Buildings and Sustainable Cities

What is Built Environment?

The term built environment is used for referring to surroundings created for humans, by humans, and used for human activity [1].

Examples include cities, buildings, urban spaces, walkways, roads, and parks, among many more. They also often include supporting infrastructure such as water supply or energy networks. The study of the built environment is interdisciplinary in nature.

Why is it important?

  • Our homes and offices account for a third of UK greenhouse gas emissions – mainly through our use of electricity for lights and appliances and gas for heating.
  • Better designed buildings and more efficient technology – such as lighting, fridges and televisions – will use less energy and so produce less greenhouse gases.

Our expertise & activities

  • Our Architecture Department is one of the best in the UK.
  • We have been designated a Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Building Design by the Royal Academy of Engineering.
  • We are working with schools and stadiums in the Middle East to install zero-energy cooling and ventilation systems.
  • We are one of five government-funded centres looking at how to reduce energy demand in buildings.
  • We were part of a £15m “Big Energy Upgrade” project to improve energy efficiency in over 1,800 homes.

Detailed research areas

  • Building Physics.
  • Energy in the Built Environment.
  • Energy efficiency.
  • Psychology and behaviours of building users.
  • Supply chain analysis for retrofitting homes.
  • Integration of smart technologies in buildings.

Key people (A-Z)

Professor Daniel Coca
Professor of Nonlinear & Complex Systems
Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering

Dr Ben Hughes
Reader, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Chris Jones
Department of Psychology

Prof. Lenny Koh
Director of Centre for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES)
Director of Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LSCM) Research Centre

Professor Martin Mayfield
Professor of Engineering Design; co-Director of the Urban Institute
Infrastructure Leader, Faculty of Engineering

Professor Fionn Stevenson
Head of Sheffield School of Architecture
Co-Director RAEng Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design

Professor Craig Watkins
Professor in Town & Regional Planning
Co-Director of the Urban Institute

Dr. Thomas Webb
Social Psychologist, Department of Psychology


For more information please contact Professor Martin Mayfield.