Sustainable Built Environment

Welcome to Sustainable Built Environment (SBE) Research Group.  

The SBE Research Group aims to promote multi-disciplinary research across two broad research themes: Architecture and urbanism (A + U), and Architectural Engineering, Environmental Design and Energy (AEEDE). Among the many research topics that arise from the built environment, the following are of particular interest to the SBE Research Group:

·       Architectural humanity and history across various cultures, climates and geographic locations;

·       Past and contemporary urban transition and related sustainability issues in China and beyond;

·       Identification of best practices in the area of sustainable building and city development;

·       High performance building technologies and system integration.

Students who apply for PhD programs within the Group will have the opportunity to be awarded a full scholarship from the University of Nottingham Ningbo China.



Upcoming event

UNNC 2024 SBE/ABE Symposium

Date: 13-14 June 2024

Open for registration now


Research Clusters

Architecture and urbanism (A + U)

The work of the A + U cluster focuses on the history and theory of the built environment, with the following distinct areas of research strength: computational architecture and fabrication, transcultural and postcolonial perspectives in architecture; (Chinese) architecture and urbanism; heritage preservation; relationships between architecture, globalization and culture; architectural hermeneutics (architectural and urban interpretation, theory and criticism); sustainable urban transitions (re-use, regeneration and redevelopment) and eco-city theories and practices.

We aim to advance innovative historical and theoretical research through a range of interdisciplinary approaches, including rethinking histories of modernity across cultures, the history of architecture and cities (in China and internationally), and emphasizing the 'everyday', the social and experiential dimensions of sustainable urban spaces and buildings.


Architectural Engineering, Environmental Design and Energy (AEEDE)

The AEEDE is an interdisciplinary cluster dealing with the issues associated with high performance built environment. Our research range from areas such as occupant’s health and comfort, life cycle energy analysis, low energy design and thermal performance, building construction technologies, BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaic), building related artificial intelligent and urban comfort.

In addition, the cluster has a strong commitment to environmental-social development with ongoing research projects in collaboration with our partners in China, Europe, Africa, India and South America. These projects range from studies on extreme density, environmental degradation, informality (slums upgrading), public policy and governance, environmental studies of vernacular and rural architecture exploring ways in which design can make an effective contribution towards inclusive and more adaptive and sustainable communities.



The CSET Building which is the first zero carbon building in China, provides laboratory, offices and seminar accommodation facilities. It has been designed to serve as an exemplar building, demonstrating state-of-the-art techniques for environmentally responsible and sustainable construction. The building provides 100 percent of its energy usage for lighting, power, heating and cooling from sources such as PV panels, solar absorption air conditioning system, geothermal heat pumps and wind turbine. It also minimises its environmental impact by using locally available materials with low embodied energy, storing rainwater and re-using grey water, and has developed its own ecology and biodiversity within the site.  

The CSET building accommodates our PhD students and two research labs within the Group: Urban Innovation Lab and Digital Architecture Lab, offering workstations equipped with the latest software applications. Other facilities include a climate chamber, thermal testing lab for materials and components, laser particle analyser, low carbon construction material development systems, façade testing facility, daylight and solar modelling lab, wind tunnel facility and a weather station.


Group Members

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PhD Opportunities

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