Postgraduate

Sustainable Design

Master of Architectural Science

Sustainable design involves creating buildings that meet the world’s need to reduce the human impact on ecological systems. Our integrated approach provides you with the knowledge to address sustainability issues without compromising building functionality or profitability.

Combine your professional skills with a sustainability consciousness. This course integrates units from the architectural sciences, particularly building services, facilities management and high-performance buildings.

Course Details

Course name Credit points Duration
Master of Architectural Science
(Sustainable Design)
with second stream
96 2 years
Master of Architectural Science
(Sustainable Design)
72 1.5 years
Graduate Diploma in Architectural Science
(Sustainable Design)
48 1 year
Graduate Diploma in Architectural Science
(Sustainable Design)
24 0.5 year

Why choose this course?

This program is tailored for design and related built environment professionals who wish to improve their knowledge and skills in sustainable design.

What will you achieve?

Our program produces graduates who can work as sustainability experts in a wide range of fields, including architecture, property development, construction and urban planning.

Part-time study is available for Australian citizens and permanent residents. You can take individual units as continuing professional development short courses without enrolling in a degree.

Intensive units

Most Sustainable Design core units are taught in block mode intensives over several full days rather than weekly lectures

Indicative Course
Progression

    First Year

    Semester One

  • This unit aims to explore the scientific concepts of heat, light and sound, and from this develops foundational principles and methods applicable to buildings.

    It is divided into five topics: climate and resources: thermal environment: building services: lighting; and acoustics.

    Find out more

  • This unit covers three related areas of investigation: basic building construction practices, advanced building construction practices & sustainable construction.

    It begins by introducing a number of recurrent themes in construction in Australia at the present time including the idea of building culture, the various modes of delivery and variety of classifications of buildings and building elements, rational construction & construction detailing from first principles.

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  • This unit aims to develop a critical understanding in students of building design principles that reduce the impact of the built environment on energy, water and material resource flows.

    Students will gain an overview of technical strategies that reduce the environmental impact of buildings and develop an awareness of the benchmarks and metrics used to judge the implementation of environmental design principles.

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  • The aim of the unit is to acquaint students with the range of analytical and design tools available for low energy building design; to provide the opportunity for students to become proficient at using some of these tools.

    Among the techniques and tools explored are: climate data analysis; graphical and model techniques for solar studies; steady state and dynamic heat flow analysis; simplified methods for sizing passive solar elements; computer models of thermal performance; modelling ventilation; estimating energy consumption.

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    First Year

    Semester Two

  • Humans' thermal, visual, auditory and olfactory senses determine the perceived quality of a built environment.

    This unit analyses built environments in context of these human factors. This unit relates human experience of buildings to the main dimensions of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ): thermal, acoustic, lighting and indoor pollution.

    Find out more

  • Daylight can be used in buildings to reduce the energy spent on electric lighting and create aesthetically appealing interiors.

    Design decisions that affect the success of daylighting in a building span every phase of the design process, from site selection to the application of interior finishes.

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  • This unit will introduce the conceptual bases for sustainable development and explore how principles of sustainability can be introduced into land use planning and urban design, including environmental management and multi-criteria evaluation methodologies in three modules:

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    Second Year

    Semester One

  • Unit content: Sustainable design frameworks; understanding energy, material and water flows between buildings and their environment; the principles of passive solar heating strategies in cold and temperate climates; strategies for controlling solar and other loads on the building fabric; principles of cooling by natural ventilation; low energy mechanical cooling strategies; hybrid and mixed-mode cooling strategies; water sensitive design; environmental and health impacts of building materials; embodied energy of building materials.

    Find out more

Elective Units of Study

    Sustainable Architecture Stream

  • This unit aims to explore the scientific concepts of heat, light and sound, and from this develops foundational principles and methods applicable to buildings.

    It is divided into five topics: climate and resources: thermal environment: building services: lighting; and acoustics.

    Find out more

  • This unit covers three related areas of investigation: basic building construction practices, advanced building construction practices & sustainable construction.

    It begins by introducing a number of recurrent themes in construction in Australia at the present time including the idea of building culture, the various modes of delivery and variety of classifications of buildings and building elements, rational construction & construction detailing from first principles.

  • This unit aims to develop a critical understanding in students of building design principles that reduce the impact of the built environment on energy, water and material resource flows.

    Students will gain an overview of technical strategies that reduce the environmental impact of buildings and develop an awareness of the benchmarks and metrics used to judge the implementation of environmental design principles.

    Sustainable Resources Stream

  • This unit of study will introduce students to the concepts and multidisciplinary nature of sustainability, starting with the physical basis of climate change and its impact on the environment and human development.

    This will be followed by several case studies covering Energy, Health, Development and Environment.

    Find out more

  • This unit will examine the critical roles that energy and resource usage play in global, national and local sustainability.

    The need for developed economies to decarbonise their energy supply and for developing countries to have access to clean energy and sustainable resources will require major changes in technology, policy and business systems.

    Find out more

  • This unit of study will cover the areas of the philosophy, techniques, applications and standards of Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA)

    TIt will include Process Analysis, Input-Output Analysis and Hybrid Analysis. Current LCA tools will be discussed. Case studies and business applications as well as global standards such as the GHG Protocol for accounting for scopes 1,2 and 3 emissions and ISO standards will provide a context.

    Find out more

  • This unit of study will provide an introduction to economic input-output theory and input-output analysis, with a focus on environmental applications such as carbon footprints and life-cycle analysis.

    The unit first explores national and global economic and environmental accounting systems and their relationships to organisational accounting.

    Find out more

    Research Stream

  • This unit aims to prepare students for undertaking a research project in the various sub-disciplines of Architectural and Design Science.

    It begins with the workshop-based presentation of foundations of experimental science relevant to research projects within these sub-disciplines.

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  • The report is a substantial piece of research conducted over one semester. It takes the form of report (between 10000 and 15000 words) on an approved subject of your choice.

    The report is an opportunity to advance your knowledge and skills in a particular area.

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  • ARCH9045 and ARCH9046 Dissertation 1 and 2 are only available to candidates with permission from an appropriate supervisor. Planning students should take PLAN9010 and PLAN9011 Planning Dissertations 1 and 2. Students enrol either full time over one semester (ARCH9045 and ARCH9046) or part time over two semesters (ARCH9045 then ARCH9046). The units are not assessed separately - a single dissertation is required.

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  • ARCH9045 and ARCH9046 Dissertation 1 and 2 are only available to candidates with permission from an appropriate supervisor. Planning students should take PLAN9010 and PLAN9011 Planning Dissertations 1 and 2. Students enrol either full time over one semester (ARCH9045 and ARCH9046) or part time over two semesters (ARCH9045 then ARCH9046). The units are not assessed separately - a single dissertation is required.

    Find out more

    Other Electives

    Semester One

  • This unit covers the technologies employed in generating, distributing, and controlling light in illuminated environments.

    Students learn the advantages and disadvantages of different hardware options for various lighting applications.

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  • This unit introduces the fundamental concepts and issues of audio and architectural acoustics. Unit content: basic acoustical concepts, quantities and units; principles of sound propagation; sound absorption and room acoustics; physiological and psychological acoustics; noise measurement and specification; and principles and specification of sound insulation.

    By completing this unit students will be able to understand acoustical terminology, and perform calculations applicable to sound in the environment, in buildings, and in audio contexts.

    Find out more

  • Module one enables students to understand how the main concepts and practices of urban planning and development have evolved; appreciate different perspectives about the roles and purposes of planning; undertake basic historical research about Australian urban planning and development issues, and prepare basic stories and arguments about practical planning issues and current theories.

    There is a strong emphasis on enriching the ability of students to better appreciate urban form, structure and planning practice generally by analysing such form, structure and process through the lens of history (as 'snapshots' in time), and the understanding planning drivers that shape and express such urban change.

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    Other Electives

    Semester Two

  • Objectives of this unit are to give students an understanding of energy consumption issues in buildings against the backdrop of escalating energy and carbon emission reduction targets for buildings such as Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB).

    In order to meet these targets, new design and operational management techniques are needed, including energy auditing, retro-fitting and energy efficiency optimisation techniques.

    Find out more

  • This unit reviews the need for and application of Mechanical Services in the built environment - in particular commercial buildings.

    Mechanical Services are responsible for significant portion of energy and water consumption in buildings. Thus they have become important components of most modern building complexes, with a strong influence on other services and the architecture.

    Find out more

  • Investors associated with the property industry require at the outset Return On Investment (ROI) evaluations before committing capital.

    This unit of study examines the economic principles as they apply to buildings, from capital growth and life cycle management perspectives.

    Find out more

With the permission of Program Director, any unit from a postgraduate course in the University

Student Profiles

    Paola Moran Sato

    Master of Design Science
    (Sustainable Design)
    Experienced Graduate Architect,
    Fender Katsalidis Mirams Architects

    “I was led to study Sustainable Design by my desire not only to improve our world today, but also to leave a lasting legacy that withstands the test of time and the environment. As an architect, I believe that sustainable design plays a decisive role in minimising our impact on the planet, improving our health and socio‑economic development.

    Upon completion of my degree I was given the opportunity to join a top-tier and multi-award winning architectural firm, Fender Katsalidis Mirams Architects (FKM Architects), where my skills and knowledge are a valued contribution to the practice. My degree has also given me the satisfaction of contributing to build a better world for future generations.”

    Karla Venegas

    Master of Design Science
    (Sustainable Design)

    "I come from a small family in Costa Rica, and I’ve lived there all my life, except for the last year, when I came to study in Australia. I’ve always been a “greenie”!

    Back home everyone knows me for insisting on reducing-reusing-recycling, telling everyone to save energy and water, and trying to reduce waste and consumption. !

    All day... Every day.... Insisting! Insisting! Insisting!

    So, as I studied architecture, I started to discover this stream of “Sustainable Design” and was more than sure that it was the stream for me.

    So far this degree has taught me how much we can do as architects, designers and planners to create a more sustainable built environment.

    It’s amazing when you learn the huge impact the built environment (the one us designers are responsible for) can have on climate change. And sometimes you feel very helpless when it’s just you fighting against the world advocating sustainable practices, but it helps to see more and more people getting involved in the field and starting to take action.

    It’s also been interesting to attend the talks here at Uni and throughout Sydney about Sustainability, and learn how people around the world have dealt with the many problems that accompany incorporating new ways of doing things.

    I want to take the opportunity to learn how a developed country is facing this issues, and apply this knowledge to Costa Rica.

    Hans Latuperissa

    Master of Design Science
    (Sustainable Design)

    "I wanted to study sustainability. Australia is a good example of a country that has committed to sustainable design: the governments have agreed to the greenhouse gas abatement protocols and how these relate to with the building sector. GreenStar and NABERS prove that Australia wants to move forward as much as possible.

    What I’ve learnt is that it’s not just a matter of understanding sustainable design, but also to convince a client to invest in it. We study a lot of concepts.

    By learning sustainable design this way, it gives you a way to base your reasoning on evidence and simulation, so that you can convince your client.

    I think it’s important that you’re able to ‘show your working’. It increases the chance that your client will want to incorporate sustainable design.

    This degree makes me more qualified in dealing with consultation and design. Because I already have the basic knowledge of how to deal with sustainable development, my next challenge is gaining more experience.

    It’s the time for me to put what I know into practice. I’m confident I know what to do.

Meet Our
Program Director

MASTER OF SUSTAINABLE DESIGN

Dr Francesco Fiorito

Research Interests

Structural and facade engineering
Energy modeling of buildings
Innovative building technologies and materials

Francesco (M. Building Engineering PoliBA [2001] and PhD Building Engineering PoliBA [2006]) spent the first 10 years of his academic career at the Polytechnic University of Bari (Italy), where he worked as Research Assistant in Building Construction (2002-2007) and subsequently as a lecturer and coordinator of the unit of study “Building Components Design” (M. Architectural Engineering).

Recently he has started the creation of an International Network for High Performance Smart Kinetic Facades, joining expertise from industry with research institutions.

See Francesco's Profile

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Sustainable Design