The built environment sector accounts for around 38% of all energy-related carbon emissions worldwide. This course explores how net zero carbon can be achieved through optimised building design, sustainable material selections, and efficient construction.

This is the first course in the Climate Curriculum CPD series, designed in partnership with Climate Framework. It is relevant to all built environment professionals as part of the sector’s drive towards net zero carbon emissions.


The approximate percentage of energy-related carbon
emissions worldwide caused by the built environment.



It’s becoming more and more important for built environment professionals to be able to take part in informed conversations about methods for reducing carbon. We’ve designed this course specifically to help you to join the conversation, and to build your knowledge and skills to prepare you to make an impact in your own roles. You’ll be informed by current research, data and case studies, and your learning will be reinforced by interviews with industry experts.

You may have heard a lot about ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’. This course assumes no prior knowledge of these concepts. Instead, it focuses on energy use and carbon emissions in the built environment, and how these can be effectively reduced. We’ll cover practical ways in which this can be done at different stages in the building lifecycle, how carbon emissions can be measured, and how the energy performance of a building can be assessed.

This course primarily focuses on case studies and legislation in the United Kingdom, but the principles covered and approaches to reducing carbon emissions can be applied in varied contexts around the world.

This course has been developed in partnership with Climate Framework, and contains case study properties from the BRE Innovation Park in Watford, UK.



The concepts covered in this course are relevant to all professionals working in the built environment. Globally, the sector contributes around 38% of all energy-related carbon emissions. It is imperative that we understand how to reduce these emissions as part of the worldwide drive towards net zero in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement.

This course does an excellent job of bringing together lots of complex (and often incoherent) principles into a logical, coherent and easier to process and understand format.”



The Construction Industry Council (CIC) Climate Action Plan, Educations & Qualifications workstream, which is chaired by Aled Williams from UCEM, identified a need from an inspiring presentation by Mina Hasman on the Cross-industry Action Group’s ‘Climate Framework’. CIC agreed to support this initiative and disseminate the Climate Framework to their members to gain wider support. UCEM has worked in partnership to enhance the Climate Framework by developing online learning material for the energy and carbon topic area



By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify terminology and concepts related to building design, efficient use of resources, and human comfort in the built environment
  • Apply these concepts to the design and energy performance of a range of buildings in different climates
  • Recognise the factors involved in the whole life carbon performance of a building
  • Explain how building design can be improved in order to enhance energy performance and reduce carbon emissions



The total estimated study time for completing this course is 25 hours.

This estimate includes time for you to read or view a resource more than once, as well as time for you to take notes and undertake the online assessment.

As a fully online, self-managed course you can stop and restart the course as you progress. You can work at a time and place that suits you.

25 hours

to complete course


This course is made up of an introduction and five topics:

  1. Carbon in buildings
  2. Passive design
  3. Active design
  4. Sequestration and offsetting
  5. Energy and carbon assessments

It has giving me an understanding of the wider picture of designing sustainable buildings.”


On successful completion of the course you will receive a UCEM certificate of completion for 25 hours of formal CPD.

You will be tested with a set of online quizzes throughout this course. You must achieve 80% or more in each quiz to successfully complete the course. Additional attempts will be permitted if you are not successful on your first attempt.

Certificate upon completion