Research Focus

The Human-Building Systems Lab (HBS), led by Dr. Zhao, focuses on human-system modeling and computing in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC). The lab creates digital models and computational algorithms to advance the integration of human-building systems. The research methods include building engineering, human factors engineering, building information modeling (BIM), AI and machine learning, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) experiments, social network analysis (SNA), simulation and visualization, big data analytics, and spatial analysis with geographic information systems (GIS).

The research interests are instinctively motivated by a sense of responsibility to protect environment, save lives and alleviate losses. The emerging trend of climate change inspires us to input effort to the resilience and disaster mitigation upon the built environment. Construction is recognized as a dangerous and complex industry, any contribution to the risk mitigation means saving. We see data science and information technology excellent tools to reach our goal

Research Areas

Green building and infrastructure 

This research area integrates human activities into energy modeling for buildings and communities. Findings provide intelligent and optimal energy retrofit decisions for buildings and infrastructure, e.g. electric vehicle charging stations.  Outcomes lead to a better understanding of the interactions among technology, behavior, and sustainability.

Smart buildings and cities

This research area automates and optimizes the design, construction, and operations of building and facility networks using BIM, big data analytics, and AI computing. Outcomes make building smarter, facilities more resilient,  and humans safer and healthier. 

Risk mitigation and system resilience

This research area creates intelligent countermeasures to prevent workplace injuries, such as construction sites and work zones. Findings provide injury hazards, VR/AR training tools, and safety enhancement programs. Outcomes improve occupational safety and health in the AEC industry, mitigate OSH risks, and reduce fatalities.

Network and system engineering

This research area visualizes and predicts human behaviors in organizational networks using SNA and statistic modeling.  Outcomes help understand interactions between human and work systems and therefore interventions can be developed to improve productivity, safety, and efficiency. 

Grant Sponsors

We are grateful for financial supports from the funding agencies!

Demos and Impacts