The unit was created in 1987 to bridge the gap between architecture and research in low energy design. That research focuses on the efficient use of energy and its conservation in building design. While the unit competes for international research contracts it also operates as an architectural practice and an educational resource for the London Metropolitan University. In that regard, the unit integrates its work with undergraduate and graduate programmes.

LEARN worked as an independent research unit in the Department of Architecture and Spatial Design of the London Metropolitan University since 1987 undertaking more than 25 projects for the European Commission and administering the EPSRC supported Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings (NCEUB)