Dr. ir. Dam, S.S. van

Sonja van Dam is Assistant Professor in circular product design and energy consumption & transitions at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. Key elements in her work are co-creating circular product-service systems and designing for sustainable behaviour change.

Academic Background

Dr. Sonja van Dam is Assistant Professor in the Design for Sustainability and Circular Product Design research groups. Here research focuses on scaling up the circular economy as part of the climate action program. A key element in her work is incorporating the human perspective in the transition towards a more sustainable and circular society. This includes researching designing for sustainable behaviour change, participatory design methods, and usability in the development of circular product-service systems, transitioning toward alternative energy sources, and achieving energy reductions. She is/has been involved in several NWO and EU-funded educational and research projects including ENRGISED, ReCiPSS, ResCoM, and SusCritMat. Additionally, she teaches the Sustainable Impact course and Sustainability Issues and Social Change minor.

Sonja specialized in design for behaviour change and sustainable product design through her PhD research which she completed in 2013 in joint cooperation between Architecture and Industrial Design Engineering. Her dissertation, “Smart energy management for households”, was on the topic of Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) that give feedback on household’s energy consumption. Sonja’s research was in direct cooperation with several business such as Eneco, Alliander, and Quby together with whom she studied the usability and effectiveness of the Toon, Plugwise, Wattcher. Three case studies executed in households, a life cycle assessment (LCA) on those three HEMS, as well as a reflection on the challenges of both researching and implementing HEMS in existing housing gave a comprehensive picture of factors influence the use and effectiveness of HEMS.


  • 2008 – 2013
    PhD dissertation, Delft University of Technology
    Smart Energy Management for Households
  • 2003 – 2006
    MSc Design for Interaction, Delft University of Technology
  • 2000 – 2003
    BSc Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology


  • 2022 - now
    Assistant Professor
  • 2021 - 2022
    Senior researcher
  • 2017 - 2021
    Postdoctoral researcher Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology
  • 2008 – 2013
    PhD candidate, Faculty of Architecture & Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology
  • 2008 – 2009
    Researcher, Cartesius Institute
  • 2007 – 2008
    Customer Support Professional, Exact Software

Specialisation/Field of research

  • Circular product design
  • Design for Behavior Change
  • Usability & co-creation
  • Domestic Energy Consumption
  • Home Energy Management Systems

Lectures / coaches students on

Design for Sustainability

Involved in research projects

Academic Background

Smart Energy Management for Households

van Dam, S.S. 
ISBN: 987 14 9276 477 9

Published in 2013