Ruchi Choudhary

Tell me about your research

I work on energy use in buildings. My research covers simulation-based methodologies for the decarbonisation of buildings; uncertainty quantification in building simulation models; the integration of novel building technologies and renewable energy supply systems; and multi-physics interactions influencing energy consumption of the urban built environment.  I find the use of simulation modelling to investigate interactions among synergistic energy systems in cities especially exciting.

What aspect of your work is most exciting you right now?

Working at the interface of two systems that are typically not considered together but, in reality, are interconnected is something I particularly enjoy.

For example, our project on underground climate change integrates the influences of hydro-geology, energy systems, and the subsurface buildings on ground temperatures. Similarly our project on urban farming brings together plant modelling and indoor built environment modelling.

It is especially exciting to work with specialist domains outside my own core area and use that knowledge to enhance our understanding of buildings. I am an architect by education, and that background has helped instil a degree of fearlessness when working across different disciplines. 

What’s been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

Moments of being automatically assumed to be non-academic staff within academic settings. It is difficult to accept the pervasive unconscious bias that is still endemic. These show just how much work is still needed when it comes to equality - particularly in the higher education space.

Can you give us a taster of what you’ll be discussing at AI UK?

I’ll be discussing our development of the digital twin for the world’s first underground farm based in a former air raid shelter in Clapham, South London. There are many elements to work through here: the role of digital twins in the energy efficiency of built environments; the optimisation of the environment of a rather unusual commercial farm; and the future of sustainable urban farming.

What book does everyone need to be aware of?

I am a big fan of Phil Steadman’s earlier work on architectural form and geometry. I find it offers a very accessible and un-nostalgic discussion of the evolution of the built environment.

When not working what can you be found doing?

Swimming in the Mediterranean

or

dreaming of doing so

or

planning to do so.