Dr. John ZhaiDr. John Zhai is a Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering (CEAE) at University of Colorado at Boulder (UCB).  He has a unique and integrated background in both Mechanical and Architectural Engineering with an Engineering Doctor degree in Fluid Mechanics (Tsinghua University, 1999) and a Ph.D. in Building Technology (MIT, 2003).  Dr. Zhai has been actively engaged in research activities in the field of fluid/thermal science and building/energy/environment technology since 1994.  His particular research interests and expertise include:

  • Experimental and numerical study of building thermal and environmental systems;
  • Indoor environmental quality (thermal comfort and indoor air quality);
  • Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system design and optimization;
  • Immune and sustainable building design and technology development.

As a primary researcher, Dr. Zhai has completed a great number of notable research and consulting projects on diverse building energy and environment topics and published over 130 technical papers in reputed journals and conferences.

Dr. Zhai teaches “Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer”, “Building Energy Systems”, “CFD Analysis for Built and Natural Environments”, “Building Energy Laboratory”, “Building Mechanical Systems”, and “Sustainable Building Design” at UCB.  Dr. Zhai is also Graduate Advisor at Purdue University, Adjunct Professor at School of Environmental Science and Technology at TianjingUniversity, China, The “Sea-Sky” University Professor at School of Civil Engineering at Dalian University of Technology, China.  He also held a “Senior Fellow” position at the Rocky Mountain Institute (a renowned sustainable building design and consulting firm).

Dr. Zhai is an active member of several professional societies, such as, ASHRAE, ASME, International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA), and International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ).  Dr. Zhai was an invited member for The Committee of Immune Buildings by The US National Academies and The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), an Invited IAQ Expert for National Laboratory Assessment by The US National Academies and National Research Council (NRC), and an Invited Non-Member Roundtable Speaker by The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). 

Dr. Zhai has been serving as Conference Chairs, Advisory/Scientific Committee Members, Track and Session Chairs for many building-related conferences and symposiums, such as, IAQVEC 2016, Healthy Building – America 2015, ISHVAC-COBEE 2015, IBPC 2015, Cold Climate HVAC 2015, Indoor Air 2014, Building Simulation 2013, ISGMA 2013, COBEE 2012, Building Simulation 2011,  IAQVEC2010, ASME Energy Sustainability Conference (ES2009 and ES2010), IBPSA Building Simulation Conference (BS2007 and BS2009), ROOMVENT 2009, COBEE2008, Indoor Air 2005, etc.  Dr. Zhai is Associate Editor of Energy and Building Journal and The Open Civil Engineering Journal, Guest Editor for Building and Environment Journal, World Review of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development Journal, Guest Editor and Editorial Board Member for Building Simulation: An International Journal, Editorial Board Member for Journal of Building Physics, Indoor and Built Environment Journal, Journal of Energy, Journal AIMS Energy, as well as invited reviewer for over 10 countries and regions. 

Dr. Zhai has great experience managing an active research team with people with different background.  In the past decade, Dr. Zhai has been constantly leading a team of 20 members with a mixture of Post-Docs, Visiting Scholars, PhD, and MS graduate students as well as few undergraduate students at UCB, working on a vast variety of building energy and environment-related research and consulting projects.  His team is highly productive in publishing research on various reputed journals.  Dr. Zhai received quite a few awards for his outstanding research, education and outreach activities, including the Distinguished Service Award (DSA) and Distinguished Lecturer Title from ASHRAE.