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Buildings and Cities

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. The lead for Buildings and Cities is Professor Koen Steemers.

People specializing in this area