Published: Sept. 2, 2021

Wangda Zuo on the shore of a mountain lakeWangda Zuo is an associate professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering. He is also an affiliated faculty in Rady Mechanical Engineering and holds a joint appointment at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He is interested in multi-scale modeling and simulation for smart, sustainable and resilient cities. His research projects include energy-efficient buildings, grid-interactive district energy systems, smart garden alleys, smart and connected communities, resilient coastal cities, and 100% renewable energy cities. He was recently elected as a fellow of the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA).

What’s something most people don’t know about you?  

Something that most people don’t notice about me is that I have degrees in three different disciplines from three countries. That’s why I really like multidisciplinary research and international collaborations. 

What is an ordinary moment in your life that brings you joy?

I love biking every day to the office and back. It is a great way to start and end my day in the office. 

Describe one of your favorite traditions.

My favorite tradition is being part of our family newsletter which we have been doing for more than 10 years. 

What has been your favorite work or personal project so far?

One of my favorite projects is my data center project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It was a really interesting project because it linked theoretic research and real-world application. Besides publishing two PhD theses and 12 papers, we developed open-source tools that can save up to 70% cooling energy for data centers. Our tools are publicly released as a part of DOE’s next-generation building energy modeling software and commercialized by Schneider Electric. Our case study results also convince the owner to invest $110,000 in retrofitting their data center. 

What do you most like to do to unwind?

I love going out into nature. It is a place where I can recharge and unwind from everything at work.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

The best advice I have ever been given is from Professor Jan Hensen: “Always follow your heart when you make a career decision.”