Faculty
Les Norford

Norford specializes in energy studies, controls, and ventilation and is seeking to improve the way buildings use the earth’s resources. With Tabors Caramanis and Associates, he consults in the areas of electric utility energy conservation, electricity pricing, and control of thermal storage systems. Before his appointment to the school’s faculty in 1988, Norford was for four years a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. At that time he was a research engineer at the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies at Princeton University. From 1974 to 1979 he was a nuclear power engineer with the US Navy and the US Department of Energy.
Trained as a mechanical engineer, Les Norford has focused on the sustainable design and operation of buildings since the oil shocks of the 1970s. He specializes in building energy measurements and simulations, building system diagnostics and controls, natural and mechanical ventilation, and the development of efficient cooling systems. Recently, his participation in the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology has led to a growing interest in the interaction of buildings and the urban environment, a key aspect of the urban heat island effect. As an educator, he teaches classes in energy and building design, building ventilation and HVAC systems and an undergraduate building technology laboratory that focuses on schools and housing in developing countries. He has served as Associate Head of the Department of Architecture since 2006.
Before his appointment to the MIT faculty in 1988, Norford was for four years a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University and a postdoctoral associate and research engineer at Princeton’s Center for Energy and Environmental. From 1974 to 1979 he was a nuclear power engineer with the US Navy and the US Department of Energy. A former partner of Tabors Caramanis and Associates, he has consulted in the areas of electric utility energy conservation, electricity pricing, and control of thermal storage systems.
Norford earned his BS in engineering science from Cornell University in 1973 and his PhD in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University in 1984. He is a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, the American Meteorological Society, the International Building Performance Simulation Association and the International Association for Urban Climate and has published in journals serving building energy analysts and urban climatologists.