The Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Research Group is established under the leadership of Professor Ben Richard Hughes, who serves as the Head of the Department of Engineering, University of Hull, UK. Professor Hughes also serves as the Managing Director of a building engineering solution expert company, Free Running Buildings (FRB) Limited.

BEST comprises of more than 10 team members including academic staff, researchers, and associates, with one member of support staff. BEST evolved from the Building Energy Group under the same leadership within Energy 2050, The University of Sheffield, from 2015-2018. In 2019, the group had been transferred to the University of Strathclyde, before the group was rebranded as BEST Research Group and established in Hull in 2020.

BEST is currently under collaborative research with the Department of Engineering, University of Hull and simultaneously works on industrial projects with FRB Limited.


BEST aims to be a world class research team focussing on advancing built environment and sustainable technologies.

We foster highly dedicated and experienced researchers around the world to be part of BEST and help us build a better future for cities by advanced research on solutions in sustaining good building energy performance, indoor comfort and air quality via best methodologies and assessment.

 BEST collaborates with other prominent research units across the UK and internationally to challenge and improve the quality in research and development, conceptual analysis, and solutions. 


Professor Ben Richard Hughes is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, Fellow of the IMechE, and Managing Director of a University Spin out company Free Running Buildings Limited. He is a full-time Professor at the University of Hull. With an H-Index of 35 and over 5000 citations he leads a group of 10 PhD students and two post-doctoral research associates.

Professor Hughes has attracted in excess of £10M in external funding from EPSRC, Innovate UK, Business Energy Industrial Strategy, Qatar National Research Fund, and the British Council.

He has also graduated and mentored 20 PhD students into prominent industry and academic positions and his research has been awarded best carbon reduction project and research team of the year from the New Civil Engineer in 2018 and was awarded the IMechE visionary award for outstanding leadership.


The following list is the area of research BEST is focusing on, however, as BEST aims at becoming a dynamic and excellent research group, we also welcome any potential area and interest that can intensify our commitment on world agenda 2030 and 2050, within the scope of built environment and technologies, which support environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

  • Renewable energy solutions, heat recovery and sustainable technologies
  • Environmental, thermal comfort, energy consumption and air quality modelling
  • Passive-active ventilation and heat transfer research and solutions
  • Urban heat island (UHI) mitigation and assessment on urban-building environment
  • Building energy inspection and energy efficiency assessment
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Building Energy Modelling (BEM) solutions
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotic and automation-based solutions
  • Laboratory testing and experiments – wind tunnel and 3D printing