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Sustainability in Energy Provision and Demand Management

Master of Science | PG Certificate | PG Diploma

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To tackle climate change we need a transformation in our relationship with energy. Our MSc Sustainability in Energy Provision and Demand Management explores this on a local, national and international scale. 

Looking at how net zero greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved through large scale investment in renewable and low carbon energy sources, you will also study the challenges to this and gain an in-depth understanding of effective energy solutions, energy efficiency and intelligent management of resources.

Key areas of study

On this course, you will examine renewable energy provision, its application and management and energy demand and management in low and zero-carbon buildings.

Some of the topics you’ll study include:

  • The science and engineering behind sustainable energy
  • Global and local energy markets
  • Energy and resource management
  • The role of decision-makers at different levels in achieving energy security and sustainability
  • Key energy technologies and new advances in energy storage, smart grids and meters
  • Effective energy management through computer modelling, data collection and analysis
  • Sustainable heat and electricity provision. the policies and economic backgrounds that could help or hinder the rollout of these technologies
  • Justice, ethics and responsibilities in global energy provision
  • Existing local, national and global thermal provision systems
justin mason CAT student

CAT Stories: Justin Mason

After working in the energy sector for 30 years with the last 17 in oil and gas, Justin began his studies at CAT in 2020 to facilitate a move into the renewable energy sector. Through the course, he has gained further knowledge of the issues at hand in the energy transition and hopes to use this in both UK and global spheres through his independent electrical engineering consultancy, Trydanol Solutions when he graduates.

Modules

When studying this course as an MSc you will need to study the two introductory core modules and three other core taught modules, plus choose two optional taught modules before undertaking a dissertation.  Depending on your experience and prior knowledge, our ‘Energy Flows in Buildings’ module is a recommended optional module. Depending on your pathway through the course, you will also complete the 15-credit Applied Research Design module in the year prior to starting your dissertation. Please click on the descriptions below for information about each module.

Core modules

Introduction to Sustainability and Adaptation

This introductory 15-credit core module starts in September and must be taken at the beginning of your course, no matter which route you take through your studies.

In this module, we will establish the overarching concepts and theoretical grounding in sustainability, resilience and transformational adaptation, contextualise the view of current environmental changes, and explore the interconnectedness of the factors involved with these changes.

There will be an in-depth look at the wider implications of transformational adaptation on social structures and sustainability issues, including land use, trade, resource management, energy provision, governance, health and economic systems through a critical exploration of the primary considerations related to sustainability and environmental change.

The module is followed either by our ‘Sustainability and Adaptation Concepts in Practice’ module or ‘Introduction to Sustainability in Energy Provision and Demand Management’ module starting in November, depending on your programme. 

This is a 15 credit module.

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Introduction to Sustainability in Energy Provision and Demand Management

This introductory 15-credit core module starts in November and must be taken following the ‘Introduction to Sustainability and Adaptation’ module which starts in September, at the very beginning of your course, no matter which route you take through your studies.

In this module, you will contextualise energy demand and the technological, environmental and societal benefits and limitations of future energy provision. It will be taught through a variety of lectures, seminars, practical workshops, presentations, demonstrations and tutorials.

You will also gain a critical understanding of energy demand monitoring and analysis and many key principles of the sustainability sector, including life cycle analysis, environmental impact assessment and energy returned on energy invested. 

This is a 15 credit module.

The module specification for this module will be published shortly.

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

 

Low and Zero Carbon Buildings

The aim of this module is to give students a deeper understanding of the principles and consequences of energy flows and mass flows in buildings, in terms of the materials used, the building’s orientation and the local climatic conditions.

You will gain a sound appreciation of how energy transfers in buildings can be manually calculated, modelled and simulated in computer modelling suites, and how this is vital to help optimise design for energy efficiency.

You will be able to further hone a systematic, holistic, multidisciplinary and analytical approach to the critical appraisal of passive and energy efficiency design (including Passivhaus designs), heat and moisture flows in new builds and renovations, with respect to the demands of climate change adaptation and the principles of sustainability.

You will study a range of topics, including retrofit techniques and challenges, thermal bridges, thermal mass in buildings, post-occupancy evaluation of building performance, airtightness, ventilation and cooling, solar gains, movement of moisture in building fabric and computer simulation techniques for understanding thermal and hygroscopic building performances.

This is a 15 credit module. It is a recommended module for Green Building students, dependent on experience and prior knowledge.

The module specification for this module will be published shortly.

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Sustainable Electricity

In this module, students will be analysing the advantages and limitations of existing electrical provision systems in a local, national and global context, along with the future electrical demand in short, medium and long-term contexts. 

You will gain an understanding of analysis and scenario development of the functions and limitations of sustainable electricity provision systems and the relevance of local, national and global energy provision. 

Main topics of study will include understanding key technologies (wind, PV, hydro, etc.), electrical energy storage systems, the needs, challenges and constraints of grid connection and the futuring of electrical energy provision and demand in selected nations.

This is a 15 credit module.

The module specification for this module will be published shortly.

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Sustainable Heating and Cooling

You will analyse the advantages and limitations of existing thermal provision systems in a local, national and global context in this module. Through synthesising and developing scenarios of future thermal energy provision you will look at energy demand in short, medium and long-term contexts. 

You will also gain an understanding of existing thermal systems (oil, gas, biomass, air-conditioning, etc.) and emerging thermal systems (heat pumps, hydrogen, geothermal, district heating, thermal storage, etc.), including their functions, benefits, and limitations. 

The module will also allow you to demonstrate a critical understanding of the principles of thermal provision in buildings, including the benefits and limitations of transforming thermal energy provision systems.

 This is a 15 credit module.

The module specification for this module will be published shortly.

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Applied Research Design

This module, ‘Applied Research Design’, will support students in building knowledge, skills and literacy in research design and methodologies in relation to interventions, projects and applied research. It will also support students in developing a proposal for following either a conventional dissertation route or incorporating a design element within the dissertation. 

The module will typically include a study visit on-site at CAT, or equivalent by distance, as scheduled in the academic calendar. It will also deliver relevant research skills for students during their final year of taught modules through attending and watching research seminars.

The Applied Research Design module will include several opportunities for enquiry and problem-based group projects in the lead up to the dissertation module. 

All students will be required to carry out a teamwork-based project where they will gain experience in the research methods applied to their discipline and their use in real-world settings, through current live and applied projects. 

This is a 15 credit module.

The module specification for this module for our courses awarded by the University of East London will be published shortly.

Read more about the dissertation module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University 7521CATSCI - Applied Research Design - LJMU

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

MSc Dissertation

The dissertation involves designing, investigating, and presenting an extended and independently conceived piece of research on a topic of your choosing within a field of study relevant to your course. 

During the module you will demonstrate the ability to explore a relevant research topic in-depth, with appropriate research methodology, displaying creativity and skills in critical analysis. Students will submit a dissertation (18,000 words maximum) at the end of the module. For students interested in focusing on sustainable building or design, part of the dissertation could also involve a design element.

Before beginning the module, students will be required to have gained approval for a Research Proposal (RP) on a subject from within the study area of their Programme, in consultation with one or more members of the teaching team and as a result of group discussions around initial ideas. The RP will be developed during the core ‘Applied Research Design’ module, which will cover research philosophy, approaches, strategy, design methods and analysis techniques.

Teaching and learning take place through tutorial-supported work on the preparation of this major piece of academic discourse. After an initial seminar group meeting involving other students, tuition is mainly on an individual basis.

This is a 60 credit module.

The module specification for this module for our courses awarded by the University of East London will be published shortly.

Read more about the dissertation module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University 7520CATSCI - Dissertation LJMU

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Optional modules

Introduction to Politics and Economics of the Environment

This module introduces students to roles of power, policy, agency and economic structures that produce crises in the context of the environment, and our responses to these crises. 

Through a range of topics including political and economic tools for change, environmental justice and inequalities and environment and systems change across global, national, and local scale, you will study the theoretical underpinnings to understanding the importance of political and economic systems to transformational change. 

The module takes an interdisciplinary, critical approach to examine how unequal power relations have been constructed, and their environmental and societal consequences. It will consider the societal consequences of unsustainable governance of nature and the built environment. 

We will also draw on current and historic social and environmental debates and events to illustrate the application of a range of critical analytical approaches, such as political ecology, discourse, global political economics, and policy studies. 

This is a 15 credit module.

The module specification for this module for our courses awarded by the University of East London will be published shortly.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University: 7502CATSCI - Introduction to Politics and Economics of the Environment LJMU

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Cities and Communities

This module will introduce students to the complexities of cities and communities and their local and global interconnections. You will examine how these conditions interact with the task to transform, reclaim, and reproduce the city and built environment amid global environmental change

The module will develop your knowledge of current research and discourse concerning adaptation planning and sustainability of cities and communities, and their place in current and future environmental contexts.

You will gain a thorough understanding of key elements, including infrastructures, maintenance issues, energy budgets, material flows, waste disposal, transportation and the social dynamics that underlie the development and management of communities and cities.

Following a critical assessment of the complex factors that influence the provision of sustainability and adaptation planning within urban and community focused environments, you will be able to recognise and rationalise the prospects for innovative research and practice for regeneration in the built environment.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7105 - Cities and Communities UEL

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University: 7504CATSCI - Cities and Communities LJMU

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Energy Flows in Buildings

In this module you will learn about the complex nature of the interrelationships that exist between occupant comfort, energy flows in buildings and energy efficient building design. By exploring this through theory and applying this in practice through expert-led practical workshops, you will be able to define how energy flows and energy efficient building design relates to adaptation and sustainability in the built environment.

You will develop a systematic, holistic, multidisciplinary and analytical approach to the critical appraisal of energy-efficient design, heat flows and provision of thermal comfort with respect to the demands of climate change adaptation and the principles of sustainability.

You will cover a range of topics, including thermal comfort, thermal mass, heat transfers through building fabric and determination of U values, ventilation, sunlight and solar gain, passive cooling, climate influences on design and future climate change considerations, the impact of moisture on building fabric, quantification of building performance, embodied energy and carbon of building materials and the societal benefits of energy efficient buildings. 

This is a 15 credit module. It is a recommended module for both Green Building and Sustainability in Energy Provision and Demand Management students, dependent on experience and prior knowledge. 

The module specification for this module will be published shortly.

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

International Zero CO2 Energy

In this module, we will analyse existing energy-related CO2 emissions in a global context and form a critical appreciation of Minority World and Majority World energy demand, provision and resource availability, and the interconnectedness between these systems. 

Through lectures, seminars, practical workshops, presentations, demonstrations, discussions and tutorials you will be studying the environmental and social impacts of energy provision, as experienced across international and interregional boundaries. This will include analysing and developing scenarios of future global energy provision and demand in short, medium and long-term contexts. 

You will also consider justice, ethics and responsibilities in global energy provision, including the role of states, corporations and the third sector in energy provision transitions. 

This is a 15 credit module.

The module specification for this module will be published shortly.

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Our timetable of module dates changes year on year. You can view our most recent version of the Timetable, Programme Specifications, Course Handbooks and Current Student Information on our Current Students page.

Thermal camera with image of a person on the screen

Fees and funding

The cost of studying one of our full MSc courses is £7,310 for Home Students or £8,720 for Overseas students. Please visit our Fees and Funding page to see the tuition fees for other study levels, additional fees and funding opportunities.
Alan Owen in front of a whiteboard with a table of results

Entry requirements

We ask for a Bachelor’s degree or knowledge and skills equivalent to degree standard.

An appropriate level of numeracy and science are required for this programme.

IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required for applicants whose first language is not English.

Why study at CAT?

Benefit from over 40 years’ sustainability experience

CAT is a world-leading eco centre and a pioneer in researching and teaching practical solutions for sustainability, with nearly 50 years’ experience in low-impact building, energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable food production, natural resource management and more.

Immersive or distance learning

Students can decide whether they want to study a module on-site or via distance learning.

Our taught modules offer an immersive learning experience through lectures, talks, seminars and workshops delivered by our expert in-house staff, with specialist insights from visiting lecturers from industry and academia. Practical sessions during on-site study visits at CAT, allow you to get hands-on with sustainable building materials, ecological assessments and energy efficiency. 

Many modules are shared with our other postgraduate courses, providing you with a rich learning experience. Our teaching resources are available through Microsoft Teams for students taking the module by distance learning and on-site, creating a space for students to interact and share ideas and expertise, adding to the immersive learning environment

Flexible study options

Courses can also be studied full or part-time, and our course structure allows you to choose the mode and level of study that suits you, helping you fit your studies around your life and existing commitments.

Full-time study at MSc level will allow you to complete the course in 18 months. Part-time study at MSc level will allow you to complete the course over a recommended three years.

Interested in studying this course? Join us for our next open day, contact us for more information or apply today.

This course is created and delivered by CAT and is validated by the University of East London.

          

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Apply now

Our MSc courses application deadline for September 2022 entry has now passed although some of our MSc courses still have some limited spaces and will be considered on a first-come first-served basis.

We will be opening applications for September 2023 in late summer. If you have further questions or need support with your application then do get in touch.