Brent Stephens

  • Department Chair
  • Professor of Architectural Engineering
  • Director of Architectural Engineering
  • Director of Environmental Engineering

Education

Ph.D. Civil Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 2012
M.S.E. Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 2009
B.S.E. Civil Engineering, Tennessee Technological University, 2007

Research Interests

Dr. Brent Stephens runs the Built Environment Research Group at Illinois Tech, which is dedicated to investigating energy and air quality in the built environment. His major research areas include:

  1. Indoor pollutant dynamics
  2. Building science measurements and methods
  3. Air cleaning and filtration
  4. Human exposure assessment
  5. Building energy efficiency and energy simulation

Recent  Funded Research Projects:

  • 2019-present: Air filtration to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) outcomes in a high-risk urban population of U.S. military veterans. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 
  • 2017-present: Open source wireless building sensors and controls. Franklin Energy Services, LLC.
  • 2016-2019: Cost-effective approaches to upgrading residential mechanical ventilation systems to control indoor pollutants of both indoor and outdoor origin and improve asthma-related health outcomes. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • 2016-2017: Vertical variations in indoor exposures to outdoor pollutants in tall buildings. Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) International Research Seed Funding
  • 2015-2018: Mechanistic modeling of microbial metabolic succession in the built environment. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • 2014-2017: Combining measurements and models to predict the impacts of climate change and weatherization on indoor air quality and chronic health effects in U.S. residences. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)
  • 2014-2016: Evaluating and controlling airborne emissions from desktop 3D printers. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
  • 2014: Modeling the impact of residential HVAC filtration on indoor particles of outdoor origin. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) RP-1691
  • 2014-2016: Indoor bioaerosol fate, transport and control: Implications for infectious disease transmission. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Microbiology of the Built Environment (MoBE) Post-doctoral Fellowship advisor to Stephanie Kunkel, Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences, IIT
  • 2013-2015: Open source building science sensors project. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • 2012-2014: Building science measurements for the Hospital Microbiome Project. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Dr. Stephens most recent professional leadership roles include: (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-present); 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 also recently served as a lead technical editor to update the U.S. EPA’s Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home technical summary documents.

Society Memberships

  • American Society for Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ)
  • International Society of Exposure Science (ISES)

Awards

Illinois Institute of Technology American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Chapter Outstanding Professor Award, 2019

Illinois Institute of Technology American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Chapter Exceptional Professor Award, 2016

ASHRAE New Investigator Award, 2015: Evaluating the impacts of building enclosures and HVAC filtration on airborne particulate matter and energy efficiency in residential buildings

Publications

A complete list of publications is available through Google Scholar

Selected Publications

Fazli, T., Dong, X., Fu, J., Stephens, B. Predicting U.S. residential building energy use and indoor pollutant exposures in the mid-21st century. Accepted to Environmental Science and Technology, February 2021

Azimi, P., Keshavarz, Z., Cedeno Laurent, J.G., Stephens, B., Allen, J.G. Mechanistic transmission modeling of COVID-19 on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship demonstrates the importance of aerosol transmission. Accepted to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), January 2021

Ali, A., Coté, C., Heidarinejad, M., Stephens, B. Elemental: An open-source wireless hardware and software platform for building energy and indoor environmental monitoring and control. Sensors 19(18). DOI:10.3390/s19184017, 2019

Zhao, H., Gall, E.T., Stephens, B. Measuring the penetration factor for ambient nitrogen oxides through the building envelope. Environmental Science and Technology 53(16):9695-9704, 2019

Azimi, P., Stephens, B. A framework for estimating the US mortality burden of fine particulate matter exposure attributable to indoor and outdoor microenvironments. Accepted in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, 2018

Kunkel, S., Azimi, P., Zhao, H., Stark, B. Stephens, B. Quantifying the size-resolved dynamics of indoor bioaerosol transport and control. Indoor Air 27(5):977-987, 2017

Azimi, P., Zhao, D., Pouzet, C., Crain, N., Stephens, B. Emissions of ultrafine particles and volatile organic compounds from commercially available desktop 3D printers with multiple filaments. Environmental Science and Technology 50(3):1260-1268, 2016

Expertise

Fate and transport of indoor pollutants, building energy and environmental measurements, HVAC filtration, human exposures to airborne pollutants, energy efficient buildings, building simulation.