PhD Position in AI for Building Energy Retrofit Planning

PhD Position in AI for Building Energy Retrofit Planning

Published Deadline Location
12 Jun 2 Jul Delft

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Challenge Develop novel AI methods to identify and optimize building retrofit strategies.
Change Building energy retrofit decision-support at scale.
Impact Accelerate energy transition with AI.

Job description

AiDAPT Lab, TU Delft’s Artificial Intelligence Lab for Design, Analysis, and Optimization in Architecture & Built Environment, invites applications for one PhD position in the area of AI for building energy retrofit planning, decision-making, and optimization.    

We are looking for candidates highly motivated to work at the confluence of AI, building physics, and energy simulation, in order to address the energy transition needs of our aging and growing building stocks. Recent advances in AI provide us with unprecedented capabilities to scale up and automate our information processing and intervention strategies in complex large-scale settings. In this direction, of particular interest to this research is how we can harness these advances in AI and integrate them with physics-based simulators to make informed building energy retrofit decisions under uncertainty.

The successful candidate will work on the development of a novel data-driven computational framework enabling us to optimize the necessary building interventions at scale, with emphasis on cities in the Netherlands and Rotterdam in particular. This research will produce new AI disciplinary methods that advance our capabilities to streamline retrofit resources for real-world buildings. The research will couple building energy simulation with machine learning methods ranging from deep learning and machine vision to optimization and reinforcement learning, in order to allow for (i) automatic identification of energy-related building characteristics from imagery and other data, (ii) classification of buildings to certain typologies and respective retrofit package options; (iii) probabilistic energy performance assessment and prediction, including future scenarios arising from climate-change; (iv) decision-making regarding the optimal type, time, and place of retrofit solutions.

This research is linked to two TU Delft projects, DE-CIST and MultiCaRe. DE-CIST is a project funded by a granting scheme conducted by Google to foster data-driven environmental and climate action at the local level. The project’s goal is to develop scalable, transferable, and automated data-driven methods, able to bolster energy transition through optimal retrofit planning in the city of Rotterdam. MultiCaRe is a large multi-national project funded by the European Commission and is aimed at creating a novel framework for future-proof façade technologies in the presence of multiple hazards, including seismic and climate-change hazards, by combining energy performance assessment, structural risk quantification, and multi-criteria optimization.

As part of AiDAPT Lab, the successful candidate will hold a joint appointment at the Chair of Structural Design & Mechanics and the Chair of Design, Data and Society, in the Faculty of Architecture & Built Environment, and will be supervised by Dr. Andriotis and Dr. Khademi. (S)he will further work as part of a team closely collaborating with researchers and research groups associated with DE-CIST and MultiCaRe. The position is funded for a duration of 4 years, during which the appointed candidate will (i) undertake research on their PhD topics and (ii) assist with the educational and research agenda of AiDAPT and the host Chairs.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


  • MSc in Architectural Engineering, Civil Engineering or alternatively Computer/Data Science, AI or related fields;
  • Strong background in at least two of building technology (also known as architectural engineering), façade engineering, building physics;
  • Experience with data-driven and deep learning approaches;
  • Interest in the application of deep learning in building energy performance;
  • Excellent programming skills with Python;
  • Familiarity with deep learning frameworks such as Pytorch, and Tensorflow;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English proven by a minimum score of 100 in TOEFL or IELTS of 7.0 per sub-skill (writing, reading, listening, speaking). For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements
  • Teaching interest and/or experience in AI- and structural/architectural design courses.
  • Ability to work in a team, take initiatives, and be results-oriented.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Architecture & the Built Environment

The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment has a leading role in education and research worldwide. The driving force behind the faculty’s success is its robust research profile combined with the energy and creativity of its student body and academic community. It is buzzing with energy from early in the morning until late at night, with four thousand people studying, working, designing, conducting research and acquiring and disseminating knowledge. Our faculty has a strong focus on 'design-oriented research’, which has given it a top position in world rankings.

Staff and students are working to improve the built environment with the help of a broad set of disciplines, including architectural design, urban planning, building technology, social sciences, process management, and geo-information science. The faculty works closely with other faculties, universities, private parties, and the public sector, and has an extensive network in the Netherlands as well as internationally.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built. 

AiDAPT is TU Delft’s AI-Lab for Design, Analysis and Optimization in the Faculty of Architecture & Built Environment, directed by Dr. Charalampos Andriotis and Dr. Seyran Khademi. At AiDAPT, we harness and shape AI to support long-term, adaptive, and evidence-based abstraction and synthesis of structural and architectural choices, towards a more sustainable and resilient built environment (AIDAPT). The host Chairs of the PhD position, Structural Design & Mechanics (Prof. Mauro Overend) and Design, Data and Society (Prof. Georg Vrachliotis), lead research and education on structural analysis, design, and digitalization in the Faculty of Architecture & Built Environment, and have strong links with other Faculties within TU Delft, such as CEG and 3mE, and EEMCS.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD04054


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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