Dr. Brent Stephens is a Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering (CAEE) at Illinois Institute of Technology. He is an expert in indoor air quality (IAQ) and building science, with over 10 years of experience performing energy and IAQ laboratory and field assessments and developing and applying models for building energy use and costs, indoor pollutant dynamics, infectious disease transmission, and impacts of indoor air pollution exposures on human health. His work is grounded in practical applications and continues to influence professional practice, standards, and guidelines. Dr. Stephens co-directs the Built Environment Research Group (BERG) at IIT (www.built-envi.com) with Dr. Mohammad Heidarinejad, which integrates computational simulations with laboratory and field research on energy and environmental issues in the built environment.
Dr. Stephens has served his profession through the following: (1) Secretary of the International Society for Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ; 2016-2020); (2) Research Subcommittee Chair for the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) TC 2.4 on Particulate Air Contaminants and Particulate Contaminant Removal Equipment (2016-present); (3) Member of the committee to revise ASHRAE’s IAQ Position Document (2018-2020); and (4) Member of ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force Residential Buildings Team, which was formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-present). He was also a lead author on the 2018 update of the U.S. EPA’s Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home.
Dr. Stephens and Dr. Heidarinejad seek to work with communities to help solve their energy and environmental problems. They have a long-standing relationship with Elevate, a nonprofit organization in Chicago focused on ensuring access to clean and affordable heat, power, and water in homes and communities. They have worked together on research funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, including a recently completed project in which they recruited households with adult asthmatics, provided mechanical ventilation systems to improve indoor air, and evaluated the impacts of the systems on IAQ and asthma outcomes.
Drs. Stephens and Heidarinejad have also recently partnered with the Public Health Institute on a project funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce wildfire smoke exposures and health risks among agricultural workers and other low-income families in California’s central valley by designing and field testing an affordable and effective filtration system for rooftop evaporative coolers, which are often used to cool homes without air conditioning.