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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 Philip  Allmendinger
Professor of Land Economy, Head of Department
Professor Jean  Bacon
Professor of Distributed Systems
Professor Ruchi  Choudhary
Member of the Energy IRC Steering Committee
Professor Daping  Chu
Head of the Photonics & Sensors Group and the Chairman of the CAPE (Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics) Steering Committee
Professor John  Clarkson
Dr Jonathan  Cullen
Member of the Energy IRC Steering Committee
University Lecturer, Energy, Transport and Urban Infrastructure
Professor Dame Ann  Dowling
President of the Royal Academy of Engineering
Former Head of Department of Engineering, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Chairman of the University Gas Turbine Partnership with Rolls Royce
01223 332739
Professor Marcial  Echenique
Professor of Land Use and Transport Studies
Dr. Richard  Fenner
Reader at the University
Director of the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development
Professor Peter  Guthrie
Professor of Engineering for Sustainable Development
Professor Robin  Langley
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Head of the Mechanics, Materials, and Design Division
Dr. Janet  Lees
Reader in Structural Engineering
Professor Paul  Linden
G.I Taylor Professor of Fluid Mechanics
Professor Gopal  Madabhushi
Professor in Geotechnical Engineering
Professor Robert  Mair
Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor of Geotechnical Engineering
Professor Campbell  Middleton
Senior Lecturer in Structural Engineering
Professor Bill  Milne
Director of the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics
Head of Electrical Engineering
Dr Andrew  Rice
University Senior Lecturer
Dr Keith  Seffen
University Senior Lecturer in Engineering
Professor C. Alan  Short
Professor Kenichi  Soga
Professor of Civil Engineering
 Mary Ann  Steane
Deputy Head of Department
Professor Koen  Steemers
Head of the Department of Architecture
Professor of Sustainable Design
Wolfson College (Fellow)
Director of Studies for St Edmund's College
Member of the Energy@Cambridge Strategic Advisory Board
Dr. Minna  Sunikka-Blank
University Senior Lecturer

Associate Members

Engagement Manager
CARES Communications and External Affairs Executive
Director, Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Postdoctoral Researchers

Graduate Students

Visiting Researchers