UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering

Prof Ben Croxford

Prof Ben Croxford

Professor of Environmental Design and Engineering

Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Jan 2000

Research summary

His research interests include: barriers to constructing low carbon housing, circular economy issues around the built environment including sustainable materials, and air pollution, particularly involving carbon monoxide. Recently he was PI on the UK portion of the Cities of making research project. He is currently co-I  on an NZIP project aiding the transition of industrial areas in the London Borough of Enfield to net zero carbon.

He is a co-director for the UCL Circular Economy Lab

He has been involved in air pollution research since starting in the Bartlett in 1994, firstly developing air pollution monitoring equipment, which is commercially available from Signal Instruments under its original name StreetBox. His initial research focussed on outdoor air pollution in streets, using carbon monoxide (CO) as a proxy. Realising most people in the UK are indoors for more than 80% of the time, the research shifted to indoor air quality in offices and homes. A further development of the monitoring equipment led to the smaller, Learian ICOM, also commercially available from Signal Instruments, which was used in many research projects in London and also as far as Sudan and Cyprus. This indoor air quality (IAQ) work demonstrated that for most people in the UK, for most of the time, IAQ in terms of carbon monoxide concentration was not a major problem. However for a significant few there can be serious, health threatening exposure. This work led to projects designed to work out how to estimate the percentage of households where this is the case. These found that high CO found in a few households is almost always due to defective gas appliance installations. During various research projects, Ben worked with Department of Health, the Health and Safety Executive and CORGI, and formed good relationships with the charity CO Gas Safety. He has presented widely on the findings including at the Department of Health, the Health Protection Agency and the House of Lords.

More recent research projects include: monitoring one of the TSB Retrofit for the future homes, investigating how the occupants are learning to live in a low energy home, a TSB Building Performance Evaluation project of M&S Cheshire Oaks store with Faithful+Gould, a post occupancy evaluation of a community building in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and a sustainability target setting exercise for the new Old Oak Common Development (OPDC) with Faithful+Gould.

He has supervised >10 PhD students through to completion, and normally supervises about 3 EngD or PhD students. Topics of current or recent students include: Biomimetic strategies for optimal smart cities, Carbon monoxide uptake and elimination in humans, Circular Economy based office refits and defits, Agent Based Modelling of Energy Behaviours, Trees Streets Pollution Wind, Measuring Heat Loss through Suspended Timber Floors, and issues around ITC and flexible office space. He is a PhD examiner both for UCL and for external candidates.

He has also supervised well over 150 MSc dissertations on topics generally related to low energy buildings.

Teaching summary

He was Course Director of the MSc Environmental Design and Engineering (EDE), (2007 - 2013). He held various administrative roles for many years including teaching lead for the Institute of Environmental Design and Engineering, Departmental Graduate Tutor (Teaching) and Director of Teaching and Learning for the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources (BSEER). He successfully led the accreditation process for a joint visit by CIBSE and The Energy Institute (2010). He was an external examiner for the MSc/MS Global Innovation Design jointly run between RCA and Imperial College (2014 - 2018).

He started lecturing for the MSc EDE in 2001 and has run several modules since then, including Energy Context in Buildings, Health and Comfort in Buildings, Methods of Environmental Analysis, Low Energy Housing Retrofit (BENVGEEE), and Sustainable Housing Design Principles. He developed the teaching of the thermal building simulation model TAS from EDSL, and taught this from 2001 to 2013. He was responsible for the MSc dissertation module from 2001 until 2013, and has directly supervised well over 150 dissertations covering a wide range of topics within the area of environmental design and engineering.

With colleagues he developed 10 new optional modules for the MSc EDE course; these modules are specialised and grounded in research carried out within the Bartlett. They have been successful in attracting students from across UCL and in providing teaching experience for researchers, in several cases helping them gain permanent lecturing positions.

He currently teaches on BPLN0109 Sustainable Housing Design Principles, for the MSc Housing and City Planning programme, BARC0147 Urban Physics on the M.Eng Engineering with Architectural Design programme, and a few lectures for the MSc Environmental Design and Engineering course (EDE). He is developing and will oversee the delivery of a new optional module, Circular Economy in the Built Environment, starting 2023, He supervises ~ 6 MSc dissertations for the EDE programme.

He runs a large alumni group, EDEComm with over 950 graduates and friends of the course and organises occasional seminars and events.


University of Westminster
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1994
King's College London
First Degree, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) | 1988


Ben was made a lecturer on the MSc EDE course in 2000, Senior Lecturer in 2007 and was course director from 2007 until 2013. He was promoted to professor in 2019. He was Director of Teaching and Learning at the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies (BSGS) 2010-2014, and then at BSEER until 2020. He also held the roles of Post Graduate Tutor (Teaching) for the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources (BSEER) and was also Chair of the BSEER exam board until 2020.

He is a co-director of the UCL Royal Academy of Engineering Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design and also of the UCL Circular Economy Lab (CircEL).

Ben has a first degree in Computer Systems and Electronic Engineering from Kings College London. He gained his PhD working in Professor Littler's Research in Building group at the University of Westminster, sponsored by British Gas, his thesis was titled An Intelligent Domestic Central Heating Controller, investigating intelligent buildings and was completed in 1994.

His first post-doctoral research position was at the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies with Alan Penn, measuring urban pollution in streets. He developed a monitoring instrument, the StreetBox which is now commercially available. Further large research projects followed, including the investigation of the IAQ environment of offices, and assessing neighbourhood scale energy efficiency.

He has won several research grants relating to air quality work; including, as a co-investigator on Vivacity 2020, and as principal investigator on carbon monoxide related projects with Department of Health, Health and Safety Executive and the CORGI Trust. In 2011 he won funds to monitor one of the TSB Retrofit for the Future homes as part of a consortium led by Metropolitan Housing Trust. More recent projects include a post occupancy evaluation study in collaboration with Faithful and Gould for M&S Cheshire Oaks, their flagship environmental store, the Cities of Making research project with the RSA, and partners in TU Delft in Netherlands and FLB, ULB and Latitude in Belgium.

He is on the academic accreditation panel of The Energy Institute, and completed 4 years as external examiner for the MSc/MA Global Innovation Design, a double masters from Imperial College and RCA (2014-2018). He is a Chartered Engineer.