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1983 …2024

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Last updated 18th April 2024


Professor Adrian Pitts joined the University of Huddersfield in 2012 where he is Professor of Sustainable Architecture. He leads the Sustainable Environments and Practice research group within CUDAS (the Centre for Urban Design, Architecture and Sustainability) which he also co-directs, in the Department of Architecture and 3D Design. He has taught environmental and energy efficient design, supervised numerous research projects and research students, and published widely over a period exceeding 25 years in three different Universities. Cross-disciplinary initiatives have characterised his academic career and he has been involved with many teaching and research activities spanning the fields of: architecture, engineering, planning, environment and landscape, policy and urban development.

His undergraduate studies were in the fields of energy studies and engineering (BSc Tech) from the University of Sheffield. He followed this with a PhD in the area of building environmental design involving an industrial collaborator and sponsor. This doctoral level research concerned air movement and energy flows in a complex industrial building with a view to optimisation of air conditioning systems and efficient environmental design. The knowledge and skills gained in the manipulation of environmental monitoring software and hardware led to subsequent employment within the energy group of a computer systems company.

He returned to the University of Sheffield to take up a lectureship in Building Science and later moved to the School of Architecture where his lecturing and teaching duties focused on energy efficiency, environmental design, and building services. He was Course Director for a group of masters’ level degrees during which period he increased substantially student numbers from the UK and around the world. His research and teaching interests grew over this period from being initially focused on buildings and building components to encompass the much larger scale of urban issues and planning. During this period he led and coordinated a number of multi-institutional projects funded by the European Union (EU) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

In 2007 he transferred to Sheffield Hallam University where he was awarded the title of Professor of Sustainable Architecture and played a leading management role alongside staff of other disciplines including geography and housing. He held a number of posts including Departmental Research and Scholarship Leader and was Course Leader for the MSc Technical Architecture. He was involved in a number of research projects including into energy consumption in dwellings and barriers to energy efficiency and take up of renewable energy technologies by social housing tenants. He also played a significant role in the cross-university Sustainability Group with involvement from all faculties and subject areas.

Adrian was appointed to the Head of Department of Architecture and 3D Design at the University of Huddersfield in 2012 with a brief to expand the research activity in the subject area. His role changed in 2015 to give greater emphasis on research in the environmental design and sustainability fields and expansion of involvement in other areas including Chairi of the University’s Education for Sustainable Development Forum for 3 years. 

One of the main thrusts of his current research concerns sustainability in China and specifically in rural and village areas. This research has been supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (Project title: Sustainable and Creative Villages Network; total value £60k, AHRC contribution £48k) and the Vernacular Architecture Group (Project title: Dwellings of Dai Ethnic Minority Villages, China; total value £8.5k). He is also involved with projects concerned with thermal comfort in warm climates and low energy design. He has held visiting Chair positions in different Chinese Universities.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Design of Buildings
  • How People Use Buildings
  • Sustainability
  • Environment Sustainability
  • Design Quality
  • Smart and sustainable design for climate change
  • Sustainability of rural development in China
  • Comfort and energy use in buildings
  • Energy efficient design
  • Use of renewable energy in buildings/built environment
  • Integrated planning
  • Design strategies to promote and encourage sustainability


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