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Sustainable Building Conservation Skills

Module code ARC00075M

Module Leader: Louise Cooke

NB For this module, it a prerequisite that students should also take one of the following modules: Practical Building Conservation, Approaches to Conservation or Analysing Historic Buildings.


To understand the relevance, and apply the principles and detail in practice, of the sustainable retrofit of traditional and historic buildings

Learning outcomes

Subject content

  • Understand and evaluate the construction, behaviour and thermal performance of traditional buildings
  • Understand the principles and key considerations for the thermal upgrade of traditional buildings
  • Understand the thermal upgrade measures available for traditional and historic buildings and apply this knowledge in practice
  • Understand and evaluate the suitability of renewable energy measures available for traditional and historic buildings

 Academic and Graduate Skills

  • Practical skills of traditional and historic building assessment for current condition and energy performance, improvement options and renewable energy options
  • Transferrable skills of research, report writing, time and project management, & independent working


This module will be delivered through four, half-day lecture and practical sessions led by Nicholas Heath, an independent sustainable energy consultant who specialises in the adaptation and retrofit of of traditionally constructed buildings. 

Students will gain an understanding of:

  • Reasons for retrofitting traditional and historic buildings (e.g. climate change, fuel costs, comfort, health & wellbeing, sustainable place-making)
  • Traditional building construction type & characteristics, thermal performance & moisture movement
  • Principles for the sustainable, low-energy retrofit of traditional and historic buildings
  • Risks and unintended consequences of inappropriate interventions
  • Upgrade options for building fabric, services and clean energy generation

A practical project, including work for students to do outside the classroom in their study time, will include an exercise to assess the retrofitting of an historic building for sustainable adaptation. A short report on this will be submitted as coursework for assessment for the module.