Jianlei Niu is currently Chair Professor of Building Environment and Energy, He joined The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 1994. He obtained his BSc and MSc from Tsinghua University in 1983 and 1986, PhD from Delft University of Technology in 1994. He also had an experience with ETH, Zurich as an exchange PhD student. Prior to pursuing his PhD study, he worked as an assistant professor and then as a lecturer with Department of Thermal Engineering in Tsinghua University from 1986 till 1989. During his tenure at Tsinghua University, he was awarded the CBI overseas scholarship to work as an R&D exchange engineer in a UK electricity utility manufacturer in 1988.

Professor Niu was awarded fellowship from three international societies, including American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, Air-conditioning Engineers(ASHRAE, 2013), International Society of Indoor Air Quality(ISIAQ, 2014), and International Society of Building Performance Simulation(IBPSA, 2015), and two professional societies – respectively Hong Kong Institution of Engineers(HKIE, 2011) and Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers(CIBSE, 2011). He was the sole recipient of PolyU President's Award for Excellent Performance/achievement in Research and Scholarly Activities in the year 2003, and the three-time recipient of faculty awards for winning high number of external competitive research grants. He was awarded the ASHRAE distinguished lecturer for two consecutive terms 2009 – 2013, and had been sponsored to give 8 invited lectures to ASHRAE member regions world-wide. He also delivered numerous invited presentations in international conferences and workshops.


He is the author and/or co-author of more than 300 technical publications, with 100+ refereed journal papers. He is the co-author of the WHO guideline (2009) Natural Ventilation for Infection Control in Health-Care Settings. He has successfully advised more than a dozen PhD students and Post-doctoral fellows. He is the inventor of two USA patents, respectively on personalized ventilation and thermal energy storage technologies, both of which won the Geneva Technology Invention awards. He is currently co-editor-in-chief of the Elsevier journal Energy and Buildings, after serving as an associate editor of the journal Building and Environment in the period from 2012 to 2014. He sits in the editorial board of Building Simulation, International Journal of Building Performance Simulation, International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment and several other journals. He served as vice-president of ISIAQ flag conference Indoor Air 2014.

Professor Niu serves as an Engineering panel member for the Research Grant Council(RGC) and a project reviewer for the Health and Medical Research Fund(HMRF), Hong Kong. He is a founding member of China affiliation of IBPSA, and served as the Hong Kong Chapter Technology Transfer Committee Chair, ASHRAE 2007/09. He is a recognized national expert on low-carbon technologies, and invited expert panel for the national 973 project Commercial Passenger Aircraft Cabin Air Quality Research. He was awarded Taishan Scholar by Shandong province in 2011. He is a consultant sought after by the industry, based-on qualification, for CFD(computational fluid dynamics) analysis of the cooling system design for datacenters. 


Academic and Professional Qualifications



Research Interests

·         Low-carbon building and HVAC technologies

·         Indoor air quality: dynamics of indoor air pollutants, infection control and public health

·         Turbulence modeling and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) analysis

·         Thermal comfort, urban microclimate design 


Selected Research and Development Grants

·         2019 – ,      RGC GRF Grant: Condensate free radiant cooling technology development;

·         2015 – 2018            RGC CRF grant (Co-PI): Design Methodologies for outdoor thermal comfort, HK$6.7 millions

·         2014 – 2016            HMRF grant: risk assessment of cross household air-borne infections, HK$490k

·         2012 – 2016            RGC GRF Grants: Thermal energy storage using phase change materials: media preparation and device optimization

·         2011 – 2013            RGC GRF Grant: Space cooling load reduction with stratified air distribution method, HK$ 890 k.

·         2009 – 12          RGC GRF Grant No. 526508: Experimental and simulation study of spatial distribution of human respiratory droplets under typical indoor air distribution patterns, Funding, HK$ 443,000

·         2007 – 08          RGC CERG Grant PolyU 5255/06E: Application of Microencapsulated Phase Change Material Slurry with Cooled Ceiling to realize low-energy building design, Funding HK$ 537,000

·         2006 – 07          ITF Project ITS/049/06, Smart Thermal Fluid with Nano Composite PCM/Microcapsules, Funding HK$ 899,100.00

·         2004 – 07          RFCID project(No. 03040642) and RGC CERG Project PolyU 5125/04E: Effects of inter-flat air flow on the spread of airborne transmission diseases in high-rise residential buildings. Health, Welfare and Food Bureau, Proj. , Funding HK$692,000.00

·         2002 – 06          RGC CERG Project PolyU5023/02E and PolyU5129/03E (B-Q562): Developing mass-transfer-based models for the prediction of indoor air pollutant emissions from building materials, Funding HK$1,069,404.

·         2002 – 04          PolyU Post-doctoral Fellow Project: G-YW73, Project Title: Simultaneous Mitigation of Indoor Pollutants Concentrations and Inhibition of Outdoor Particulate Penetration in Residential Buildings, HK$ 951,340.

·         2001 – 03          RGC CERG funded project PolyU5031/01E: Numerical and experimental investigations of PER and thermal comfort under micro-climate control conditions, HK$490,000.

·         2001 – 03          PolyU PDF project G-YW52: Indoor humidity behaviors associated with decoupled cooling in hot and humid climates, Funding HK$ 896,160.

·         2000 – 02          RGC CERG Project PolyU 5028/00E (B-Q369): Optimized supply air temperature and velocity with radiant cooling and desiccant humidity control a/c systems, Funding HK$562,000.

·         2000 – 01          Central Research Grant G-YC34: Indoor pollutant exposure reduction via personalised ventilation system, Funding HK$180,000.

·         1998 – 2001      CERG project PolyU 5013/98E (B-Q222): Integration of desiccant and chilled-ceiling in commercial air conditioning system, CERG funded project, Funding HK$ 495,000.

·         1998 – 2001         Methodology for forecasting energy consumption of residential buildings in China - an approach to technological impact, PolyU funded Project G-V083

·         1998 – 1999         RGC fundable research project PolyU5020/98E: A new air-conditioning strategy for improved thermal comfort and energy efficiencies, joint project with Prof. J. Burnett, and Prof. R.Y. Zhao (Tsinghua University), Value HK$700,000.

·         1997 – 1998         De-coupled treatment of latent and sensible load in air-conditioning systems, Funded by PolyU Research Grant, Project. No.351/602, Value HK$ 250,000.

·         1993 – 1994        “Office Building Cooling by Cooled-ceiling in combination with cooling towers”, funded by NOVEM (The Netherlands Foundation of Energy and Environment), NOVEM Project No. 161201.4210

·         1991 – 1994         “Investigation of energy and thermal comfort performances of cooled-ceiling air-conditioning systems”, funded by the University Research Grant of Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands

·         1984 – 1989         "Clean coal combustion technology developments", Department of Thermal Engineering, Tsinghua University


Selected Major Publications


Energy-efficient Building and HVAC Technology:


1.     Liu, X. P.; Niu, J. L., Effects of geometrical parameters on the thermohydraulic characteristics of periodic cross-corrugated channels,  INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HEAT AND MASS TRANSFER  Volume: 84   Pages: 542-549, MAY 2015

2.     Huang, Yu; Niu, Jian-lei,  Application of super-insulating translucent silica aerogel glazing system on commercial building envelope of humid subtropical climates - Impact on space cooling load, ENERGY  Volume: 83,  Pages: 316-325,APR 1 2015

3.     Zhang, Xiyao; Niu, Jianlei; Zhang, Shuo; Wu Jianyong. PCM in Water Emulsions: Supercooling Reduction Effects of Nano-Additives, Viscosity Effects of Surfactants and Stability, ADVANCED ENGINEERING MATERIALS,  Volume: 17, Issue: 2   Pages: 181-188, FEB 2015

4.     Lorente, S.; Bejan, A.; Niu, J. L., Constructal design of latent thermal energy storage with vertical spiral heaters, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HEAT AND MASS TRANSFER  Volume: 81   Pages: 283-288, FEB 2015

5.     Liu, X. P.; Niu, J. L., An optimal design analysis method for heat recovery devices in building applications, APPLIED ENERGY, Volume: 129, Pages: 364-372, SEP 15 2014

6.     Huang, Yu; Niu, Jian-lei; Chung, Tse-ming, Study on performance of energy-efficient retrofitting measures on commercial building external walls in cooling-dominant cities, APPLIED ENERGY  Volume: 103   Pages: 97-108, MAR 2013

7.     Cheng, Yuanda; Niu, Jianlei; Gao, Naiping, Stratified air distribution systems in a large lecture theatre: A numerical method to optimize thermal comfort and maximize energy saving, ENERGY AND BUILDINGS  Volume: 55   Pages: 515-525 , DEC 2012

8.     Hu, R.; Niu, J. L., A review of the application of radiant cooling & heating systems in Mainland China, ENERGY AND BUILDINGS  Volume: 52   Pages: 11-19, SEP 2012

9.     Huang, Yu; Niu, Jian-lei; Chung, Tse-ming, Energy and carbon emission payback analysis for energy-efficient retrofitting in buildings-Overhang shading option, ENERGY AND BUILDINGS  Volume: 44   Pages: 94-103, JAN 2012

10.  Zhang, Shuo; Wu, Jian-Yong; Tse, Chi-Tat; Niu, Jiianlei. Effective dispersion of multi-wall carbon nano-tubes in hexadecane through physiochemical modification and decrease of supercooling, SOLAR ENERGY MATERIALS AND SOLAR CELLS  Volume: 96   Issue: 1   Pages: 124-130,  JAN 2012

11.  Cheng, Yuanda; Niu, Jianlei; Gao, Naiping, Thermal comfort models: A review and numerical investigation, BUILDING AND ENVIRONMENT  Volume: 47   Pages: 13-22, JAN 2012

12.  Zhang, Shuo; Niu, Jianlei, Experimental investigation of effects of supercooling on microencapsulated phase-change material (MPCM) slurry thermal storage capacities, SOLAR ENERGY MATERIALS AND SOLAR CELLS,  Volume: 94,  Issue: 6, Pages: 1038-1048, JUN 2010

13.  Zeng, Ruolang; Wang, Xin; Chen, Binjiao; et al., Heat transfer characteristics of microencapsulated phase change material slurry in laminar flow under constant heat flux, APPLIED ENERGY  Volume: 86   Issue: 12   Pages: 2661-2670, DEC 2009

14.  Xu, H.T. and J. L. Niu, Under floor air supply: energy saving estimation methods, Energy and Buildings, Volume 38, Issue 6 , June 2006, pp.641-647

15.  Wang, Xichun; Niu, Jianlei, Performance of cooled-ceiling operating with MPCM slurry, ENERGY CONVERSION AND MANAGEMENT  Volume: 50   Issue: 3   Pages: 583-591, MAR 2009

16.  X.C. Wang, J.L. Niu and van Paassen AHC. Raising evaporative cooling potentials using combined cooled ceiling and MPCM slurry storage. Energy and Buildings, Vol. 40, No. 9, 2008, pp. 1691-1698. 

17.  Xichun Wang, JL Niu, Yi Li, Xin Wang, Binjiao Chen, Ruolang Zeng, Qingwen Song, Yinping Zhang, Flow and heat transfer behaviors of phase change material slurries in a horizontal circular tube, International journal of heat and mass transfer, 41, 2007, pp.2344-2354 

18.  Niu, J.L., Zhang L,Z, and Zuo, H.G., Energy and humidity performance of a system combining chilled-ceiling with desiccant cooling, ASHRAE Transactions, Vol. 108, Part 2, 2002, Paper No.4570, pp.195-201

19.  Zhang L. Z, and J.L. Niu, Effectiveness correlations for heat and moisture transfer in an enthalpy exchanger with membrane cores, ASME Journal of Heat Transfer, Vol. 125, No.5, pp. 922-929, October 2002, 

20.  Zhang, L.Z. and J.L. Niu, Performance comparisons of desiccant wheels for air dehumidification and enthalpy recovery, Applied Thermal Engineering, Vol. 22, pp-1347-1367, 2002, 

21.  Niu, J.L. Technology options for humidity control for hotels in South-eastern China climate, HKIE Transactions,Vol.8, No.2, pp.20-24, 2001

22.  Zhang L Z and J.L. Niu, Energy requirements for conditioning fresh air and the long term savings with a membrane-based energy recovery ventilator in Hong Kong, Energy, Vol.26, No.2, 2001, pp.119-135, 

23.  Niu, J.L. and J. Burnett, “Integrating radiant/operative temperature controls into building energy simulation programs’, ASHRAE Transactions, Vol. 104, Part 2, Paper No. 4200, pp210-217

24.  Zhang H. and J.L. Niu, A two-stage desiccant system using low-grade heat, Building Services Engineering Research and Technology, Vol. 20, No.2, pp.51-55, 1999, 

25.  Niu, J.L., J. v.d. Kooi, and H. v.d. Ree, "Energy saving possibilities with cooled-ceiling systems", Energy and Buildings, Vol.23. No. 2, 1995, pp.147-158,


Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation:


1.     Li, X.; Niu, J.; Gao, N., Co-occupant's exposure to exhaled pollutants with two types of personalized ventilation strategies under mixing and displacement ventilation systems, INDOOR AIR  Volume: 23   Issue: 2   Pages: 162-171, APR 2013

2.     Li Xiaoping; Niu Jianlei; Gao Naiping, Co-occupant's exposure of expiratory droplets-Effects of mouth coverings, HVAC&R RESEARCH  Volume: 18   Issue: 4   Pages: 575-587, 2012

3.     Li Xiaoping; Niu Jianlei; Gao Naiping, Spatial distribution of human respiratory droplet residuals and exposure risk for the co-occupant under different ventilation methods, HVAC&R RESEARCH  Volume: 17   Issue: 4   Special Issue: SI   Pages: 432-445, AUG 2011

4.     Liu, Shichao; Mak, C. M.; Niu, Jianlei, Numerical evaluation of louver configuration and ventilation strategies for the windcatcher system, BUILDING AND ENVIRONMENT  Volume: 46   Issue: 8   Pages: 1600-1616, AUG 2011

5.     He, Qibin; Niu, Jianlei; Gao, Naiping; et al., CFD study of exhaled droplet transmission between occupants under different ventilation strategies in a typical office room, BUILDING AND ENVIRONMENT  Volume: 46   Issue: 2   Pages: 397-408,  FEB 2011

6.     Liu, X. P.; Niu, J. L.; Kwok, K. C. S., Wang, J.H., Investigation of indoor air pollutant dispersion and cross-contamination around a typical high-rise residential building: Wind tunnel tests, BUILDING AND ENVIRONMENT  Volume: 45   Issue: 8   Pages: 1769-1778, AUG 2010

7.     Gao, N.P., J Niu, Per Heiselberg, Marco Perino, The airborne transmission of infection between flats in high-rise residential buildings: particulate simulation, Building and Environment, Volume: 44   Issue: 2   Pages: 402-410, FEB 2009 

8.     Gao, N.P., JL Niu, XP Liu, Per Heiselberg, Marco Perino, The airborne transmission of infection between flats in high-rise residential buildings: Tracer gas simulation, Building and Environment, Volume: 43   Issue: 11   Pages: 1805-1817, NOV 2008 

9.     Gao NP and JL Niu, Personalized ventilation for commercial aircraft cabins, Journal of Aircraft, Volume 5, Number 2, (March ¬- April 2008), DOI:10.2514/1.30272, 

10.  Niu J.L. and TCW Tung, On-site quantification of re-entry ratio of ventilation exhausts in multi-family residential buildings and implications, Indoor Air, Volume: 18 Pages: 12-2,6 2008 

11.  Li Y, GM Leung, JW Tang, X Yang, CYH Chao, JZ Lin, JW Lu, PV Nielsen, J Niu, H Qian, AC Sleigh; H-J J Su, J Sundell, TW Wong, PL Yuen. Role of ventilation in airborne transmission of infectious agents in the built environment - a multidisciplinary systematic review. Indoor Air, 17, 2-18, 2007. 

12.  Niu J.L, Gao, NP, Ma PLY, and Zuo HG Experimental study on a chair-based personalized ventilation system", Building and Environment, Vol. 42, No. 2, pp. 913-925, 2006

13.  Gao N. P. and J.L. Niu, Modeling the performance of personalized ventilation under different conditions of room air and personalized air, International Journal of HVAC&R Research, Vol. 11., No. 4, October. 2005, pp.587-602 , 2005 

14.  Niu, J.L., Kooi, J.V.D. "Two-dimensional Simulation of the Air Flow and Thermal Comfort in a Room with Open-window and Indoor Cooling Systems", Energy and Buildings, vol.18, No. 1, 1992, pp.65-75, 


IAQ and Air Pollutant Dynamics:


1.             Li F, and JL Niu, Control of volatile organic compounds indoors - development of an integrated mass-transfer-based model and its application, Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 41, No. 11, April 2007, pp.2344-2354 

2.             Li, F. and Niu, J.L. An inverse technique to determine volatile organic compounds diffusion and partition coefficients in dry building material, Heat and Mass Transfer, Volume 41, Number 9 , 2005, Pages: 834 - 842 

3.             Zhang L. Z, and J.L. Niu, Mass transfer of volatile organic compounds from painting material in a standard field and laboratory emission cell (FLEC), International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, vol. 46/13, pp 2415 – 2423, 2003, 

4.             Luo, R, and J.L. Niu, Determination of water vapor diffusion and partition coefficients in cement using one FLEC, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol.47, 2004, pp.2061-2072, 

5.             Zhang L.Z., and Niu, J.L. Laminar fluid flow and mass transfer in a standard field and laboratory emission cell (FLEC), International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol 46/1 pp 91-100, 2003, 

6.             Niu, JL; Tung, TCW; Burnett, J, Ozone emission rate testing and ranking method using environmental chamber, ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT,  Volume: 35   Issue: 12,  Pages: 2143-2151,  2001

7.             Niu J.L., T.C.W. Tung, and J. Burnett, Quantification of dust removal and ozone emission of air cleaners using environmental chamber testing, Journal of Electrostatics, Vol.51-52, May 2001, pp.20-24 

8.             Niu, J.L., C.W. Tung, and W. Y. Chui, ‘Using large environmental chamber technique for gaseous contaminant removal equipment test’, ASHRAE Transactions, Vol.104, Part 2, paper No. TO-98-23-3, pp.1289-1296


Turbulence Modeling and CFD validations


1.             Zhu, Zuo-jin; Niu, Jian-lei; Li, Ying-lin, Swirling-strength based large eddy simulation of turbulent flow around single square cylinder at low Reynolds number, APPLIED MATHEMATICS AND MECHANICS-ENGLISH EDITION, Volume: 35, Issue: 8   Pages: 959-978, AUG 2014

2.             Liu, Xiaoping; Niu, Jianlei; Kwok, Kenny C. S., Evaluation of RANS turbulence models for simulating wind-induced mean pressures and dispersions around a complex-shaped high-rise building, BUILDING SIMULATION  Volume: 6   Issue: 2   Pages: 151-164, JUN 2013

3.             Niu JL, Zhu ZJ, Numerical study of three-dimensional flows around two identical square cylinders in staggered arrangements, Physics of Fluids 18 (4): Art. No. 044106 APR 2006, 

4.             Gao, NP, Niu J.L, "Transient CFD simulation of the respiration process and inter-person exposure assessment" Building and Environment, Vol. 41, No. 9, pp. 1214-1222, 2006

5.             Gao, N. P., Niu JL, and Zhang H. Coupling CFD and human body thermoregulation model for the assessment of personalized ventilation", International Journal of HVAC&R Research, 12 (3): 497-518 JUL 200,  6

6.             Gao NP, and J.L. Niu, Modelling particle dispersion and deposition in indoor environments, Atmospheric environment, Vol. 41, No. 18, June 2007, pp 3862-3876 

7.             Xu. H.T and J.L. Niu, Numerical simulation and Experimental Validation of the Swirling turbulent airflow and mixing processes, Numerical heat transfer, Part A. Applications, 46 (6): 571-586 OCT 2004, 

8.             Niu, J.L., Xu, X. C. and Zeng, R.L. " Experimental Determination of the Turbulent-Exchange-Coefficients In Pulverized-Coal Precombustion Chamber ", J. Engineering Thermophysics, No.3, 1988, pp.20-26 (in Chinese with English abstract)


Building and Environment:


1.             Niu, Jianlei; Liu, Jianlin; Lee, Tsz-cheung; et al., A new method to assess spatial variations of outdoor thermal comfort: Onsite monitoring results and implications for precinct planning, BUILDING AND ENVIRONMENT,  Volume: 91   Special Issue: SI   Pages: 263-270   Published: SEP 2015

2.             Ai, Z. T.; Mak, C. M.; Niu, J. L., Numerical investigation of wind-induced airflow and interunit dispersion characteristics in multistory residential buildings, INDOOR AIR  Volume: 23   Issue: 5   Pages: 417-429, OCT 2013

3.             Liu, X. P.; Niu, J. L.; Kwok, K. C. S.; et al., Local characteristics of cross-unit contamination around high-rise building due to wind effect: Mean concentration and infection risk assessment, JOURNAL OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS  Volume: 192   Issue: 1   Pages: 160-167, AUG 15 2011

4.             Niu, J.L., Some Significant Environmental Issues in High-rise Residential Building Design in Urban Areas, Energy and Buildings, Vol.36, No.12, pp. 1259-1263, 2004, 

5.             Niu, J.L. and Z.Y. Liao, Forecasting residential energy demand in China: An approach to technology impacts, Journal of Asian Architecture and Building engineering, Vol. 1, No.1, pp.95-103,.March, 2002

6.                  Xia, YZ; Niu, JL; Zhao, RY; et al., Effects of turbulent air on human thermal sensations in a warm isothermal environment, INDOOR AIR-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INDOOR AIR QUALITY AND CLIMATE  Volume: 10   Issue: 4   Pages: 289-296, DEC 2000