Research and expertise
I have over 30 years experience building systems engineering in both industry and academia, and have been working in the field of additive manufacturing in the construction sector for more than 15 years. My research is multidisciplinary in nature and I have led a number of large research projects in the fields of building performance and 3D Concrete Printing. I explore creative approaches to generate innovation, focusing on delivering impact within academic communities and beyond.
I led the five year £1.2m EPSRC ‘Freeform Construction: Mega-scale Additive Manufacturing for Construction’ project, which made a significant contribution to initiating an entirely new field of research and coined the now ubiquitous name, ‘3D Concrete Printing’ (3DCP). This work pioneered ‘as good as cast’ concrete component manufacture for off-site fabrication based on additive principles. I am a reviewer for a number of national research councils, including the EPSRC in the UK (Chile, Mexico, Norway, Netherlands, Israel, US, and Belgium).
I have been featured in a BSRIA publication celebrating 60 years of engineering innovation as an ‘engineer to watch’, advised the BBC on 3D Concrete Printing, being interviewed by ‘World in Business’ with research featuring in the EPSRC’s 40th anniversary edition of ‘Pioneer’ magazine. I am currently an active member of the RILEM TC on the digital fabrication of concrete and I continue my work to bring about the next generation of manufacturing automation methods using 3DCP.
Current research activity
- DfM:3DCP: Design-for-manufacture of 3D concrete printed structural composites (EPSRC EP/S019618/1)
- 3DCP:HCP: Manufacturing integrated building components using digital hybrid Concrete Printing technology (EPSRC EP/S031405/1)
- 4S-DHW: Small Smart Sustainable Systems for future Domestic Hot Water (EP/N021304/1)
Recently completed research projects
- CAMBER - Concrete Additive Manufacturing for the Built Environment using Robotics (Innovate UK EP/P031420/1)
- HOTHOUSE: Hot water provision in homes: Consumption, Storage and Lifestyle (EPSRC EP/M006735/1)
- TEDDINET: network of (Build)TEDDI projects(EPSRC EP/L013681/1)
- LEEDR: Low Effort Energy Demand Reduction (EPSRC EP/I000267/1)
- Marini, D, Buswell, RA, Hopfe, CJ (2019) Sizing domestic air-source heat pump systems with thermal storage under varying electrical load shifting strategies, Applied Energy, 255, pp.113811-113811, ISSN: 0306-2619. DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2019.113811.
- Aparicio-Fernández, C, Vivancos, J-L, Cosar-Jorda, P, Buswell, R (2019) Energy modelling and calibration of building simulations: a case study of a domestic building with natural ventilation, Energies, 12(17), 3360, DOI: 10.3390/en12173360.
- Cosar-Jorda, P, Buswell, RA, Mitchell, VA (2019) Quantifying energy demand reduction considering householder willingness to apply measures, Building Research & Information, 47(7), pp.850-864, ISSN: 0961-3218. DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2019.1630245.
- Watson, S, Lomas, K, Buswell, R (2018) Decarbonising domestic heating: what is the peak GB demand?, Energy Policy, pp.533-544, ISSN: 0301-4215. DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2018.11.001.
- Cosar-Jorda, P, Buswell, R, Mitchell, V (2018) Determining of the role of ventilation in residential energy demand reduction using a heat-balance approach, Building and Environment, 144(15), pp.508-518, ISSN: 0360-1323. DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2018.08.053.
- Buswell, RA, Leal de Silva, WR, Jones, SZ, Dirrenberger, J (2018) 3D printing using concrete extrusion: A roadmap for research, Cement and Concrete Research, 112, pp.37-49, ISSN: 0008-8846. DOI: 10.1016/j.cemconres.2018.05.006.
I teach Building Services engineering to undergraduate and postgraduate students across a number of modules and supervise research dissertation projects.
I lead and deliver Building Services Technology which looks at systems in domestic and small commercial buildings, and Building Thermal Loads and Systems, which focuses on heating ventilating and air-conditioning systems for larger commercial buildings.
- Building Services Technology
- Research Dissertation
- Building Thermal Loads and Systems
- Building Energy Supply Systems
- Control and Commissioning for Low Energy Buildings
- Research Dissertation
Affiliations, awards, external activities and key collaborators
- Commercialising 3D Concrete Printing (Concrenetics BVBA)
- Developing lab access for construction manufacturing research
I left School and went to work for Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd as a ‘Chain boy’, a site engineers assistant. I studied BTech ONC and HNC, followed by a Continuing Education Diploma (CED) in Building Services Engineering on a day release basis over 6 years. In that time I managed most subcontract types on a range of construction projects, but specialised in mechanical and electrical systems coordination. One of my last projects (1992) I was responsible for £1.25m of services being installed in just 16 weeks.
The CED was the equivalent of and HNC and that enabled me to move on from McAlpine’s to study Environmental Systems Engineering at Loughborough University in 1994. I passed with first class honours and was 2ndrunner up in the national HAC graduate of the year awards. The results from my dissertation underpinned one of the PROBE articles published in the CIBSE Journal. It was the first time that the EARM (Now TM22) methodology had been implemented on a naturally ventilated building.
I was invited to study for a PhD at Loughborough in 1996 and my work was the first to demonstrate that uncertainty exists in simplified models. I applied to generating robust fault detection methods for HVAC systems, defending in 2001 and receiving the CIBSE Napier Shaw award for the work. I worked in simulation and optimisation as a post-doctoral researcher at Loughborough and then became interested in Additive Manufacturing in 2003. This led to the Freeform construction project starting in 2006, and my subsequent appointment as Lecture in Building Services Engineering in 2006 followed by Senior Lecturer in 2011 after successfully completing the Freeform Construction project: inventing 3D Concrete Printing and with it creating The Bench (world’s first reinforced 3D printed concrete component) and the double-curved panels (world’s first to be printed with conformal voids.)
In 2015 I became a Reader (Associate Professor) in Building Energy Systems after the success of the LEEDR and HotHouse projects and in June 2019 I became a professor of Building Systems Engineering at Loughborough University and I am now currently engaged delivering two significant projects that will deliver the next generation of Hybrid 3D Concrete Printing processes.
- Member of RILEM
- Fellow of HEA
- Featured in BSRIA Inspire brochure which is celebrating 60 years of engineering
- 3DCP featured in EPSRC ‘Growth Stories’
- 3DCP featured the EPSRC’s 20th Anniversary special edition of ‘Pioneer’
- Freeform paper in SciVerce Top25 Hottest Articles list 2011
- Recipient of the Theodore von Karman fellowship from RTHW Acchen, visits over 2013
- Napier Shaw award for BSERT best paper
- Visiting Professor at LaboratoireNavier, Paris through the I-Site Future initiative
- Full member of EPSRC College (Feb 2018)
- international reviewer for national research councils of Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Singapore, Mexico, Chilli Israel and the US.
- Scientific Committee for Digital Concrete
- Scientific Committee for Building Simulation
- Scientific Committee for Building Simulation and Optimisation
- Scientific Committee for International Conference on 3D Construction
- Building Simulation and Optimsation scientific committee
- IBPSA building simulation conference scientific committee
- UK representative in the European Energy Research Alliance Joint Programme on Smart cities (2010-2014)
- UK EERA round table, led by John Loughead at UKERC (2010-2014)
- Member of the UK Smart Cities Stakeholder group, led by Martin Stevenson (DECC) (2010- 2014)
- UK: Universities of Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, UCL
- International institutions: USA - NIST, France - IFFSTAR, Netherlands - TU Eindhoven, Delft, Germany - Munich, Dresden, Braunschweig, Denmark – Dti, Switzerland ETH Zurich, China- HUST
- Industrial: ABB, Autodesk, BRE British Standards Institution BSI, Cundall, Elkem, Foster and Partners, Manufacturing Technology Centre, Skanska, Concrenetics, Synthomer, Urbastyle, Bentley Systems, E.ON, Energy Saving Trust, O2, Forum for the Future.