also a focus on hygrothermal modelling to assess the effects of interstitial condensation on building fabric and energy performance.

The MSc ERT programme comprises all three elements of a three-part nested MSc in Energy Retrofit Technology programme.

The first element is the DT774 Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Analysis & Energy Retrofit which focusses on the multi-unit residential design context. On successful completion of the PG Cert (DAER) programme the student will be able to:
•Construct a complex data-rich digital model an existing multi-unit residential building of medium size using the medium of Building Information Modelling.

•Analyse a digital building model using a variety of interoperable computer applications to simulate and predict environmental performance.

•Critically analyse an existing building of medium size to determine under-performance and failure in terms of thermal performance and energy consumption.

•Develop energy retrofit strategies to achieve performance requirements at macro and micro levels.

•Develop technical design solutions which address underlying scientific principles, energy performance criteria and buildability with cognisance for cost implications, and which address energy-related legislative requirements.

•Use a building information model to create a technical information package comprising working drawings at a variety of scales with related performance schedules.

•Contribute to the development of a BIM model and engage collaboratively within in a design team using a BIM application.

The second element is the DT774a Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Analysis & Energy Retrofit which focusses on the non-domestic design context, using PHPP and NEAP / SBEM / dynamic simulation. On successful completion of the PG Dip (DAER) programme the student will be able to:
•Analyse energy use patterns and profiles of non-domestic buildings and apply a critical understanding of low energy design and retrofit strategies.

•Utilise appropriate energy analysis tools to carry out an energy profile of complex non-domestic buildings with an understanding of non-domestic energy rating calculation methods.

•Assess and model the energy, carbon and environmental comfort impacts of a range of appropriate energy retrofit interventions using a range of energy analysis tools, including dynamic simulation.

•Propose a range of optimal retrofit interventions to achieve specific technical, energy, legislative and architectural performance requirements.

•Assess and compare retrofit design solutions in terms of scientific principles, energy performance criteria, energy-related legislative requirements, buildability, capital cost, energy savings and life cycle costing.
•Record and present project case study using appropriate academic report writing conventions.

The third element is the DT774b MSc in Energy Retrofit Technology which focusses on a research project and dissertation. On successful completion of the MSc ERT programme the student will be able to:
•Engage in high level research in the area of energy performance design and retrofit technologies.

Entry requirements

The MSc ERT programme is open to the following categories of applicants:
- Professionally qualified Architects.

- Professionally qualified Building Surveyors.

- Professionally qualified Engineers, with experience in building design.

- Graduates of professionally-accredited Level 7 architectural technology programmes with the requisite practice experience to qualify for professional membership of a professional body for architectural technologists and either of a Level 8 BSc (Hons) qualification in architectural technology or a Level 9 academic qualification in a related discipline.

- Graduates of professionally-accredited Level 7 architectural technology programmes who are or have been members of a recognised professional body for architectural technologists, subject to demonstration of 7 years accredited and relevant practice experience at a senior level.

- Candidates with an equivalent qualification and experience, subject to interview.


2.5 years part-time.

Careers or further progression

MScERT graduates will be uniquely qualified to research and assess the energy performance of a range of building typologies including multi-unit residential and non-domestic typologies measured against national performance metrics.

They will be able to research and advise on insulation options assessed as safe in accordance with the best international standards and detail, specify and oversee the installation to ensure performance targets are met. Graduates will understand the dynamics of thermal, moisture and air movement through building fabric and design the optimal balance of all three to ensure the integrity of any retrofit solution proposed and protect the structural longevity of the building fabric. In short they will be leaders in the field of retrofit assessment and design. Their skills will be equally applicable to new build work where the principles of building fabric design are significantly more easily accommodated.

With energy analysis and BIM skills building on and enhancing their construction industry experience, graduates will be ideally placed to secure employment in the area of energy retrofitting of the existing building stock – an emerging and expansive field of construction activity across the European Union, in response to the recast Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, 2010.

MRIAI and RIAI (Arch Tech) graduates will be eligible to apply for RIAI Sustainability Accreditation.

Further enquiries

Cormac Allen - Assistant Head of School
Dublin School of Architecture
College of Engineering & Built Environment
Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton Street, Dublin 1
Ph: +353 1 402 3691

Subjects taught

Semester 1:
BIM for Retrofit:
This module will introduce the learner to a building information modelling application, in this case Autodesk Revit. This application will be used to develop skills in creating a digital building model. The digital building model will be used to supplement and illustrate digital analysis for energy performance options for retrofit building projects. The module will emphasise BIM ‘consumption’ more so than BIM ‘generation’. Learners will be challenged to engage with pre developed BIM modules of existing buildings, modifying and developing the BIM model to add retrofit performance characteristics and data.

Energy Analysis for Retrofit:
The Energy Analysis for Retrofit module provides learners with an understanding of key issues and principles involved in the energy retrofit of existing buildings in Ireland, in a residential building context. The module examines energy retrofit strategies and analysis tools in a domestic context, with an emphasis on thermal energy and a focus on limitation of heat loss via a building form, layout, orientation, envelope and fabric.

Semester 2:
Retrofit Technology Project: Residential:
The project focus of the Semester 2 Retrofit Technology Project: Residential module is on domestic multi-unit residential housing characterized by receiving contexts with steady state performance design parameters, and with an emphasis on the Irish technical design and legislative context.

The Retrofit Technology Project: Residential module provides for the further development and application of Semester 1 ‘BIM for Retrofit’ and ‘Energy Analysis for Retrofit’ module learning to the development of energy performance strategies at macro and micro levels for a retrofit technology project, and for a consideration of life cycle cost and value management.

Semester 3:
Simulation for Retrofit:
This simulation for Retrofit module will develop a learner’s ability to use a dynamic simulation application. The primary dynamic simulation application will be used to develop skills to interrogate energy analysis design options to inform building design iterations in the areas of natural lighting, ventilation, heating loads, cooling loads, artificial lighting and carbon calculation.

Energy Retrofit Project: Non-residential:
The Retrofit Technology Project,: Non-residential module, provides an introduction to the Passive House Planning Pack software, and its application to a small-scale commercial or institutional building case study.

The aim of the module is to provide learners with the opportunity to develop and test deep retrofit design proposals which deliver the required EnerPHit energy targets and, at the same timer, achieve specific performance targets. This module challenges the learner to regard performance measurement and the appropriate development of performance targets as intrinsic to the delivery of buildings of architectural quality through the iterative design process.

Semester 4:
Energy Retrofit Project: Office:
The Retrofit Technology Project: Office module provides for the development and application of knowledge and skills in the energy analysis and retrofit of non-domestic buildings using an office case study, providing learners with the opportunity to develop deep retrofit design proposals for an example non domestic building (office use) centred on carbon emissions reduction and energy reduction targets, utilising a range of energy analysis tools, including dynamic simulation tools, daylight and lighting analysis, ventilation and HVAC assessment. The project will be individually supported by related technical research and design solutions.

Research Methods:
The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of the nature of, and the different approaches to, contemporary research and support participants in planning and writing a research proposal within an applied construction context at postgraduate level.

Semester 5:
Research Project and Dissertation:
In the Research Project and Dissertation module, the learner is required to propose and develop research of their choice, based on the topic of Energy Retrofit Technology. The learner can use the knowledge acquired in the preceding modules and apply their practice-based experience, to develop an academic position in relation to a specific area of interest. The learner shall critically evaluate literature, gather and analyse relevant information and prepare conclusions that are open to examination.


Dublin School of Architecture, College of Engineering and Built Environment, Linenhall, DIT Bolton Street, Dublin 1.

Qualification Awarded:
The Dublin Institute of Technology’s major award of MSc in Energy Retrofit Technology will be awarded to participants who successfully pass the examinations and assessments of the programme.

Assessment method

The programme is assessed through a range of techniques including: project work; group work, assignments, and presentations.

Application date

Closing Date: 30th June 2017

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