Personal profile

Research interests

Sukumar Natarajan is the Director of the EPSRC Centre for Decarbonisation of the Built Environment (dCarb)
. He is also Deputy Director of the Centre for Energy and the Design of Environments (EDEn)
 with research interests that include: building energy modeling, energy behavior, smart meter interface design, impacts of climate change on buildings, occupant thermal comfort.

Sukumar graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Architecture from Sushant School of Art and Architecture in India following which he read for his M.Phil. in Environmental Design at the Martin Centre in Cambridge. After a short period working for the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi, Sukumar returned to academia to work on the Tyndall Centre funded "40% House" project at the University of Manchester where he obtained his Ph.D. on "Modelling energy use and carbon emissions from the UK domestic sector". Since then he has been involved in a number of projects on energy use in buildings and thermal comfort including the COPSE project (EPSRC, EP/F038135/1) as principal investigator looking at the thermal comfort implications of a warming climate.

Current projects include ENLITEN (EPSRC, EP/K002724/1) which will develop a low-cost intelligent home energy advisor to provide actionable prompts to households that they can use to save money and energy. This is a multi-disciplinary project with Computer Science, Psychology, Electrical Engineering, and the ECI at Oxford.


Sukumar’s research focuses on how to design buildings that use as little energy as possible during their lifetime. A key question of interest is how big a role the occupant of a building plays in the creation and maintenance of a building’s low energy profile and how this could be optimised. This touches on issues of thermal comfort, occupant energy feedback, and innovative building physics. He also has a strong interest in modelling large scale building energy flows at community, regional and national scales. Much of his work is of an inter-disciplinary nature and he has been instrumental in bringing together techniques from computer science and psychology to these mainly engineering problems.

Willing to supervise doctoral students

Interested in supervising students studying:

  • Smart metering and occupant feedback
  • Occupant behaviour in buildings and how this affects energy use
  • Large scale (urban to national) bottom-up modelling of energy flows
  • Energy efficiency and use in buildings
  • Thermal comfort, overcooling and underheating 

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 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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