XClose

Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources

Home
Menu

Sustainable Built Environments, Energy and Resources BSc and MEng

Help build a better tomorrow by making the world’s cities, towns and buildings more sustainable, healthier places to live.

Sustainable Built Environments, Energy and Resources BSc and MEng

On this page:

Programme highlights | About the programme | What you’ll study | Modules | Careers | About you | Teaching staff | Accreditation | Why choose The Bartlett? 

Programme highlights


New undergraduate degree launching in the 2023/24 academic year

To mitigate the climate change and its effects on the environment and humankind, we must adapt our built environments to become environmentally sustainable, climate-resilient and resource-efficient. This BSc and MEng programme provides the vital skills needed to help design and create a more sustainable future, and is the first of its kind to bring together the three primary aspects of sustainability: social, economic and environmental. The course covers a broad range of topics, so students may choose which field they go on to specialise in.

You’ll learn:

  • Social, environmental and economic theories, and how these can be used to address climate change, achieve net-zero emissions, and improve health and wellbeing in the built environment.
  • The key challenges facing sustainable built environments, including heritage, health and culture, and how to overcome them.
  • How to use data analysis, modelling and advanced decision-making processes to design, construct, operate sustainable buildings, neighbourhoods and cities.
  • How to use important digital tools and software used in sustainability to provide creative solutions to real-world problems.
  • Essential maths and statistics required to work in sustainability, learning through real-life examples with additional support provided.
  • Leadership, critical thinking, communication, problem-solving and other valuable transferrable skills.

Taught by a range of world-leading experts, students will learn vital knowledge and skills through lectures, practical workshops, projects and seminars while benefiting from the faculty’s cutting-edge research, links to other organisations and central London location.

The time to act on climate change is now. Will you help society tackle this global challenge by becoming a leader in sustainability?

 Watch our virtual open day

Register your interest

About the programme

As we face the climate crisis, there is an urgent need in the world for sustainability experts and leaders to play a vital role in adapting our built environments. This solution-oriented programme is unique as it combines every aspect of sustainability, from social and environmental science to resource economics and engineering, providing students with the complex real-world skills needed for decisive action.

Students can take the programme as either a BSc (Hons) and a MEng. 

  • Students who wish to gain a broad understanding of sustainability issues and specialise at a later date should take the three-year BSc (Hons) pathway, as it covers a broad and diverse range of topics.
  • Students who plan to specialise as sustainability engineers should apply for the four-year MEng pathway, which will give them accreditation they need to become chartered engineers (CEng), in addition to covering the topics on the BSc (Hons) programme. 

MEng students will be fulfilling the ECUK (Engineering Council UK) requirements for a Chartered Engineer (CEng). This new programme will be actively seeking the ECUK accreditation via CIBSE. At the end of their second year, BSc (Hons) students who decide they wish to specialise as sustainability engineers have the option to transfer to the MEng programme. 

Watch our animation to find out more:

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://youtu.be/CIkHcQmoH3w

 

What you'll study

The core programme comprises 15 modules shared by both BSc (Hons) students and MEng students. 

In addition to the core modules:

  • BSc (Hons) students will choose two electives and complete a dissertation
  • MEng students (those who enrol or choose to stay on for a fourth year) will have four extra modules, with two chosen electives and a dissertation

Topics studied will include:

  • Climate change and how to reduce and mitigate its effects through smart engineering design, resource management and policy
  • Engineering zero-carbon built environments
  • Data analytics, modelling and simulation skills 
  • Safeguarding the health, wellbeing and safety of the people living in the built environment
  • The economics of resources, energy and environmental systems

This course puts theory into practice, introducing students to new concepts as they learn through workshops and projects. 

Unique to this programme are the 'Sustainable Buildings' and the ‘Sustainable Cities' Challenges, comprising six hands-on modules where students address real-world challenges from sustainable buildings to sustainable cities at both local and international levels. The modules are taught by two co-leaders – one who is a specialist in socio-economic issues, and one in environmental and engineering issues. 

Assessment methods will be diverse and vary depending on the module, but are likely to include exams, individual and group coursework assignments, and dissertations. Students may choose to take part in site visits, fieldwork, and work placements, which will not be assessed. 
 
Students will be taught primarily in Bloomsbury in central London and have access to Here East, UCL’s innovative new space in east London. This multidisciplinary campus offers cutting-edge facilities and a collaborative learning environment, adding value and context to many of the topics covered on the programme.  

By the end of your study, you’ll have:

  • The skills needed to develop, design and construct safe and sustainable built environments at building to city scales, from scenario development to modelling as well as implementing wide-scale solutions at both a local and global level. 
  • Joined a new generation of professionals in the fast-growing field of sustainable built environments.
  • Gained practical, hands-on experience of real-world global sustainability challenges such as climate change and resource efficiency.
  • Put your new practical skills to the test in numerous hands-on modules including the Sustainable Cities/Buildings Challenge.
  • Learned how to use key industry software 
  • Gained many transferable skills including advanced leadership and communication skills

Delivered by a unique team of specialists, the programme combines the strengths of The Bartlett’s School of Environment, Energy and Resources’ four Institutes: The Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, The Institute for Sustainable Resources, The Institute for Sustainable Heritage and The Energy Institute.


Modules

Both BSc (Hons) and MEng students follow the same programme for 2.5 years. After this, the BSc (Hons) students complete the remaining half year, for 3 years in total. 

MEng students will continue for another 1.5 years, for 4 years in total.

Year 1

Core modules

Mathematics & Statistics Foundations for Sustainability (15 credits) 

This module helps students represent and manipulate data on sustainability by improving their knowledge of probability, statistics and linear algebra, while developing their data analysis skills. It includes an introduction to both Microsoft Excel and R, an open-source programme widely used for data analysis. The module will also introduce mathematical concepts through the case studies used in the Sustainable Cities Challenges module.

Environmental and Resource Economics (15 credits)

This module introduces the main theories of environmental, ecological and resource economics, and will be brought to life by a series of case studies covering both UK and international perspectives. 

Topics students will be introduced to include:

  • Economics of climate change and planetary boundaries
  • Renewable and non-renewable resources
  • Macro-economics and the environment
  • Tools for environmental policy and transition management growth, sustainability, and sustainable development
  • Economic analysis for policy and transformations
  • The science of the economy-resource-environment system
  • The theory of global environmental policy and polycentric governance
Sustainable Cities Challenges: Resources and Systems (30 credits)

This module introduces some of the key issues affecting urban sustainability, including resources, systems and communities. 

A series of workshops will introduce students to concepts around:

  • Equity and prosperity 
  • Limits to growth
  • Geopolitics of cities
  • Urban water and wastewater
  • Energy and transport systems

These topics will be explored from an international, multi-cultural perspective. You’ll be encouraged to consider the roles played by city authorities and businesses in making decisions about the build environment. The module will culminate in a group project where students’ new learnings can be applied. 

This is project-based module that addresses key the sustainability challenges of building in cities. It will be taught by two module co-leaders; one specialised in socio-economic issues, and one specialised in environmental, technical and engineering issues.

Energy and Environmental Systems Fundamentals (15 credits)

This module introduces the fundamentals of engineering, helping students understand how a building’s efficiency, safety and comfort can be impacted by how it’s built and maintained. It will also cover environmental performance and how we can reduce a building’s impact on the environment by predicting and influencing its energy use. This module includes practical workshops at our laboratories in HereEast.

Sustainable Policy: Principles & Evaluation (15 credits)

Explore the impact that the law and policies have on environmental challenges. Students will study policies on local, national, and international levels, and learn how to design fairer, more sustainable policies on a range of scales. You’ll also study culturally diverse case studies around the design of environmental legal and policy frameworks, with a focus on inclusivity.

Topics include:

  • Environmental values and valuation and impact assessment
  • Benefit-cost analysis and discounting
  • Indicators of sustainability and sustainable development, including footprints
  • Environmental systems and their governance
  • International agreements concerning the environment
  • National legal and policy frameworks concerning the environment
Sustainable Buildings Challenges: Whole Life Performance (30 credits)

This module explores how we can use Whole Life Cycle (WLC) assessments to calculate and reduce a building’s carbon impact, from the initial manufacture of its materials to its eventual demolition and disposal. It will cover planning application requirements and methods of assessment, and teach students how to present data so it supports innovation, design, eco-labelling and green certificates. Students will also explore how to encourage local communities to push for sustainability when speaking to developers and local councils. 

This is a project-based module that addresses key the sustainability challenges of building in cities. It will be taught by two module co-leaders; one specialised in socio-economic issues, and one specialised in environmental, technical and engineering issues.

 Year 2 

Core modules

Machine Learning and Predictive Data Analytics (15 credits)

This module teaches useful machine learning algorithms, analytical skills and methodologies needed for large-scale data analysis through a series of case studies. These tools can be used to tackle sustainability and built environment issues, such as:

  • Machine learning model-development basics, including hyperparameters, validation sets, overfitting and underfitting
  • Regression, including support vector machine and Gaussian processes
  • Clustering, including k-means clustering
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Advanced topics, including deep neural networks and convolutional neural networks

This module will also include an introduction to the Python programming language, so students can eventually write their own problem-solving programmes.

Assessing and Managing Environmental Resources (15 credits) 

This module explores how we can assess resources, from their sustainability to how they flow through the economy, while teaching students how to make data-based decisions on how to use them.

 Students will be introduced new concepts like planetary boundaries and regional scarcities, and gain experience with tools like life-cycle analysis, material flow analysis, indicators and integrated assessments. Students will also study sustainable resource management strategies, and how to critically examine future pathways using scenario analysis and foresight. 

Sustainable Cities Challenges: Health, Wellbeing and Climate Change (30 credits)

Learn about cities, the communities within them, and how both are impacted by environmental changes and social inequalities. Students will explore how built and natural infrastructure can be integrated into urban areas, while retaining healthy, inclusive spaces for inhabitants. Workshops will cover: 

  • Environmental impact assessments
  • Technical evaluation
  • Institutional innovation
  • Structural reorganisation of knowledge-action systems

The module will also introduce ENVI-met, the environmental analysis and urban planning software widely used to create sustainable living conditions in changing environments. Students’ new skills will then be applied to their own projects on health, wellbeing and climate change in cities.

This is a project-based module that addresses key sustainability challenges of building in cities. It will be taught by two module co-leaders; one specialised in socio-economic issues, and one specialised in environmental, technical and engineering issues.

Additional modules 

Energy and Environmental Systems Modelling (15 credits)

This module focuses on how energy and environment scenarios are developed, from their policy objectives and urban scales to the data and models used to build them. Students will also learn how scenarios are used to inform policy. Taught by international experts, students also explore how diversity of ethnicity, culture and nationality is crucial in the development of energy and environmental scenarios.

Systems Thinking and Participatory Approaches for Sustainability (15 credits)

This module explores the different methods of decision-making, and how to create change with policies, communities, research and industry representatives. Students will look at real-world case studies to explore the many ways that systems-based thinking can overcome major challenges. The decision-making methods covered will teach students how to tackle complex and evolving issues in the fact of uncertainty and unpredictable situations.

Sustainable Buildings Challenges: Heritage, Retrofit and Reuse (30 credits)

This module will explore how sustainable strategies can be used to conserve, reuse and refit heritage buildings. Students will learn the most efficient ways to use the resources available, from environmental to economic and social. They will also be introduced to heritage as a cultural and scientific construct, and study ways to protect or improve a building’s sustainability by controlling its local environment and energy usage. An introduction to retrofitting homes with insulation and energy-conserving systems will be provided through the PHPP tool. 

This is a project-based module that addresses key the sustainability challenges of building in cities. It will be taught by two module co-leaders; one specialised in socio-economic issues, and one specialised in environmental, technical and engineering issues.

Year 3

Additional modules 

Decision-making Data Analytics (15 credits)

This module provides an introduction to the mathematical methods and models needed for analysing the built environment. Students will learn the methods needed to work with: 

  • Uncertain analysis of models (parametric and structural) 
  • Optimisation models (statistical and dynamic) 
  • Models to support built environment decision-making, with cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness and multi-criteria evaluations

Students will also receive an introduction to the programming language Python, gaining experience in organising and writing their own programmes for practical problem-solving. 

Sustainability, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (15 credits)

This module explores the ways that sustainability can be used to encourage inclusivity and equity in business, including innovation, entrepreneurship and ‘intrapreneurship’.

Topics covered will include:

  • Creating sustainable economic, social and environmental values
  • Identifying and evaluating opportunities
  • Persuading people to support novel ideas
  • Assembling resources and upscaling 
  • Sustainability risk management and novel pathways
  • Sustainability accounting and reporting
  • Strategic planning for sustainability improvement in cities and business
  • Energy sectors and sustainability
  • Land- and water-intensive sectors 
  • Technology for the built environment and sustainability 
  • Media and social media
Sustainable Cities Challenges: Smart and Zero Carbon (30 credits)

This module will teach students to develop strategies for smart and zero-carbon urban environments across a diverse range of cultures. They will learn how heritage and community participation can contribute to the sustainability of urban areas, and how historic cities can be preserved while undergoing a sustainability transformation. 

Students will also learn how to develop management strategies for complex urban environments. The module will culminate in a project where students will create a smart, zero-carbon city with heritage constraints using their new skills, supported by GIS software and PropTech principles. 

This is a project-based module that addresses key the sustainability challenges of building in cities. It will be taught by two module co-leaders; one specialised in socio-economic issues, and one specialised in environmental, technical and engineering issues.

BSc (Hons) Dissertation (30 credits)

The BSc (Hons) dissertation project is when students will put the skills and knowledge gained from past modules into practice through applied research. Their dissertation supervisor will be a skilled UCL researcher who can help students develop their unique project, including some of the following methods: 

  • Literature review and evidence review methods
  • Evaluating and using secondary data 
  • Primary data collection 
  • Methodology and measurement 
  • Sample and system boundaries
  • Research ethics, data management and protection 
  • Collaborating with organisations outside of UCL – support will be provided

MEng only - Year 4

Health, Comfort and Wellbeing in Sustainable Buildings (15 credits)

This module will provide an in-depth understanding of how the design and operation of sustainable buildings affects health, wellbeing, comfort and human performance. Students will explore how factors like thermal comfort, indoor air quality, lighting and acoustics impact how buildings are designed, constructed and perform.

The module will also introduce students to psychometric and hygrothermal analysis, so students can design and implement occupant satisfaction surveys and build performance evaluations. Health and safety issues in buildings will also be covered.

Sustainable Buildings Challenges: Engineering Zero Carbon (30 credits)

How can we create a net-zero carbon building in both design and operation? This project-based module will equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to address this key issue, including energy-efficient building systems, how to reduce the need for active building services, and increase the use of renewable energy. The module will also teach students how to evaluate predicted energy use and assess zero- carbon designs using dynamic thermal simulation modelling. 

Other topics covered include:

  • Climate change and zero carbon buildings 
  • UKGBC (UK Green Building Council) and LETI (London Energy Transformation Initiative) zero-carbon frameworks
  • Pathways to zero carbon
  • GLA (Greater London Authority) energy hierarchy
  • From current practice to low carbon design 

This is a project-based module that addresses key the sustainability challenges of building in cities. It will be taught by two module co-leaders; one specialised in socio-economic issues, and one specialised in environmental, technical and engineering issues.

Sustainable and Low Zero Carbon Building Technologies: Theory, Practice and Implementation (30 credits)

This module studies heating and cooling systems in sustainable building technologies, from condensing boilers, combined heat and power (CHP) and heat pumps, to absorption chilling and conventional heating ventilation air condition (HVAC) plans. By exploring the role these play in a building’s energy consumption with advanced dynamic thermal simulation modelling, students will learn how to design complex, non-domestic buildings using a range of sustainable technologies. 

This will include students own review of the modelling process and the impact caused by any assumptions and uncertainties in the model prediction. Health and safety aspects will be included.

Data Analytics for Sustainable Buildings (15 credits)

A series of case studies will introduce MEng students to the diagnostic analytics of building performances, and the ways to apply predicted analytics to make buildings smarter, while also introducing wider concepts of prescriptive analytics. Examples will be drawn from occupant modelling, performance prediction and more. The module will also help students develop vital practical skills, teaching when and where to use which tools, while bearing social and cultural needs in mind. Students will also examine how data can be used to promote health and safety in buildings.

MEng Dissertation (30 credits)

The MEng dissertation project is when students will put the skills and knowledge gained from past modules into practice through their own original, significant and robust research. Their dissertation supervisor will be a skilled UCL researcher who can help students develop their unique project, including some of the following methods: 

  • Literature review and evidence review methods
  • Evaluating and using secondary data 
  • Primary data collection 
  • Methodology and measurement 
  • Sample and system boundaries
  • Research ethics, data management and protection 
  • Collaborating with organisations outside of UCL – support will be provided

Careers

Sustainability is a rapidly growing industry, and we expect graduates of this programme to be in exceptionally high demand as a result. The skills taught on this programme will be attractive to a wide range of potential employers and industries, including those in:

  • Sustainable building and engineering
  • Scientific and technical consultancies
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Government and institutional agencies
  • Digital simulation
  • Smart buildings/cities

Students will learn digital software including ENVI-met and Geographic Information System (GIS), and become familiar with programming languages like Python for data analytics. They’ll develop transferrable skills that will support their career beyond sustainability and engineering, including how to lead a team, communicate complex ideas and use advanced decision-making processes. 

This programme also has connections with sustainability and built environment contacts in government, industries and businesses, who can offer students employment opportunities, plus work placements and field visits. 

MEng students will also have access to employers connected to sustainable building engineering services. In the UK alone, sustainable building and engineering represent 3% of the UK’s total goods and services. MEng graduates may also pursue a career in architecture. 

By the end of the programme, you’ll have acquired highly specialised knowledge and skills that will only be of increasing value to our digital and sustainable future.

Industry views

Nearly 100% of the 44 potential employers we surveyed said there was either a high or very high demand for graduates from a programme like this. Over 70% said they expect demand for the kind of skills taught on this programme to increase sharply. 

Designing a new world - a sustainable future involves transformative change in every aspect of society globally. The endeavours of sustainable development challenge the profession of built environments to expand our perspective, evolving our skills and knowledge beyond delivering incremental improvements to solutions, and be bold in enabling broader outcomes to achieve a safe, resilient, inclusive, and sustainable world for all. 

We need engineers, designers, scientists from diverse range of disciplines and many other stakeholders of the value chain working together, taking on a participatory and regenerative approach in solving the increasing complexity of the world.  

The SBEER programme provides a future focussed and progressive academic foundation for the next generation of building professionals to learn and explore transdisciplinary ways of working, engage in healthy debate and experimentation across multiple domain areas, developing a cohort of future leaders to steward the industry towards a more sustainable world." 

Florence Lam - Arup Fellow and Global Lighting Design Director, Visiting Professor at UCL Bartlett Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering

About you

You’re a highly motivated, progressively-minded student with a passion for making the world a better place through smarter engineering design, resource management and data science. You might be looking to become an industry leader in sustainability or specialise as an engineer or architect. 

We’re looking for people who...

  • Are concerned about sustainability and want to make a difference
  • Are scientifically ambitious 
  • Feel confident about their digital skills 
  • Enjoy problem-solving and overcoming challenges
  • Want to use data and statistics to make tangible change
  • Have good communication skills and work well in a team
  • Most of all, are committed to making a real-world impact in climate change mitigation

Students with all specialisms are invited to apply, as long as they have an A in mathematics at A-level or equivalent. 

With both BSc (Hons) and MEng on offer, the programme caters to graduates who wish to gain a broad understanding so they can specialise their career, as well as those who wish to obtain a professional qualification. 


Teaching staff

The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources is home to some of the world’s leading experts in Environmental Design and Engineering, Sustainable Resources, Energy and Sustainable Heritage.

Key Staff

Prof Dejan Mumovic
Director of UCL IEDE, Professor of Building Performance Analysis
UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering

Mr Paul Drummond
Senior Research Associate
UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources

Dr Nahid Mohajeri
Senior Research Fellow in Building Physics and Urban Modelling
UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Accreditation

The BSc (Hons) is a career pathway programme and as such does not come with accreditation. The MEng pathway will be accredited by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).


Why choose The Bartlett?

The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources is a world-leading centre of research and teaching excellence. As part of The Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment, our research over the past 40 years has helped make buildings, towns and cities better places to live and work in.

We offer:

  • A world-leading learning environment. The QS World University Rankings (2022) places The Bartlett, our faculty, as the #1 for Built Environment studies in the UK and #3 in the world
  • A world-leading track record in building design and engineering, energy and sustainable resources research
  • Established partnerships and an extensive alumni network within many of London’s and UK’s major building engineering firms
  • Long-standing, strong relationships with stakeholders from industry, policy-makers and academia, who often give lectures and appear at networking events and provide unrivalled networking opportunities
  • A London location at the centre of open innovation
  • An inclusive environment that promotes global citizenship, and an ethos of equality and diversity
  • A track record of delivering exceptional graduates that went on to assume leadership roles in industry and academia