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Unit of study_

DESC9015: Building Energy Analysis

Semester 1, 2023 [Block mode] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

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. Emphasis is given to tools which assist the design of the building fabric rather than building systems. At the end of the unit it is expected that students will: be aware of the importance of quantitative analysis in the design of low energy buildings; have an understanding of the theoretical basis of a range of analytical techniques; be familiar with the range of techniques available for building energy analysis; be able to apply many of these to design analysis; be familiar with the range of thermal analysis computer software available; and be able to use a software package to analyse the thermal performance of a typical small scale building. All of the assignments are designed to provide students with hands-on experience of each of the analysis tools.

Unit details and rules

Unit code DESC9015
Academic unit Architectural and Design Science
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Ozgur Gocer,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment group assignment A sensitivity analysis of building envelope
Written with non-written elements
40% Week 06
Due date: 29 Mar 2023 at 23:59
A2 x 10 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Indoor thermal comfort and daylight performance analysis of a building
Case study
60% Week 13
Due date: 27 May 2023 at 23:59
A2 x 10 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Sensitivity analysis of a building envelope: The purpose of this task is to establish your understanding of integrated design, modeling, and basic analysis processes by using energy analysis software tool DesignBuilder.  You are required to model and perform a sensitivity analysis of the building envelope and daylight performance of a selected building design.
  • Indoor thermal comfort and energy performance analysis of a building: The assessment aims to improve the thermal comfort in each of the day time and night time use spaces or thermal zones. This improvement is to be determined by reducing the number of discomfort hours when compared to an initial design. 
Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Work of outstanding quality, demonstrating mastery of the learning outcomes assessed. The work shows significant innovation, experimentation, critical analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or exceptional skill.


75 - 84

Work of excellent quality, demonstrating a sound grasp of the learning outcomes assessed. The work shows innovation, experimentation, critical analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or superior skill.


65 - 74

Work of good quality, demonstrating more than satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes assessed, or work of excellent quality for a majority of the learning outcomes assessed.


50 - 64

Work demonstrating satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes assessed.


0 - 49

Work that does not demonstrate satisfactory achievement of one or more of the learning outcomes assessed.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 03 • Unit Introduction • Building energy systems and building performance simulation tools • Energy modeling in building design process and practices in AU • Energy simulation & Introduction to Design Builder Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Introduction to DesignBuilder Introduction to Assessment 1 Creating sun path diagrams for an existing building for different climates and orientations Tutorial (4 hr) LO2 LO4
Week 04 Natural light and visual comfort Daylighting and Shade Analysis Window 5.2 tool Sensitivity Analysis and Optimization in building simulation Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Shading device design, daylighting analysis Tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 06 Climate responsive design/Thermal Comfort Heat transfer through the building envelope Internal Gains & Occupant Behavior Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Introduction to Assessment 2 The effect of building construction systems (walls, roof/ceiling, etc) and glazing system performance (U-value, SHGC and VLT Tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 09 Bioclimatic Architecture / Passive Design Strategies Natural Ventilation Gaps in simulation and real-time data/Validation/Verification Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Internal gains (artificial lighting, occupants, equipment etc.) Natural ventilation Tutorial (4 hr) LO4 LO6
Week 11 Presentation & Feedback Conclusion to the unit Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Q@A session on individual projects Creating visual images (graphs & charts) Tutorial (4 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

1. Please refer to the Resolutions of the University School:

2.Students are required to submit an application for special consideration if they need an extension for an assignment.

3.Special consideration is only applicable for short-term circumstances that are beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure. UoS Coordinators can permit a simple 2-day extension under special circumstances.

4.More information and details available at:

5.Unless a special consideration is approved or a disability adjustment is granted, penalties apply to late submissions:

6.Turnitin similarity matching software must be used for all assignments. It can only accept files 40 MB or less

7.Reference any material that is not yours.

8.  All instances of Academic dishonesty will be reported.

9.  For more details on Academic Appeals, please see:

10. Students must acknowledge all sources of feedback, editing, and proof-reading.

11. More information and details available at:

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

1- Magoulès, Frédéric, and Hai‐Xiang Zhao. “Overview of Building Energy Analysis.” Data Mining and Machine Learning in Building Energy Analysis. Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2016. 1–16. Web.

2- Hensen, Jan, and Roberto Lamberts. Building Performance Simulation for Design and Operation . Second edition. Abingdon, Oxon ;: Routledge, 2019. Web.

3- Wilde, Pieter. Building Performance Analysis. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2018. Web.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. generate a grounded unique insight into the sustainable design of buildings
  • LO2. learn independently based on investigation of issues relating to sustainable design
  • LO3. demonstrate a developed interest in and awareness of the well founded knowledge of sustainable design for buildings and their environment
  • LO4. apply critical reasoning to the issues of the design of environment and independent, informed technical judgement of buildings
  • LO5. evaluate opinions from literature in the field, make design decisions and to reflect critically on the justifications for those decisions made
  • LO6. collect, analyse and organise information and ideas regarding buildings, their design development, detailing, and relationship to the environment, and to convey those ideas clearly and fluently, in both written and spoken forms.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

The submission format of the assessments have been revised.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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