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Interdisciplinary Research Centre

Buildings and cities research within the energy initiative is carried out across a number of departments and research groups at the University of Cambridge.

Research includes:

Smart Buildings

  • Innovative use of emerging technologies in sensor and data management.
  • The design of technologies for new and retrofit low carbon buildings.
  • Low-energy lighting, including new light conversion materials and next generation GaN LEDs for solid state lighting.
  • The use of computation to reduce energy consumption at the building level.


Natural Building Materials

  • Natural material design and research for large-scale buildings
  • Efficient structures using natural materials
  • Improved material properties through chemical and biochemical modification of plant-based materials

Infrastructure and Construction:

  • Development of novel materials surface treatments, low carbon cements and concrete.

Sustainable Cities

  • Energy demand reduction in the urban environment by integrating the design and development of novel technologies for energy efficient cities, with links to economic, policy and regulatory considerations. 
  • Embodied energy in buildings, building retrofits, and insulation.

Some key research centres and initiatives include:


We collaborate with industrial partners and are also actively involved in increasing both energy awareness and public understanding of the opportunities and challenges in buildings and cities.

Please visit individual faculty profiles to learn more about their research in the Buildings and Cities theme. 

People specializing in this area

Principal Investigators

Abir Al-Tabbaa
Member of the Energy IRC Steering Committee
Professor in Geotechnical Engineering
Director of FIBE2 CDT
Professor Jean  Bacon
Professor of Distributed Systems
Professor Alastair  Beresford
Professor of Computer Security
Ruchi  Choudhary
Member of the Energy IRC Steering Committee
Professor of Architectural Engineering
Professor Daping  Chu
Nanjing Professor of Technology and Innovation
Professor John  Clarkson
Jonathan  Cullen
Member of the Energy IRC Steering Committee
Professor of Sustainable Engineering
Professor Rod  Jones
Professor of Atmospheric Science
Dr. Janet  Lees
Professor of Civil Engineering
Director, EPSRC Future Infrastructure of the Built Environment
Professor Gopal  Madabhushi
Director of Schofield Centre
Head of Geotechnical Group
Professor Allan  McRobie
Professor of Structural Engineering
Professor Campbell  Middleton
Laing O'Rourke Professor of Construction Engineering
Professor Rachel  Oliver
Professor of Materials Science
Dr John  Orr
Professor of Structural Engineering
Dr Andrew  Rice
Professor of Computer Science
Dr Keith  Seffen
Professor of Engineering Mechanics
Dr André  Cabrera Serrenho
University Assistant Professor

Associate Members

Deputy Director, Centre for Climate Change Engagement
Engagement Manager
Director, Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Visiting Researchers