Esther Obonyo

Dr. Esther Obonyo is the Director of the Global Building Network led by the Pennsylvania State University and an Associate Professor of Engineering Design and Architectural Engineering at Penn State. Prior to that she was an Associate Professor at the University of Florida's (UF) Rinker School of Construction Management and also a faculty entrepreneurship Fellow at UF’s Warrington College of Business. She has worked as a Construction Engineer, Project Manager and Innovations Analyst in several Engineering and Construction Companies in Kenya, the UK and the US. She holds a BA in Building Economics from University of Nairobi, MA in Architecture from University of Nottingham and a Doctor of Engineering from Loughborough University. Esther’s research interest cuts across the following themes: climate change and extreme weather events, environmental sustainability, intelligent information and knowledge-based systems for productivity improvement and entrepreneurship. Dr Obonyo has had several NSF awards including an International Research Experiences for Students directed at Developing Global Scientist and Engineers. The participants in the program completed research training in Kenya and Tanzania in a project directed at: 1) Characterizing the differences in approaches to sustainable construction engineering between developed countries, such as the USA, and developing countries, such as Kenya, and define a framework for global learning; 2) Investigating the appropriateness of construction engineering approaches used by the different types of builders in developing economies using suitable assessment models; 3) Contextualizing innovative and low cost use of building materials, water and sanitation systems that are both sustainable and affordable and; 4) Demonstrating sustainable building systems that exploit cross-fertilization of ideas across the different regions in the research. In 2014, Dr Obonyo conducted a Research Tutorial Abroad through a Center for International Business Education and Research Award from UF’s Center for African Studies. She is the President for ASCE Global Center for Excellence in Computing. She served joint coordinator for CIB TG83 eBusiness in Construction and is also one of the founding members for CIB W120: Disaster and the Built Environment.

Esther Obonyo

COP27: The Global South Needs us to Translate Roadmaps into Action

December 19, 2022

The business of COP 27 took place on buses, in queues and in chance encounters wandering among the pavilions....

Esther Obonyo

Building Material Matters and the Coconut Value Chain

March 4, 2019

“Kaukumbatie mnazi ukaupande, kazi uanze” (Embrace the coconut tree and climb it, start work) – mnazi Swahili proverb “The...

Esther Obonyo

The Worldwide Elusive Search for Affordable Housing

September 6, 2017

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under...


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