James is an architecturally trained building conservator specialising in sustainability and recording of the historic built environment. Currently he is the programme leader for the MSc. Building Surveying programme at University College of Estate Management. Previously a senior lecturer in sustainability of the existing built environment at Kingston University, teaching on the Building Surveying and historic building conservation courses. Currently James is the vice-president of ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Energy and sustainability (ICOMOS ISCES). He is also on the ICOMOS UK National Scientific Committee on Digital Heritage and ICOMOS UN Sustainable Development Goals Working Group. James was made a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 2010 for work on the sustainability of the built environment. Published widely on sustainability, health, and conservation issues. James is also a reviewer for Routledge and Journal of Architectural Conservation.


Expert Member – ICOMOS

Vice-President ICOMOS ISCES

Qualifications and membershipsTeachingResearch interestsIndustry


PhD, Kingston School of Art, Kingston University

Masters in Architecture, Kingston University

Postgraduate Diploma (Part 2) in Architecture, Kingston University

Architecture Degree BA (Hons), Kingston University

Foundation in Technology and Engineering, Kingston University


FRGS (Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society)

Expert Member – ICOMOS


  • Sustainability
  • Climate Change
  • Existing built environment


Main research interests are sustainability of the existing built environment particularly existing cities and historic buildings and the recording of existing buildings.


In practice, James worked for several years at MBP Architects and Carden and Godfrey Architects, on a variety of projects, including the Palace of Westminster, Beverly Minster and many smaller commercial and residential schemes.


Chapters in Books
  • Ritson, J., Koch, F H. & Cox, P. (2021) Case Study – 19th century Tenements in Use by a Housing Association at Lauriston Place in Edinburgh. In: Labadi, S., Giliberto, F., Rosetti, I., Shetabi, L., Yildirim, E. (2021). Heritage and the Sustainable Development Goals: Policy Guidance for Heritage and Development Actors. Paris: ICOMOS.
  • Ritson, J. (2013) Sustainable Management of historic urban centres. Found in Developing sustainability (Istanbul Bilgi University Press: Dorich House group Publication)
  • Sayce, S., Farren Bradley, J., Ritson, J. and Quinn, F. (2013) Well-being: what does it mean for the sustainable university? In: Sterling, Stephen , Maxey, Larch and Luna, Heather, (eds.) The sustainable university: progress and prospects. Abingdon, U.K.: Routledge. pp. 211-231. (Routledge Studies in Sustainable Development, no. 2)
Refereed Conference Papers
  • Ritson, J. (2022) The Carbon Value of the U.K.’s Historic Housing Stock, The 4th International Conference on Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings 2022, 4- 5 May 2022. Benediktbeuern: Germany.
    Selected to be on the Conference’s (Conference on Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings 2022), scientific committee.
  • Lindsey, K. & Ritson, J. (2021) The art of placemaking for online learning. ALT Annual Conference 2021.
  • Ritson, J. (2021) Conservation as a sustainable philosophy, ICOMOS-UK Conference – Cultural Heritage, Communities, Climate Crisis. ICOMOS UK Conference 14th October 2021 (Conference Keynote)
  • Ritson, J. (2021) UCEM, Communities of Practice Sustainability, 16 June 2021 (1 Hour CPD) CPD Delivered
  • Ritson, J. (2019) Building conservation as a method of meeting sustainability targets in the historic built environment, Energy Futures Lab, Energy seminars.  Imperial College: London. 9 May 2019.
  • Ritson, J. (2018) Benign changes and building maintenance as a sustainable strategy for refurbishment of historic (Pre-1919) English dwellings. In: Broström, T., Nilsen, L. & Carlsten, S. Conference Report Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings, Visby, Sweden. Uppsala University: Gotland, pp 172-181
  • Ritson. J. (2017) A comparative analysis of modelling techniques for the reduction of energy and carbon emissions in a London Victorian dwelling, Digital Cultural Heritage: FUTURE VISIONS 2017 London symposium at UCL London, 13-15th November 2017
  • Poster at Reconfigurations: Crafting Design research. The Platform Gallery, Knights Park Campus, Kingston University. 6th-24th November 2012
  • Greenlines institute Heritage 2012, 3rd International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development 2012Chair of Heritage and Environment Parallel session
    Selected Presenter at the conference and full publication of article submission (below)
    Ritson, J. (2012) Building maintenance and benign improvement strategies as a more sustainable refurbishment strategy for the English historic housing stock. (Green lines institute, Heritage 2012)
  • Greenlines institute Heritage 2010, conference 2010Chair of Heritage and Environment Parallel session
    Selected Presenter at the conference and full publication of article submission (below)
    J. Ritson. (2010) The Health and Environmental Benefits of Using Traditional Historic Internal Finishes. (Greenlines institute Heritage 2010)
  • Ritson,J. & Pretlove, S.(2010) The need for multi-level thinking in meeting the 2050 target reduction in CO2 emissions in domestic dwellings (Energy in the City – Securing the Future Conference C92 – London South Bank University, 2010)

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