A new post-graduate course to improve the energy efficiency of buildings has been given the go-ahead at The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment at Robert Gordon University (RGU).

This comes as the university successfully joins the UK Green Building Council.

The new course, PG Cert Building Retrofit, has been developed to improve the energy performance of the existing building stock and to help decarbonise and deliver a net zero carbon future.

Currently around 13 per cent of Scotland’s carbon emissions are related to the way homes are heated. Scottish Government targets aim to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2045, with a commitment that gas boilers will no longer be installed in new homes from 2024.

In Aberdeen, 45 per cent of homes have no wall insulation, many suffer from damp problems and have poor indoor air quality, (Scottish House Condition Survey 2019).

Course leader, Amar Bennadji, from The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment, said: “Given the fact that the great majority of buildings that will be in use in 2050 are already in existence, there is no more important an issue than improving existing housing stock and upgrading or retrofitting old houses with energy improvements, if net zero targets are to be met.

“The Scott School of Architecture and Building is at the forefront of sustainable design having successfully been accredited as a member of the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).

“The accreditation recognises the school’s record in improving the sustainability of the built environment, by transforming the way it is planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated.

“The new post-graduate course in Building Retrofit joins a portfolio of courses on offer at The Scott Sutherland School that have sustainability at their core and I’m delighted to be surrounded by such a dedicated team to develop the course.”

RGU is also engaged in an inter-regional project “Stronghouse”, a €7 million project with 26 other EU partners to develop a program dedicated to help homeowners retrofit their home.

The new post-graduation course will build upon the ongoing research project that Dr Bennadji is part of.

Matt Clubb, a student from The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, said: “It’s great to see RGU providing this course on retrofit. There’s lots of good energy efficient knowledge out there, but the industry needs to start ramping up the skills required to deliver such projects.

“It’s important to have the theoretical elements as well as the practical elements and we need more skills across all disciplines if we’re going to deliver good quality, whole house retrofits for Aberdeen.

“I hope RGU’s new retrofit post-graduate course will encourage other institutions to start taking retrofit seriously and building the 600,000 strong workforce the UK is going to need.”

The PG Cert Building Retrofit course will be offered online to full-time and part-time students and will start in September this year, with another intake in January.

Students will develop specialist knowledge and skills required to effectively work in this field in the UK context, and to make a significant contribution to the net-zero agenda.

As part of the course, they will consider the balance between performance, cost, and disruption such as putting insulation into an old property.

The course contains two distinctive parts, a theoretical part followed by a simulated practical part with industry involved in the delivery.

To find out more about the course, visit: www.rgu.ac.uk/building-retrofit

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