Shaun Fitzgerald

  • Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor - University of Cambridge

Research interests

My career started in research in geothermal energy and morphed into working on natural ventilation in buildings, leading to a business that has changed the nature of building design. Geothermal and phase transition within geothermal reservoirs turned out to be a good backing for work on ventilation in buildings: both involve a fluid mechanics heat-transfer problem.

I led the industry interface aspect of a large research project at the University of Cambridge and MIT in the early 2000s. I founded a pioneering hybrid ventilation company spawned from this research project. As CEO of Breathing Buildings I focused on bringing insights from research to the practising architectural and engineering community designing buildings to help them design buildings more efficiently. The technology takes heat from people, lights, IT and solar energy in a building and exploits it to avoid the need for radiators. This not only cuts energy use but does it at no extra cost for the installation. I have been personally involved in some of the most innovative buildings in the world ranging from The Shard in London to flagship HQ buildings in California.

I have also been Director of the Royal Institution and overseen the work on engaging the public with science and engineering. I am currently Acting Director for the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge, investigating a range of greenhouse gas removal strategies.